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Dictionary word filtering made better

November 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t know who will find this useful, but I’m working on better filtering in the dictionary. There was already a filter function in zkanji for who knows how long, but it wasn’t very flexible. I admit it was even painful to use. By the way filtering in the dictionary means only including words in search results if they fit some grammatical or other classification (e.g. nouns only).

Up till now filtering was awkward. You had to right click the very narrow button above the dictionary which brought up a dialog where you could check boxes for different word types, and buttons above with ambiguous description. There were ready-made categories (nouns, verbs, adjectives), and you could create 3 custom filters that auto checked the boxes when they were selected. Any time you needed a different filter, you had to enter this dialog, change what boxes were checked, and the dictionary search was filtered. When I first put the dialog together I just wanted to get over with it fast, as I needed some kind of filter but didn’t want to spend too much time on it. It worked fine, though I ended up not using it very often as it wasn’t very customizable or easy to handle.

The solution I’m working on is just a bit more flexible, but it’ll hopefully be enough to make that feature useful. There will be “unlimited” number of custom filters with custom names. You’ll still have to enter a dialog window to create these filters, but once they are created, you won’t have much work with them. These filters then will be listed in the main menu and also in a popup menu accessible with the good old narrow filter button. But unlike till now, when only a single filter can be active, you will be able to turn on any number of filters, making it unnecessary to always open that dialog if you wanted some changes. For example you could create a filter for all verbs, another for all transitive verbs, and one other for all godan (-u dropping) verbs. If only the first one was turned on, the dictionary would show all verb search results, but you could narrow it down even more to show only transitive verbs that are godan as well. (This is just an example. Obviously if a filter for transitive verbs were selected, the first filter for verbs would become unnecessary.)

Here comes the best part! When this is done, it would be easy to program filtering word groups or filtering words that come up for kanji, making selection of new words for the long-term study list much easier.

(I’ll add screenshots to this post once there is something exciting to show.)

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