Learning how to read and write Gurmukhi text . . .
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Purpose . . .

The purpose of this website is to teach people how to read and write Gurmukhi script, regardless of whether or not they want to learn Punjabi.

This site is completely free to use: you don't have to log in or register to access anything on this site. I don't make any money out of the site so there are no adverts, no cookies; there aren't even any scripts - you can use the site fully, even behind a properly configured firewall. You don't have to have any 'latest browser plug-ins' and you don't have to be using any particular browser or operating system. The site isn't about religion or race, it is about using Gurmukhi. Everybody is free to use this site.


Coding . . .

The coding of the site is designed so that you can make the fonts any size you like and it will not break the site in the way that some other sites break. In this way, if you are using an 800x600 display and a small font or, if you have a 21" 1600x1200 display and are using a large font, you can still see the site the way it is supposed to look.

Compatibility . . .

The site has been designed deliberately so that it doesn't use any form of scripting language, cascading style sheets, downloaded session fonts, plug-ins or even frames on the browser. This has several advantages:

  • No Scripting - The user does not have to activate scripting on their browser in order to use the site:
    • If the user's security policy forbids using scripting, the site will not be degraded at all;
    • They do not have to activate scripting which precludes the scenario where they accidentally leave scripting on and get hit by a malicious site that they visit afterwards.
  • No Style Sheets - The user does not have to make sure that their browser is compatible with some arbitrary Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) standard that was used to design the pages.
    • CSSs are not cross-browser consistent. By not using them, rendering inconsistencies are avoided and you are free to choose whichever fonts and sizes you like without a menu or some other part of the page ending up over the top of text or images as happens so often on websites that do use CSSs.
  • Standard Coding - The website uses standard UTF-8 coding for the Gurmukhi characters. This has the advantages:
    • The browser does not have to download any fonts that are needed to display that page correctly (such as those that transpose normal ASCII-range characters into Gurmukhi - these are not standardised and lead to many problems);
    • UTF-8 is an international standard so all UTF-8 fonts that have glyphs in the Gurmukhi range will display the correct characters (these fonts are now standard on Windows and for other OSes, you can download Saab at no cost); and,
    • The website is searchable on search sites such as Google and Yahoo!.
  • No Plug-ins - The user does not have to have the latest plug-ins to see the content. This means that
    • They are not constantly locked into an update nightmare;
    • If they use an operating system or a browser that does not support any particular plug-in, they are not missing out; and,
    • There are security issues with some plug-ins and it could well be in a half decent security policy that certain plug-ins are not allowed to run.
  • No Frames - Although just about every browser now supports frames, by not using frames, the site appears consistent no matter how much the fonts are resized.
  • Standrd .GIF Animations - The animated graphics showing you how to write Gurmukhi are animated .gif files so they don't need anything special to run them with your browser on your operating system.

Design . . .

'Billie' the cat is actually a 'billa' (tom cat) but he is pretty enough and doesn't seem to mind at all - he was only a kitten at the time. The picture is of him sitting up a tree in my back garden in September 2007.

The html was built by hand (no WYSIWYG used in the making of this site) using a text editor called 'KWrite' (v4.1) on a Pentium III server at 600MHz with 256MB of RAM running SuSE Linux 8.2 Professional with KDE 3.1.1.

The graphics were made using The GIMP (v 2.2.13) on OpenSUSE Linux 10.2 with KDE 3.5.5 r 45.

The web server software used when developing the site was Apache 1.3.x using Server-Side Includes (SSIs) and the xBit hack - no CGIs at all.

The browser used to test it during design was Konqueror 3.5.5 release 45 on OpenSUSE 10.2 on another machine next to the server. This allowed viewing of the rendered output whilst editing the html by hand.

One nice feature of Linux with the KDE desktop environment (as with any other GUI on Linux, UNIX, *BSD, OpenSolaris) is that you have multiple desktops which allow you to keep several desktops configured the way you want them so if I want to have two directory windows open on one desktop, view rendered html on another and edit graphics on a third, I can (and I did - whilst playing several games of Frozen Bubble 2, and getting to level 100 as well).

Subsequent testing additionally on:

  • Firefox v3.0 OpenSolaris, Windows XP Home Edition;
  • Firefox v2 on Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, OpenSuSE, OpenBSD, Ubuntu and Mac OS X;
  • Flock v2.0 on OpenSuSE;
  • Internet Explorer v7.0 on Windows Vista Ultimate Edition (That browser is a nightmare to write code for);
  • Internet Explorer v 6.0 on Windows XP Home Edition and a Windows 98SE machine (yes, really);
  • Konqueror v3.5.x on OpenBSD, OpenSuSE and Ubuntu;
  • Safari on Mac OS X; (Same rendering engine as Konqueror);
  • Opera v9.62 on OpenSuSE;
  • Galeon 2.2 on Ubuntu; and,
  • Epiphany on OpenSuSE.

I had fun learning how to read and write Gurmukhi and then designing and developing this web site so that other people can do the same. I hope that you enjoy it as well.



Copyright 2007-2008 Paul Grosse. All rights reserved.