Home > Plans, Progress report > The future

The future

This post was cut in two because I know how much people hate to read. Skip to the next one if you want to read that first.

Most things I have to work on from now on are related to the user interface. Previous versions of zkanji were built for windows only, which made the interface much easier to create. I didn’t have to use external libraries that worked like an alien life form on top of the operating system. This time though, because I wanted to make zkanji run on Linux and Mac as well, I was forced to use such library. I have already written about how painful it is to use that library, but that’s not what I wanted to write about this time.

The new user interface was meant to be modern and stylish. More importantly, easier to use and simpler just by looking at it. But I guess I should just forget most of these dreams if I want to make a working version. Every interface element (text input, button etc.) seem to take up a lot of space now, and there is no way to use the empty spaces well. This became painfully obvious when, for example, I tried to make a good interface for the kanji search. (Still work in progress.) It wasn’t very elegant in the previous versions of the program, because there are many buttons, check boxes and text input boxes that needed to be placed for editing filters for the kanji.

Another layer of difficulty is the scaling of the interface. It’d be good if it worked on all kind of screen resolutions, from the 1000ish pixels wide netbooks (are those still around?) to 4k and beyond. For this reason I’m trying to make button icons in SVG format. Those can be scaled to any size and won’t become ugly and pixelized like “traditional” images. I’m not an artist though, and I’d rather work on the code more, so unless someone wants to donate some SVG images, the button icons will be hideous at best.

Last but not least there’s the popup dictionary, which activates in previous versions by a key combination installed in the system. It brings up zkanji when you press the set keys, even when you are playing a video or reading your favorite manga. There is an extension library for the user interface library I’m using, which allowed this to work on several systems. Unfortunately it seems to have been discontinued some time ago. I’ll try to get its source files and figure out what I need to copy to make it work, but in the worst case this will be a Windows only feature.

The next time I’m posting again, I really hope I can bring you some screenshots. I know the wait is very long, but I’m a single person and this is not a small project!

Categories: Plans, Progress report
  1. Ricardo
    April 4, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    I would be glad to try to help you with the SVG files. If you can provide the bitmaps or description of what you want, just send me an e-mail with the details.

    • Ricardo
      April 4, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      (I’m guessing you can see the e-mail I’ve used to post this comment…)

      • April 5, 2016 at 6:08 pm

        I sent an e-mail.

  2. April 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm


    Quero mais uma vez parabenizar o trabalho com o zkanji. Utilizo-o diariamente desde a primeira versão e estou muito ansioso para o lançamento desta nova.
    Gostaria de aproveitar a oportunidade para propor uma pequena mudança: além de todos os filtros de pesquisa de kanjis já existentes (Radical, Stroke, Meanings, Reading, etc.) gostaria que houvesse uma maneira de, apenas colando o caractere em um campo de texto, poder encontrá-lo diretamente. Sinto falta disso, e penso que seja algo simples. Estou apenas tentando aproveitar a sua preocupação com a interface do usuário e o fato de ainda o desenvolvimento não estar concluído.

    Obrigado pela atenção e sucesso.😉

    • April 5, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      I hope Google translates correctly. Anyway if you need to look up a kanji from another document, copy it into the dictionary. Right click the kanji and select “Kanji Info”.

  3. asllearner
    April 5, 2016 at 8:49 am

    looking forward to seeing the new version. I am still using snow leopard on one of my computers. What are the requirements as far as mac goes?

    • April 5, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      It should be possible to make zkanji run on older versions of the mac’s operating system, but I don’t own a mac so I don’t really know. I’m using newer language features (c++11) which might be a problem, or it might not be a problem at all.

  4. Fujiri
    April 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Oh the screenshots would be awesome, really looking forward to seeing how it looks now.
    But don’t hurry, we have working zkanji and that is what matters the most, newer version is just a bonus 🙂
    I really appreciate your work on this program, you’re making the life easier for many Japanese loving people.
    Thank you ❤

  5. June 5, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you for your work. Using zkanji for a several years already. And I find it more handy then Yarxi.

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