Multilingual Editor: Options for the Executables
    The Multilingual Editor has useful features which include flexibility in data entry. Over the years, many different approaches to data entry have been tried for Indian languages with literally hundreds of data entry software floating around, each requiring specific fonts on specific platforms. Data entry in the IITM software is based on a phonetic concept where the aksharas are assigned keys on the standard ASCII keyboard based on the nearest sound equivalent to the akshara. Among the popular transliteration based data entry methods for Devanagari, ITRANS deserves special mention. Persons desiring to use the IITM Editor, who may have some prior exposure to typing in Indian Scripts will find it easier to use the editor with the data entry method familiar to them. As may be infered from the main page of the Editor, The Multilingual Editor supports at least four different data entry methods to make it easier for most people to learn to use the application almost immediately.

  Described below are the different flavours of the Editor from which users can choose a specific executable.

1. The base version of the Multilingual Editor.
  This version supports two different data entry methods. 
  •  The standardized IITM phonetic keyboard mapping.
  •  ITRANS  based input.
    The standardized IITM Keyboard works uniformly across all the scripts. Data entry will support upto thirteen Roman Punctuation marks as well as some special symbols used in the scripts. The same keyboard mapping will apply to all the scripts. 

The standardized keyboard mapping is seen below. 

    The ITRANS based input allows users to keyin data using the ITRANS Roman transliteration scheme. This scheme is not guaranteed to work well across all the languages due to ambiguities in the transliteration. It is a popular scheme however and is hence supoorted in the IITM editor. The iitmfced.ini file has an entry for the choice of the data entry method and the method specified here will be applicable when the editor is invoked.
2. Lower case letters based  data entry
    This version of the editor allows data entry using only the lower case letters on the keyboard and is very convenient for people who cannot operate the shift, ALT keys comfortably. This scheme is not unlike the ITRANS scheme but more or less guarantees uniformity in data entry across all the languages. The mapping used is illustrated below. In this scheme, only the standard aksharas are possible and some of the punctuation marks may not  accepted. This scheme is a  suggestion from Prof. Raj Reddy of Carnegie Mellon University.
3. Typewriter based data entry
   This version of the editor works the same way data entry is done on standard manual typewrites. Only two scripts are supported at present, Hindi and Tamil. Very clearly, this method is restrictive on the conjuncts that can be generated. Standard punctuation is supported as are some special symbols. The Keyboard mapping for Tamil is given below.

4.  Tamilnet99 recommended Keyboard

   During the Tamilnet99 conference, the Government of Tamilnadu recommended that some standardization in data entry be effected for Tamil. The Tamilnet99 keyboard mapping was a result of deliberations which took place during the conference. We do not know how many applications supporting data entry in Tamil actually use this method but the IITM editor easily supports the scheme. The recommended keyboard mapping is shown below. It may be noted that the recommendation includes implementation of a state machine which keeps track of a series of key sequences and automatically outputs the desired akshara combinations. Details are available in the section on Computing with Tamil. The keyboard mapping is shown below.

Points to remember

The editor works uniformly across all the scripts. 

Each script requires a font and a mapping table. One font and table for each script is included in the distribution. Other fonts may be used if appropriate support files are created.

There are seven files required for each script. These are known as language support files. These files are not needed if data entry will not be attempted using that script. This may be the case when data entry may be done in one language and transliterated into another language.

Many nice fonts (e.g., Sanskrit98) do not provide  Roman punctuation marks. The fonts recommended by IITM do support all the important punctuation marks.

You can keep all the versions of the editor in the same directory (the one in which you installed the basic version) since they have different names. Please remember that they must have an independent .ini file.

 The .llf files prepared may be converted to html directly by opening the .llf file in the editor and pasting the contents onto a word document and converting the same to html using word. 

It has been found that a few characters do not showup properly on some browsers. You may use the llf2html utility to convert the file and subsequently edit it under a suitable html editor. This way you will not encounter problems of incorectly rendered aksharas.