The Typological Database System IPA Console

The TDS IPA Console is an on-screen keyboard for typing characters and diacritics in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The Console is a Java Web Start application which allows you to easily generate and paste strings of IPA symbols in Unicode.

The Console includes the complete set of IPA characters and diacritics, and a few non-IPA favorites. You can also add user-defined buttons for arbitrary Unicode characters. In addition, the Console can be used to import legacy IPA text from the SIL IPA and SIL IPA 93 encodings.

Screen shots: Main tab, Adding a symbol

Flash animation: The IPA Console in action. (3.8MB)

The Console requires version 1.6 of the Jave Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Web Start. If the Console does not start when you press the button below, go to this page and download the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 Update 20.

If you do not want to accept the IPA Console's "digital signature", see below.

The TDS IPA Console was developed by the TDS project.


Frequently asked questions

  1. The Console tells me to install an IPA-compatible Unicode font. Where can I download those?
  2. Can I run the IPA Console with my version of Java?
  3. Although I've installed Java Web Start and the right Java version, I still can't run the IPA Console. What is wrong?
  4. I'm using Ubuntu, but I can't paste IPA symbols I've put on the clipboard?
  5. I'm using Mac OS X. Can't I use the IPA Console?
  6. I do not trust the "digital signature" that comes with the IPA Console. Can I still use the Console?
  7. Each time I start the IPA Console, it asks me if I want to run it; or it asks for permission to access the clipboard. Can this permission be made persistent?
  8. I didn't allow the IPA Console to create shortcuts on the first startup. Can I still create them?
  9. Why does the Console provide three different characters for the labiodental flap?
  10. I have a different question which isn't answered here. How do I get an answer?
The Console tells me to install an IPA-compatible Unicode font. Where can I download those?

We had very good results with the DejaVu Unicode font family. Other fonts can be found at Alan Wood's page on Unicode fonts for various platforms. Look for fonts containing the "IPA Extensions".

  1. Windows
  2. Unix
  3. Macintosh OS X

Can I run the IPA Console with my version of Java?

The IPA Console requires version 1.6 of the Jave Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Web Start. Because this version provides important functionality improvements and bug fixes, the Console is not available in a form that will run with earlier versions. If you do not have the right version of Java, go to this page and download the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 Update 20.

Although I've installed Java Web Start and the right Java version, I still can't run the IPA Console. What is wrong?

Make sure that you have version 1.6 of the Jave Runtime Environment (JRE), and that your browser starts Java Web Start (javaws) once it downloads a JNLP file (application/x-java-jnlp-file). The IPA Console was tested on the Microsoft Windows (2000 and XP), Linux (Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron) and OS X (10.5 Leopard) platforms. If you experience problems on any other platform send an email to Menzo Windhouwer.

I'm using Ubuntu, but I can't paste IPA symbols I've put on the clipboard?

Clipboard interaction between the IPA Console, well any Java program, and some applications, namely Firefox and Thunderbird, seems to be broken in Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron. At this moment its unclear where the problem lies. Luckily X Windows is a "two level" or "two layer" clipboard. Although the first layer (typical copy and paste layer, accessed and used via the ctrl-c, ctrl-v, and ctrl-x key combinations) is broken, the second layer still functions. To copy using the second layer of the clipboard: highlight the symbols in the Console, and then go to another window and paste immediately by putting your cursor where you want the text to be inserted, and then click your mouse wheel to paste.

I'm using Mac OS X. Can't I use the IPA Console?

Apple develops its own port of the Java Development Kit, which is only available for OS X 10.5 (Leopard) running on an Intel-based Mac capable of running 64-bit applications). The IPA Console "system tray" functionality isn't (properly) support by OS X, so for now its disabled on a Mac. We still have only very limited experience with the IPA Console on OS X, and we'll be happy with any feedback on the user experience.

I do not trust the "digital signature" that comes with the IPA Console. Can I still use the Console?

Accepting the digital signature will grant the IPA Console full access to your system. We assure you that we are not up to any foul play, but you should only use this version if you trust us (and are reasonably confident that we are who we say we are).

If you do not want to accept our digital certificate, use the link below to run an unsigned version of the IPA Console. Java will execute it in a "sandbox" designed to shield you from rogue programs, and therefore this version has some limitations: You will have to grant access to the system clipboard every time you start the Console, and the "system tray" functionality will be disabled.

 WebStart the unsigned IPA Console 

Each time I start the IPA Console, it asks me if I want to run it; or it asks for permission to access the clipboard. Can this permission be made persistent?

If you are using the unsigned version of the IPA Console, get the full version from the top of this page. Enable the option "Always accept content from this publisher" when asked if you want to run the application.

I didn't allow the IPA Console to create shortcuts on the first startup. Can I still create them?

Yes, but to do so you have to start the cache viewer of Java Web Start. On Linux/Unix, run javaws -viewer from a shell; on Windows, select Run from the Start menu and execute javaws -viewer. The cache viewer will show you a list of known Web Start applications. Select the IPA Console, and use the right mouse button to display the context menu. (On OS X, click while holding down the Command button). The context menu contains the option to Install shortcuts. Selecting that option will create a desktop icon (Linux and Windows), a Start Menu entry (Windows) and an entry in the Software Control Panel (Windows).

Unfortunately the java support for the icons is buggy: If you move the icon, it may keep returning to the place where it was first created.

Why does the Console provide three different characters for the labiodental flap?

The labiodental flap, the most recent character to be added to the IPA (in 2005), has just been added in version 5.1 of the Unicode specification, at codepoint U+2C71. However, most Unicode fonts don't yet provide a glyph for it. SIL fonts do but in the non-standard "private use area", but this is incompatible with non-SIL fonts. Hence, the "Other Symbols" section of the Console includes a key for the SIL codepoint and for a look-alike, the Cyrillic character izhitsa (ѵ).

I have a different question which isn't answered here. How do I get an answer?

Send your question to Menzo Windhouwer.

Acknowledgements

The IPA Console was developed by Menzo Windhouwer, with input from Rob Goedemans, Alexis Dimitriadis and Adam Saulwick.

The following excellent open source libraries are used by the IPA Console:


2005-2009 © LOT - mail comments/questions/etc. to the TDS project