Wordbuilder lives!

Funny how this thing pops up every 1½ years or so 🙂

Someone asked me about wordbuilder, and I managed to pull myself together and compile a version that runs on my windows 10 machine. It’s been compiled for .NET framework 4.5 and should be ok to go with the latest mono too.

I’ve included the gtk dlls, so it should run without having that preinstalled, but I haven’t tested it. Let me know how it works out.

Download at http://whee.dk/wordbuilder/gtkwordbuilder-3.5.0.zip


Where are your keys?

I’ve taken to playing this game called Where are your keys. It’s not so much a game like in “let’s see who wins this time”, but a game as in “let’s do this thing to have fun” – playing within some kind of structure.

The basic form of the game is very simple, and easily learnt: Copycat! One person is the game leader and presents the action through hand signs and sounds – the hand signs are either invented on the spot or borrowed from a suitable sign language. American Sign Language is one of the sources for the signs. The sounds are actual words in a language that the leader speaks fluently – at least on the topic. By copying signs and sounds, the other players start to pick up the language, and something crazy happens, and all of a sudden everyone can speak the language.

Along the way, players who know the game can employ various techniques that’ll accellerate learning.

I’ve been playing Japanese and Danish with a fellow I met on the Google group, and we’re having a blast. I’ll try to remember to document our progress here on the blog.

After two hours, Ben can identify four objects (red pen, black pen, rock and ball), and knows how to ask and answer questions to increase and confirm his knowledge. We’re currently working on fluency towards the goal conversation of have/want/give/take. This conversation has a lot of grammatical content, and is what is called the Universal Speed Curriculum.

Last time, we did a technique (TQ): No Pressure Refresher, where we went over the stuff he already knew before going into new territory. Then, I tried to go over definite nouns, but we had some difficulties, so I’ll have to think about a better setup. TQ: Setup is important in WAYK, because you want everything to be TQ: Obviously! – with the right setup, it is always obvious what you’re saying, especially if you add TQ: Bite-sized Pieces only.

Want to try? Give me a hollar on skype (arnesostack) or google+ (Arne Sostack), and I’ll see what we can do. I’m probably also looking to learn YOUR language.

Check out http://whereareyourkeys.org/ for an introduction from the inventor, Evan Gardner, or see some of the videos of people having a blast playing a silly game of copycat and sneaking a language into their brains at the same time.


Online wordbuilder

Yay! A mr. Matthew Martin decided to pick up the pieces of WordBuilder and made a web based version!

It uses the same engine as the latest mono wordbuilder, so it has some kind of problem with the translate command. Proceed with caution. Other than that, it’s nice to see some interest in the project again.

Now, head over to http://wordgenerator.wakayos.com/ and try it out 🙂

Programming WordBuilder

WordBuilder 3.0.0 release

Okay, I think it should be working now, so I’m hereby releasing WordBuilder v3.0.0

Download at: http://whee.dk/wordbuilder/gtkwordbuilder-3.0.0.zip

It’s a simple zip file with an exe and a dll. As with the previous GTK version, you’ll need GTK# installed. http://www.go-mono.com/mono-downloads/download.html

To my knowledge, it runs equally well on .NET and Mono.

The new things I’ve added are:

– Syntax highlighting
– Support for c-style brackets (so you can drop the { to a line of its own) and ; line enders
– Support for python-style blocks (use two spaces or one tab for each level of indentation)

In order to do this, I had to rewrite the parser, so it is now much more flexible and I think I’ll be able to add IntelliSense and contextual help and such to the UI in time.

Now I think it’s time to do some clean up of the old code, but first, a commit to the GIT repo.


MonoWordBuilder beta release

Ok, I guess I’m just about ready to try this thing out.


Copy the contents of the zip into a directory of your choice and run it using:

Windows: doubleclick gtkwordbuilder.exe.

Mac/Linux: in a terminal, run the command ‘mono gtkwordbuilder.exe

You will need an install as well. On the mono web page, you can find instructions for your operating system: http://www.go-mono.com/mono-downloads/download.html

Windows users will be able to run this with GTK# for .NET, a pretty small download.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with trying this version out on non-windows systems.


Web site updates

I’ve changed the design of the web site, hopefully for the better. Thanks to Herdo for the nice theme.

Also, I’ve set up a phpBB for the forums. Old posts are not lost, just not publicly available. If you want them, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to move them across.



Ok, I think I now have a very basic version of GtkWordBuilder – WordBuilder implemented in a cross-platform gui system. It lacks line numbering and syntax highlighting, but it should be able to run under linux, mac, windows, whatever you can run mono and Gtk# under.

For this project of translating and reimplementing WordBuilder, I decided to try Test-Driven Development, so there’s also a bunch of unit tests. Not for everything, but still. There’s no unit tests for the commands, but all in good time. I feel I’ve made quite some progress here.

Here’s a screenshot of my latest build. Still not sure how to package, but the source is available at github.

Programming WordBuilder

WordBuilder Mono

Ok, I’ve taken my first stab at a mono-compatible tool. Turns out I couldn’t get MonoDevelop to build my VB code for some reason… So now I’ve spent some time converting the most important bits of code to C#, and it looks like I’m able to compile and run under mono.

What I have at the moment is a command line tool:

monowordbuilder <file_name>[ -v][ -r <starting_rule> <amount>]*

Which outputs a number of generated words, either just the root word or the larger output which contains marks and branches (using the -v argument).

If you don’t enter any rules at the command line, it’ll use the defaults you’ve set up in the .wordo file using the StartingRule directive. If there are none, it’ll default to generating the ‘root’ rule 100 times.

Oh, and I’ve no idea how to package it, so if anyone’s able to help out there, that’d be great. The source code is available at github.


WordBuilder grows a bit

Version 2.0.3 is up:


In this version:

  • Translator supports multiline texts.
  • Translator has a “Translate Back” function which will give you meanings for words in your language.
  • Generator supports referencing token sets.
tokens vowels a e i o u
tokens vowelsplus $vowels ë ï ö // a e i o u ë ï ö
  • Generator supports token sets removing tokens:
tokens vowels a e i o u
tokens vowelsminus $vowels ![a e] // i o u
  • Generator now has a check to make sure code doesn’t run amok – a maximum of 500 rules per word has been put in place.
  • Generally, you can press ctrl+a to select all text in the active area.
  • Cut/copy/paste works in all text boxes.
  • Dictionary has functionality to ‘Add another meaning’ when you right click a word.
  • Fixed apply, so it will not loop endlessly if you branch inside your apply.
  • Fixed parser, so it allows multiple spaces between tokens.
  • Added rules picker to the code editor. Generate words to update the list.
  • Added search (ctrl+f) to the code editor.
  • Improved syntax highlighting, though performance is still not good with scripts over 1700 lines – this seems to be a general problem with the control I’m using. Might have to switch it. *shudder*

Also, don’t miss the GREAT introduction written by CaesarVincens.

Finally, I have to mention that I’ve thrown the code up for public ridicule on GitHub.


WordBuilder v2.0

For version 2, I’ve reworked the dictionary and translator, and I’m very interested in feedback on those, but of course also on the application in general.

Download the latest version here.

Requires Windows and .NET framework 3.5sp1. This may help you download just what you need.

Documentation for the rules language

The WordBuilder generator page
The WordBuilder dictionary page
The WordBuilder translator page