What is New in Version Four

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Wenlin 216x93.png Wenlin User’s Guide

This appendix provides an overview of features and updates
published in Wenlin Software for Learning Chinese, Version Four.

New In Wenlin 4.0

New in 4.0:

Wenlin 4.0 introduced many new and updated features, including:

  • Improved ABC Chinese-English dictionary with numerous additions and revisions. Chinese characters are included for all example sentences.
  • New high-quality ABC English-Chinese dictionary edited by John DeFrancis and Zhang Yanyin. (Available as a [book] from UH Press!)
  • Both Chinese and English entries are marked with grade levels {A}/{B}/{C}/{D}/..., based on graded word lists prepared by PRC specialists in teaching the two languages. Chinese vocabulary grade levels are based on Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), the official test of Chinese proficiency.
  • Wenlin’s Zìdiǎn (字典 dictionary of Chinese characters) has been greatly improved and now includes for the first time a new electronic edition of the 2000 year-old Chinese dictionary, (说文解字) Shuōwén Jiězì (created by Richard Cook, including an 11,246-character Seal Script outline font.)
  • Flashcard improvements: support for words rather than only single characters; more flexibility about question types; a documented XML file format that could be shared with other software.
  • For Pinyin transcriptions of common Chinese words (grades A/B/C/D), changes in tone are indicated while preserving the original tone, using either a dot or a line below the vowel.
  • Text with sound: a sample dialog from the John DeFrancis textbook Beginning Chinese is included, with sound recordings for each sentence. Choose Sample Texts from the File menu.
  • Wenlin now allows users to open an unlimited number of separate resizable windows and sub-windows.
  • Right-click for pop-up menu for cut/copy/paste/look-up/pronounce; double-click for highlighting whole word.
  • Toolbar has new tools, a new appearance, and greater flexibility.
  • New commands: Recent Files/Words/Fonts (in the File, Dictionary, and Font menus, respectively).
  • New Search menu command: Search Dictionaries (like Search Files, but search the dictionaries). Search:Find/Replace now includes powerful Regular Expression (PCRE) support.
  • Full Unicode Unihan 6.0 support for more than 75,000 Chinese characters.
  • Users now have direct access to Wenlin’s CDL technology, including the ability to edit/create an unlimited number of custom Chinese characters.
  • New commands in the Options menu: Show/Hide Dictionary Items, for showing/hiding various dictionary details (like simple/full form characters, pinyin, English pronunciation, etc.); and Advanced Options, with several more things that can be customized for special uses.
  • Instant Look-up displays explanations of dictionary part-of-speech abbreviations.
  • Wenlin users now have access to the Wenlin Source Code (mostly in the C programming language), to help customize and improve the program. If interested, please contact Wenlin Institute for details.

New In Wenlin 4.1

New in 4.1:

Wenlin 4.1 contained new and updated features, including:

  • Availability both on CD-ROM and for downloading.
  • New flexibility in the location of required files (the “Tushuguan” folder), as described in Appendix C.
  • Updated Zìdiǎn (字典 Chinese character) dictionary.
  • Updated Cídiǎn (詞典 Chinese word) dictionary.
  • Updated Yīng-Hàn ( (英汉[-漢] English-Chinese) dictionary.
  • Updated Shuōwén Jiězì (说文解字 Ancient Chinese character) dictionary.
  • When the Simplified Characters option is turned off, full form characters are now shown in all English-Chinese entries and in all example sentences in Chinese-English entries.
  • The Stroking Box can now run without stopping, in parallel with any work you are doing in other Wenlin windows.
  • A new command in the Help menu: Check For Updates, for conveniently making sure you have the most recent version of Wenlin.
  • On Mac OS, the Help menu now provides this Guide in Apple Help form, conveniently searchable with the Spotlight tool.
  • Several new Advanced Options.
  • Complete Unicode 6.2 CJK character set support, including approximately 85,000 CDL descriptions.
  • Corrections for various defects in version 4.0.

New In Wenlin 4.2

New in 4.2:

Wenlin 4.2 contained new and updated features, including:

New in 4.2.1:

Wenlin 4.2.1 had updated dictionaries, and fixed some programming defects that were in version 4.2.0:

  • With the Brush tool, using the Ignore Stroke Order option produced random recognition results.
  • Classic character flashcards (.wenlinfc) were unusable.
  • In the Conversion bar, mouse click on the rightmost choice didn't work.
  • On Mac, menus weren't adjusted properly in the presence of dialogs.
  • In Flashcards, the Zìdiǎn @@ abridgment notation wasn't hidden.
  • On Mac, the Enter key wasn't handled the same as the Return key.

New in 4.2.2:

Wenlin 4.2.2 fixed a programming defect in the Search Files feature, for Windows only; and fixed other minor defects.

New In Wenlin 4.3

New in 4.3:

Wenlin 4.3 fixes programming defects in 4.2.2, including a problem with the Separate New Windows option; and it contains new and updated features, including:

(Documentation under construction! -- The following is very rough and includes programming notes to be deleted!)

  • The alphabetical index to Hanyu Da Cidian is supported as an add-on feature.
  • For the sound recordings of Mandarin syllables, MP3 format is used as a compact alternative to WAV. The complete set of MP3 files for all the Mandarin syllables takes only one fifth as much space (65 megabytes instead of 310 megabytes), while still providing great sound quality.
  • Fonts: Source Han Sans
  • The Show/Hide Dictionary Items dialog includes a checkbox: Replace ∼ (tilde) with the headword in dictionary example sentences. This works for Cídiǎn and Yīng-Hàn entries, including both Hanzi and Pinyin for Cídiǎn entries.
  • Regular expressions are now better supported, with a checkbox in the Find/Replace and Search dialogs, as an alternative to the re= prefix notation. The checkbox facilitates the very useful regular expression features, which previously may been unknown to most users.
  • Unicode CJK Extension E is now enabled, following the publication of Unicode 8.0, and bringing the total number of CDL descriptions to ???. [WENLIN_SUPPORT_CJK_UI_EXT_E]
  • Dragging the mouth tool across a string that includes two or more adjacent Hanzi results in pronouncing only the most likely Pinyin syllables based on context.
  • The List Character by Frequency window is easier to navigate. You can scroll all the way to the top and bottom easily, and can also type the number and the list scrolls according to what's typed. Formerly, only 500 lines were in the window, and when you got to the bottom you had to press a triangle button to get the next 500.
  • A Shift-click on the conversion bar arrow buttons, or Shift key plus (Page-)up/down arrow keys, skips to the beginning or end of the conversion list. This is useful for navigating long lists. If you know it's a rare character you're seeking, then you can jump to end of list and work backwards; or if you somehow missed the character early in the list, then you can easily jump right back to the beginning.
  • Dictionary windows include search web buttons, for direct access to search engines: Google, Google Translate, Baidu, Bing, and Yahoo.
  • Zidian entries include a new ▷Unihan button to display Unihan property data (if present). If you have a Unihan folder inside the Text folder (which is inside the Tushuguan folder), then the button calls up the property info for that Hanzi. If you don't have such a Unihan folder, then a window displays information including a link to download it, and installation instructions. OR we could *ship* a copy of Unihan decompressed, and in our preferred location. TODO: For publication, document this feature in this part of the WUG: Looking_Up_Vocabulary#Codes [WENLIN_HAS_UNIHAN_DOT_ZIP]
  • Cídiǎn entries include a button, words with Z1, Z2. For example, the entry for 詞典編纂 has "words with ‘詞,典,編,纂’" button; pressing it results in a list with four items: cídiǎn biānzuǎn 詞/辭典編纂[词/辞-编-], cídiǎn biānzuǎnfǎ 詞/辭典編纂法[词/辞-编--], cídiǎn biānzuǎnzhě 詞/辭典編纂者[词/辞-编--], jìsuàn cídiǎn biānzuǎnxué 計算詞典編纂學[计-词-编-学]. Another example (where character order changes): the entry for 差等 has words with ‘差,等’; pressing it results in a list with five items: chàděng 差等, cīděng 差等, děngchā 等差, děngchā jíshù 等差級數[--级数], děngchā shùliè 等差數列[--数-]. TODO: document in guide. [WENLIN_HAS_UU_ZC_ZZ]
  • The path to WenlinSound files is remembered from one session to the next in user preferences. If you have sound files in a non-standard location, for example, on an external flash drive, you can play one simply by dragging it onto Wenlin, or by opening one of the sound files in Wenlin. Formerly that sound path was remembered for the current session only. Now, we store the custom sound path in the user preferences, so that it remains active across Wenlin sessions. TODO: If enabled for publication, eventually needs documentation, and improve WenlinSound docs. Installation Folders_and_Files#WenlinSound[WENLIN_CFG_REMEMBER_SOUND_PATH]
  • A new kind of button enables setting font or sound options given a path string. Created for "Source Han Sans" project to easily switch/compare FreeType fonts; extended for CDL font switching, and to select WenlinSound location. These new "activation" buttons are self-documenting, for use in specific "add-on" (font, sound) contexts; but we can eventually document these features in WUG; the WenlinSound activation feature in particular will be general use. [WENLIN_ENABLE_UU_SET_STUFF]
  • A new "shape" attribute in wow buttons makes them round, square, up/down-pointing triangle, star, etc. This feature is a useful GUI improvement to WriteAdvOptionsSectionHeader: it turns the "right-pointing triangle button" into a "down-pointing triangle button", when the section is "expanded". Turning on this macro only affects WriteAdvOptionsSectionHeader (no other features affected by this macro suddenly get a "shape" attribute). But a variety of shape attributes are available for users to use. It is a useful improvement to this bit of the GUI ... so much so that maybe the default state should be ON (rather than OFF, as it is now); but keep it as an Adv Opt in case anyone wants to turn it off. It was intended for general use in Zidian dictionary DB windows, to make non-line-initial buttons round (to help make #x line breaks clear), and hence the name of the option CfgOptionButtonShape. Other aspects of it might be configurable in the future: for ex., maybe people want "square" or other shaped buttons. [WENLIN_HAS_WOW_BUTTON_SHAPE_ATTR]
  • An Advanced Option Quit discards unsaved changes (DANGER), when turned on, causes Wenlin to discard any (unsaved) changes in all windows before quitting. Implemented in response to a persistent user feature request. This user (as others, I suspect) often launches Wenlin to create temporary Untitled documents for use as "scratch pad" for dictionary look-up in very short sessions, and so he found it annoying to be prompted each time to save text which he never ever intended to save. TODO: Limit this to (unsaved) changes in Untitled windows only? TODO: document in guide. [WENLIN_QUIT_DISCARD_UNSAVED]

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