iphone + plecodict + japanese = true


I know this topic has been more or less beaten to death... but I couldn't resist.

Now that it looks given that there will eventually be a plecodict for iphone, I once again started dreaming about Japanese dictionaries. Since the iphone already has a font system that supports Japanese as well as a built-in keyboard for typing kana/kanji, wouldn't it be a pretty minimal job on your side to at least allow people to install their own J-E/E-J dictionaries such as edict? I know it probably wouldn't work with handwriting recognition, but it would be much better than nothing.

While on the subject... have you given any thought to Korean? That should also be easy to support on iphone, and you may even be able to license some kind of commercial dictionary (no idea about how difficult that is compared to Japanese dictionaries). Handwriting hanja should work too, since Korean hanja are (almost) like traditional hanzi.


Staff member
That I think will be extremely well-covered by the Japanese market; the lack of options on Palm/PPC are only because the Japanese aren't big fans of either of those platforms anymore, but I imagine there'll be several million Japanese iPhone users within a few years and lots of excellent dictionary programs to cater to them.

We're not really interested in adding half-hearted / handwriting-free Japanese support to Pleco; if we do decide to add a new language, we'd want to do it with the same vigor with which we've approached Chinese. Which would mean before we could even get started we'd need to line up licenses for a couple of really fantastic dictionaries.


I think you've mentioned before that you may not have to create your own custom UI controls. If that still holds true should you decide to develop an iPhone version, then would that not mean that Pleco could display Japanese without problem? Provided you allowed the iPhone to handle display, I don't see why it wouldn't. While Pleco obviously wouldn't officially support it, provided you're handling the Unicode and such in a reasonably generic manner, being able to add Japanese dictionaries would be possible. I think the major problem now is that you use your own font files, and your own code for drawing everything, which would mean that you'd have add support in your own font files for it to work. At least on Palm. If a font is provided that supports Japanese and Chinese, would it then display correctly on PPC?

The only problem would be that I don't expect it would be able to search properly. I don't know how Mike decides which characters are appropriate for which field, but you might not be able to search for Japanese words using the Kana. (Unless you don't detect what's in the search box, and just apply it to both pronunciation and headword?)

EDIT: There could well be more to it than this. But given that I don't have even the faintest idea how the code works, I'm just kinda assuming stuff here...


Staff member
There is a lot more to it than that, actually - the whole search system would need to be overhauled to handle kanji/kana mixes and the like. An English-to-Japanese dictionary would probably work without any code changes from us, but enabling Pleco to search for words in Japanese would require an extensive amount of engineering work. The Chinese font in the Pocket PC version of Pleco already includes all of the kana and all of the common kanji, so if it were simply a matter of rendering characters then you could create a perfectly good Japanese dictionary for the current Pocket PC version.