Re: [Kde-accessibility] Annoucing libbraille


Bill Haneman wrote:

I hope you can look at gnome-braille (in gnome CVS) to try and avoid duplication of effort. gnome-braille is mostly concerned with encoding and translation, and the rather tricky business of international braille, and not very much with hardware drivers, at the moment.

That looks great! Indeed libbraille is mostly concerned with hardware driver at this time, and is limited as far as encoding and translation is concerned. So it seems like a great combination.

Unicode support and more Braille tables was rather high in my TODO list, but if a separate library can handle that (and certainly better than I could) I certainly would use it.

Indeed some people contacted me, and they plan to use libbraille with Arabic Braille (; I bet they will be really happy if something like gnome-braille can handle the conversion in this language.

I really think we should separate the issues of encoding/translation from the issues of drivers for different hardware devices. I understand the desirability of using dot-conversions that are either part of existing drivers or built into braille displays, and gnome-braille's translation APIs allow this on a mix-and-match basis. That is, braille translations can be cascaded both to handle mixed language situations and to support multi-stage translation (which is required by things like Japanese braille and also a good way of handling "Grade2" braille, true 6-dot brailles, and the like.

I completely agree with that. I never intended to include things like abbreviated Braille or Japanese Braille in libbraille, which are complex enough to deserve a project on their own.

Indeed I have a colleague who works on a project of software for kids at school and he uses 6 dots Braille. Since his platform is based on mozilla, he does the conversion in JavaScript and uses libbraille just to display some dots.

Another colleague works on a java conversion tool between MathML/LaTeX/local Braille maths (there is a web demo at this url: and he also provides directly a representation in dots, which libbraille displays directly without conversion.

For those 2 examples, I had to provide a way to directly render Braille dots:
(it currently works one character at a time, but I could change it so that a whole line could be sent directly)

gnome-braille could work a lot the same with libbraille. It would provide a layer handling conversion/encoding and providing the dot representation to libbraille which would display it directly on the Braille display.

I put this in GNOME cvs as a matter of convenience, but think gnome-braille would be at home in, it makes sense to make such things common. I look forward to discussing how to integrate gnome-braille and libbrl effectively.

I will be on holidays tomorrow until the forum in Stuggart. But right after that I will look more into details how gnome-braille works.

Best regards

Sébastien Sablé

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