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July 2003 News Archive

July 29, 2003 4:02 PM by Glenn Slayden   Prefix nesting

Prefixed prefixes now handled properly, as in มนเทียร. Entered more Thai words.

July 29, 2003 2:55 AM by Glenn Slayden   Elongate problem conquered

No sooner did I post that last blog entry bemoaning my inability to fix the left-column elongation problem... than I figured it out and solved it. Yay! This had been an ugly pox for too long.

Turns out, the browser was laying out the column based on the width of the "alt" text for one of the images, as shown in this screenshot:

In the case that the asynchronous download of the image eventually fails, this alt text would remain in place. However, when the image does finish downloading successfully, sometimes a re-layout was not triggered, and the width of the left column would remain—as Bryan so aptly put it—elongated.

I simply truncated the lengthy alt text, and this problem should now be banished.

July 28, 2003 11:58 AM by Glenn Slayden   Various fixes
  • "Examples" listed for a word in the dictionary are now grouped into two categories: complete sentence and non-complete sentence. These lists are now presented sorted in Thai alphabetical order.

  • Entered many new phrases, example sentences, and user-submitted corrections; now 21141 total entries.

  • Secure SSL contribution page now obeys some user options from control panel, such as selected color scheme. This required special attention because the gs-productions domain which is secured with SSL doesn't have access to the cookies for In the course of this work, I accidentally introduced a problem which disabled the entire site for browsers with cookies disabled. This selective outage persisted for about 12 hours, for which I apologize—I didn't realize there was a problem since my personal configuration wasn't affected.

  • Cleaned up the ExecCGI message board wrapper code; built and installed the non-debug version. I was going to try to improve performance by optimizing away some of the Unicode-vs-8-bit conversions that take place as data is passed back and forth between the Perl script and ASP. However, once I was snooping around in my code, I realized it wouldn't be as easy as I hoped. How quickly I had forgotten what an complex ordeal the ExecCGI had become.

  • Added a phrase item flag for "ignoring nested puncuation flags," which allows phrases such as ...ใช่ไหม to be nested without its ellipses.

  • Uploaded some pages for the Fundamentals project. Also worked with Bryan's list of proverbs, but had to pass it back to him for more edits before the final importing.

  • Implemented PowerSplit mode in our DBEdit dictionary database management software tool. This is an improvement over the previous splitting feature which could crack a Thai word, phrase or sentence into only two pieces. Lengthy sentences had to be done by iterating over and over, a time-consuming process. The new feature preprocesses the string to find all the suggested splits, displays them graphically, allows the split points and resulting fragments to be modified in various ways, and then performs all of the splits with one easy click.

    PowerSplit's suggested splits are programatically obtained by using the EM_FINDWORDBREAK funtion of the Windows XP rich edit control; since I now have experience with using this function, you might expect a Thai sentence cracker (based on the DBEdit code) to appear as a feature of the website soon. This would allow you to submit arbitrary Thai on a web form, and, after processing, see the component words and their definitions lined up in a sort of crude translation.

  • Switched the meta charset to "windows-874" for the Googlebot only. This is an experiment to try to fix a problem with the Google cache.

  • Cleanup pass for the W3C valid HTML conformance.

  • Colors in the browse index pages now more fully conform to control panel color scheme selection.

  • Fixed a bug which resulted from a string preprocessing inconsistensy between the qsort and binary search . This manifested that some Thai entries which begin with punctuation would not be located with a bsearch.

  • Modified behavior of one of the transliteration flags (XHF_SR_IS_S)

  • New Ehk drawings for "search results" and "search failed."

  • With help from Bryan, I attempted to fix the left-column elongation problem, but it still appears to manifest occasionally.

July 16, 2003 11:56 PM by Bryan   Site Updates from Bryan

Hello all,

First off, thanks to Glenn for creating two Movable Type Web log account for me. __/|\__ Though this Personal Publishing System gives me so much fun, I've got a lot to learn, though, as I'm not used to those HTML-like MT tags at all.

I downloaded the DB from Glenn on July 7 and completed the updates early this morning. Here is what I did:

  1. All the typos in country names corrected and more alternative spellings added.

  2. Common English Given Names transliteration typos corrected and more new names added.

  3. ศรัทธา and ศรัทธาปสาทะ added.

  4. กวย and พิธีเซ่นผีปะกำ delineated. I asked Glenn to check if the outside link (to Gor's page) is allowed for กวย and if it's appropriate (or too P.C.) to refer to the กวย people as animistic, for they are said to worship spirits and ghosts. I used that term for now for lack of a better word. :P

  5. Dirk requested that the Xlit of แทรกเตอร์ be corrected; I am positive that แทรกเตอร์ is already correct. So I added แทร็กเตอร์ as an alternative spelling.

  6. ริค, แคลร์, ริคคู่ชีวิตของฉัน, แคลร์คู่ชีวิตของผม added and hot-linked.

  7. เช่นกัน added.

  8. เคว้งคว้าง added.

  9. พจนานุกรมไทย added. (How could we have missed this phrase?!!!)

  10. อยู่แล้ว that Magnoy submitted doesn't mean anyway. So I created two new Entries: อยู่แล้ว 1 and อยู่แล้ว 2 and supplied a few examples to clarify them.

  11. ไข่ใหญ่ added.

  12. หุ่นดี added.

  13. A total of 733 new sound files recorded for Entries and Phrases. I believe I've read all the country names Entries in the DB. Next time I'll record those that are Phrases. There is an issue for pronouncing/reading country names, though. Take Congo as an example. The Thai for that is คองโก. Glenn used to ask me to read anything as is. However, for the country names, I felt pretty weird pronouncing them as /คอง-โก/. So I decided to pronounce them according to what I'm used to and to the popular trend. Hence, /คอง-โก้/.

Yet to do is adding/archiving all the useful words and phrases from the Message Boards
(such as this post) into the dictionary database. I'll do that in this near future and when the time permits.

Till next time.


July 15, 2003 12:43 AM by Glenn Slayden   Updated Server OS Patches

Ran a full Windows Update on the Windows 2000 server and rebooted it.

July 14, 2003 12:16 AM by Glenn Slayden   Chat rewrites, links, misc.

Well as you can see, I haven't posted an entry to this blog in a while, because I was hoping to have the chat ready. But since that work is dragging on, I thought I'd give a quick update on what's happening lately.

I handed off the DB to Bryan, who's doing a whole bunch of work. I'll describe all that when he's ready to drop it off. Er, as a matter of fact, why don't I just create a blog author account for him and he can do it himself!

As for me, I've mainly been working on the chat application, which has gone through several rewrites. I can't decide if this work is actually teaching me something, or if I'm just needlessly banging my head against the wall.

First, I implemented a "now online" feature for the chat. The hardest part of this task was laying-out the DIVs using DHTML expressions. This seems to be something of a black art.

Next, I noticed that the chat app was occasionally causing the browser to "hang" on a Windows 2000 machine, although it worked fine on XP. After a couple hours of hunting, I found out that this was due to the way in which I was embedding the audio file for the beeping sound. I switched to an alternate method and the problem went away.

Then, I decided to try to use a third-party rich text editing control written entirely in javascript/HTML (a product made in the UK called TextArea Rich). It dropped into my chat app really easily, but since its main control body is an IFRAME, now I couldn't seem to capture keystrokes from it (using the onkeypress event) the way I did with a simple TEXTAREA.

The event fired fine until the IFRAME lost the focus, and then never fired again, even when the focus was restored to the IFRAME. It seemed like maybe the browser security zone "features" were kicking in and preventing my outer web page from communicating with or knowing anything about its child IFRAME . I tried everything and it was very frustrating because I don't have a good javascript development environment or tools, such as an DHTML event spy.

After two days of flailing around on this problem, I discovered that the chat app should really be written as an HTA, or "HTML Application"; to do so would solve another problem I was having with the chat window being reused when you click on a URL somewhere else. I converted it over to an HTA, which was pretty easy, but still had a problem with capturing keystrokes, even after marking the IFRAME as a trusted part of the HTA. After a lot of Googling, I finally found a snippet of javascript code, written by one Jared Nance, which solved the onkeypress/focus problem. Thanks to him for that.

Other news: Extended the URL-remapping layer to accomodate more sections of the web site as simulated directories.

Consolidated all external URL links into a new "links" page. Still need to update and check for any broken links on that page.

Bug fix: my C++ "reprocessing" algorithm, which allows hot-linked Thai words to be embedded within English definitions, was not using absolute paths, which caused some resources not to be found if and when the URL-remapping layer had munged things.

Installed the Ehk "found it!" image into the search results page.

Updated the MSXML 4.0 download that we distribute from version 4.10.9404 (SP1) to version 4.20.9818 (SP2) and enhanced the detection code on our download page. If you had previously installed SP1 from our download page, you can ensure that you have the latest version by clicking here. If you see an empty white box, on that page, then you have SP2; if the download starts, you don't have it.

July 3, 2003 3:02 AM by Glenn Slayden   New chat app; Seeking beta testers

I've been working hard to get the new chat application into a pretty finished state before releasing it for everyone to use. But it's getting close. If anyone would like to beta-test it let me know.

This is a browser app written in JavaScript and it has some hefty requirements. I'm sorry to say that the app will probably only work with Internet Explorer. Also, since the app requires MSXML 4.0, it requires Windows 98/ME/NT4/XP (not Win95) If anyone is a Java wiz and wants to try to adapt the code for other browsers, let me know.

What has taken a while is that I've written it as a client-side app which doesn't use frames or refresh (poll) its whole content all the time like most of the other lame HTML- or Java- chats out there.

It's a Thai and English chat. For now it supports one global chat room. Look for it in the next week or so.

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