Will Dictionary App Builder be able to use my lexicon data?

DAB can read two types of lexicon database file: LIFT and XHTML.

  • Lexical Interchange FormaT (LIFT)
    LIFT files can be exported from any of the following SIL dictionary programs: Fieldworks Language Explorer (FLEx), WeSay or Lexique Pro.
    In FLEx, select File > Export, then choose ‘Full Lexicon (LIFT)’.

  • XHTML
    DAB supports XHTML files which have been exported from Fieldworks Language Explorer (FLEx). XHTML files generated from other sources are not supported.
    In FLEx, select File > Export, then choose ‘Configured Dictionary (XHTML)’.
    You will also need to export a Reversal XHTML file for each index language. To do this, select File > Export, then choose ‘Reversal Index (XHTML)’.

What is LIFT format?

LIFT stands for Lexical Interchange FormaT. It is an XML file format. You can find more information on the LIFT project page.

Which versions of Android will the apps work on?

The apps built by Dictionary App Builder can be used on Android versions 2.3 and above.

Once the app has been built, how can I distribute it to others?

Anyone with an app that has been built by Dictionary App Builder can share the app with the people around them via Bluetooth or microSD card. Apps can also be distributed through Google Play Store.

Will people need internet access to use the app?

No. Everything can be packaged inside of the app, meaning that it will need no additional permissions like internet or file system access. However, that may change depending on how you handle the audio files (see further down).

Audio files can get large. Can they all fit in the app package?

There are a number of ways to include the audio files. Which one you choose will depend on what works best for your distribution methods.

  • The audio files can all be included in the app package. This makes distribution easier because everything you need is in one file. However, if you distribute via the Google Play Store, the package file is limited to 100 MB.
  • An external folder can be used, such as on a microSD card. This requires additional permissions for the app, but may simplify distribution. One possibility is to distribute a microSD card that has the audio files and the app.
  • If Internet access is not a problem, the audio files can be hosted online for the user to download one by one when they are needed. Again, additional permissions are required.

Since the lexicon data files are packaged in the app, can somebody access them by unpackaging the app?

It would be very difficult. The data is encrypted when the app package is built so that others cannot extract it to use for other purposes.

Will the app work with our complex fonts and scripts?

We hope so! You can package fonts within the app. Each version of Android seems to fix some issues with complex scripts while at the same time breaking others. SIL’s Non-Roman Script Initiative (NRSI) has developed a system called Graphite which enables complex fonts to be displayed. Grandroid can be used to make Graphite font rendering work on Android. Grandroid fixes many of the font display problems that can otherwise occur on Android phones.

Is the app only for Android, or is there a version that works on the iPhone and Windows phones?

The current version of DAB only produces Android apps. The user interface code is specifically written for Android. Please let us know if you are interested in seeing a version for other platforms.

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