Archive for Philip

Webonary now imports in the background + new status page

Webonary now imports xhtml files by default in the background. This allows you to close the browser after the file is uploaded to the server. You can go back to the import page to view how far the import has progressed:


Importing in the background is faster than displaying a progress counter and is therefore less likely to time out. If it does time out however, you can now resume the import without having to start from the beginning.


Also, you will now receive an email once the import has completed.

Adding Comments

You can have users give feedback to individual dictionary entries. If you activate the comments, a link “Comments” will appear below an entry (in the search view). Example: Lou DictionaryTo activate the comments, go to “Settings” – “Discussion” and check “

Webonary Browse View

With Webonary it is now possible to generate all the following browse views: English – Vernacular, Vernacular – English and Browse by Categories. It is no longer necessary to upload the LexiquePro HTML files. This not only makes it much easier, but also if you reimport updated FLEx data, you no longer have to change it in two places. Finally, the Webonary browse view looks better on smartphones.

More info here.

Dictionaries on Smartphones

dictionaries on smartphones

We changed the theme so that the dictionary sites automatically adjust to the screen size of smartphones.

This is an email I received from one of our users: “In Ghana quite a number of people have these kinds of comparatively inexpensive smartphones. The mean salary of a government worker is around 300 USD. A smartphone is a big expense but affordable. So having the dictionaries accessible through mobile phones is an issue.”

We may still need to tweak the design a bit. Suggestions are welcome.

Posting Flex data

Data can be exported from Flex using the Configured XHTML export and imported into the Webonary site. These steps clarify the process for doing this manual to produce sites like those that are currently available.

The xhtml can be post processed. This is often done to replace the homograph numbers with Unicode sub-scripted numbers since the style syntax output from flex does not produce a sub-scripted number (but rather a full size number) -> this is no longer necessary, the importer does it for you!. Another reason for doing this would be to combine the lexical relations of the same type under a single heading. In any case, there are XSLT transforms available including CombineRelations.xsl that performs these operations. Follow the instructions for applying an XSLT.

In addition, rather than uploading with the style sheet from Flex, you may want to use the style sheets that have been custom modified for one of the other sites. One style sheet makes the abbreviations into small caps (pacoh).

Applying an XSLT

I use Oxygen which has a nominal fee. I like this option because it comes with a development environment which allows me to step through the execution and set break points to jump to a particular line in the input or a particular template in the style sheet.

A free command line options is Saxon. (See:

Microsoft provides a command line tool. Remember to use the -xe switch.

Microsoft C# (and other languages) include XSLT processing. The express version of these languages can be downloaded for free.

Python also will process XSLT. A script can embed the transformation if desired. It relies on installing lxml (which is a Python add on module for processing XML files.)

You can learn using the online tutorial.

Showcase: 4 Uganda Dictionaries

Martin Diprose has published 4 dictionaries for different languages spoken in Uganda. He made use of the Webonary Plugin for searching and also included the HTML output generated by LexiquePro for browsing the dictionary entries.

These are the dictionaries:


Host your dictionary at

You are welcome to publish your dictionary on SIL’s online service, The server, plugin, and other features are already installed.

Added Semantic Domains to Search Results

The SIL Dictionary Infrastructure plugin now includes semantic domains in its search results. The feature was added in version 1.1.7. If you want to make use of the feature, you will need to update the plugin and reimport your data.

Excited about the Online Dictionary

One of the reviewers of one of our sites said:

…in general it’s looking really good. And it’s exciting that it can be done for anyone using FieldWorks!…Thanks for all your hard work on this. I’m really impressed!