Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hindi in Internet: Stepping towards showing its firm presence

Dot com boom again?

We are feeling a kind of dot com boom again. This time, we can safely say, Hindi is also a part of it. Across all fields in Internet, Hindi is all set and ready to show its solid presence. Barely a few months ago, there were only a dozen or so Hindi bloggers out there. And now, the figure has crossed to more than two hundred, and counting. Microsoft Bhashaindia has announced Indic blogger award in May 06, where Indian language’s best blogs (that includes Hindi language ) will be awarded in many categories. There were many new Hindi Internet magazines of all genre started publishing recently. Among them, prominent ones are - GrihaLaxmi - the Women’s magazine, Cricket Today - the sports magazine centered around Cricket sport and Religious magazine Sadhanapath. These three magazines have strong print media presence too, and have embraced Internet as strategy for their expansion. Similarly, now you can get almost all kinds of tools that ranges from Browser to E-mail client to messaging service and forums in entirely Hindi interface. Linux and Windows have already released their Operating system successfully in Hindi.

Let us give a quick look at all new, useful applications/tools in available in Internet in Hindi-

Online Hindi typing tool

Once upon a time, to type in Unicode Hindi, you need to learn Inscript keyboard layout. This makes beginners very difficult to type in Hindi. Now you have many options to choose from – from Phonetic to traditional typewriter to iTrans. Many tools have builtin other Indian language support too – such as you can type Punjabi, Gujrati, Tamil, Kannada etc. also with theses online tools.

Hindini’s Hug-2 tool gives you not only typing in Hindi through online & onscreen phonetic keyboard, you can format your text in HTML through its TinyMCE implementations. Raman Kaul’s UniNagri & Uniscript gives you option to type either in Phonetic or in Inscript mode. You can also find Punscript here which can be used to type in Panjabi. Raman is working on Shusha and Ramington (kruti) keyboards, and soon you will find them here too.

Similar, but having multilingual capability online typing tools is available at Sourceforge which let's you type in many Indian Language. There is a site named Get2Home where you can type in world’s most languages, including Hindi. There is an online translation tool which can also be used as an Indian language typing tool. With all these tools at your disposal, now you can relax and choose Hindi keyboard most convenient to you. Almost all the above mentioned tools work perfectly even in Win98 having installed Internet Explorer 6 and above or Firefox 1.5 and above. WindowsXP and latest Linux distribution such as Fedora core 5 have Hindi support built-in.

New online Hindi Dictionaries and thesaurus

There are more than a dozen online English-Hindi dictionaries available that were made available through personal as well as corporate and organization level effort. There is new online Hindi lexicon named Wordnet made available recently which is quite useful for everyone. A new, ajax based English-Hindi dictionary Shabdanidhi has been released recently by Debashish. There is an i-trans based Hindi-English-Hindi Dictionary which is also quite useful since it gives list of similar sounding words.

Unicode Hindi Free Fonts: Got a dozen!

Once we have only one Unicode Hindi font called Mangal for Windows and Raghu for Linux. Now, thanks to many individual, community as well as corporate efforts, we have dozens of Unicode Hindi Freeware Fonts for our disposal. There is a nice place where you can find a list of many such Hindi Unicode free fonts with their download links. Here, you can also get previews of fonts too.

Hindi Writer with Hindi spell check:

With this application named Hindi Writer, you can write Unicode Hindi in any Windows application such as Outlook express etc. Its Hindi spell check has some limitations (it has some 60 thousand word capability only) but at least you can check most basic writings. Even in Microsoft’s Hindi Office, you cannot check for Hindi Samyuktakshars effectively. So, you can say there will remain problems with Hindi spell check. This application has been released with personal effort which must be appreciated.

Internet : now free from Indian Language’s incompatible fonts?

Yes, now finally you can relax. Your worries regarding font problem in Indian language sites will fade away through a new Firefox extension called Padma. Till recently, you need to install many fonts – site specific fonts to use Internet in Indian languages. For example, to read news in Hindi, you need to install separate fonts each for sites like Jagaran, Bhaskar, Naidunia, Navabharat, Prabhasakshi etc. Padma extension removes this dependency altogether. All you have to do is go to Padma’s extension site through Firefox browser, click on padma.xpi extension file’s download link, and choose to install is as Firefox extension. Now go to any site that it support and you will see that the pages were rendering dynamically in Unicode! And you need only one Unicode font of that language installed in your system. Padma supports not only Hindi, but many other Indian languages such as Telugu, Tamil etc. as well. You can use cut-paste operations in dynamically rendered pages too! Here, you don’t need a font converter. Simply open a file in Firefox browser and select the text, right click on it and select convert to Unicode UTF-8, that’s all. However, you may notice that Firefox started running a bit slow due to this plugin, but the functionality it offers is worth it.

Now Hindi Forum too:

There are hundreds and thousands of forum all across Internet in many languages. But there was none in Hindi a few days ago. It is true that you can post in Hindi in any Unicode compliant forum, but it will offend other non Hindi users. So, pure Hindi forum with Hindi interface was the need of the hour. Hindi forum named Paricharcha has finally been designed recently, and from day one, it is rocking and is a big hit among Hindi users. Hindi Forum is open for all kinds of discussions – that ranges from pure muttergasti to serious technology discussion! Do not expect many topics here since presently it is in its toddler state, but it has put its firm steps and is going to show its firm presence in Internet.

Yes, Hindi is also all set to show its solid presence in Internet.

2 comments:

anshul15 said...

well ya now with the help of some of websites hindi's presence can be seen,one of them is quillpad,where you can type hindi words in english fonts and converts them to hindi fonts.....just go through this link...http://quillpad.in/new/quill.html

Udai said...

There are not many vertical sites in hindi. www.hinkhoj.com is one such site which tries to provide hindi search, hindi dictionary, hindi web directory and hindi video collection. Have a look and find it out.

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