This site acts as a companion to DianHua Dictionary for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch . With the release of DianHua Dictionary v2.0, the dictionary now includes History and Bookmark support. Using this site along with the Sync feature of DianHua Dictionary, you can upload and access your Bookmarks and History including exporting to CSV (comma separated value) file formats. If you are interested in file formats for a specific software application, please let me know.
Beyond moving your data around, though, the site serves as a backup location for your data. If at any point you lose or damage your iPhone or iPod touch, simply sync your new device to your existing DianHuaDictionary.com account, and all of your data will be restored.
News and Information
March 30, 2013 11:46 PM CDT
What? You're laughing. I'm serious about this. I know it's nearly April Fool's Day, but it really is time for a limited public BETA test of DianHua Dictionary 4.0 and DianHua Audio Dictionary 4.0. Still don't believe me? Alright, what about a screenshot from the iPad?
Not enough? That's unfortunate because you'll be missing out on:
May 10, 2012 06:16 PM CDT
The Sync system in DianHua Dictionary works reasonably well albeit with some performance issues and a couple of minor, fairly rare bugs. The problem with it is that I didn't plan well for the inevitable...new features. There just is no easy upgrade path. As a result, I have been looking at a variety of options to replace it for quite some time.
One option I found in my research was a very young mobile implementation of CouchDB for iOS called Couchbase Mobile. CouchDB is a NoSQL database best known for its multi-master replication capabilities. After deciding to pursue a proof of concept implementation several weeks after I found it, I discovered that Couchbase Mobile had disappeared (sort of) and something called TouchDB popped up in its place. With a little more research and some code reading, I pressed forward with a TouchDB iOS and CouchDB server architecture.
The end result was pretty spectacular. An upgrade and full sync of my bookmarks took only a couple of minutes, and changes could sync in a matter of seconds depending on network speed. I was so happy with the results that I moved the proof of concept into my mainline development and pressed forward with other new features.
Unfortunately, the honeymoon has ended. Some of the data design decisions that were forced by sync performance issues caught up with me when I tried to implement new features. To make those new features work, I would have to unwind the CouchDB sync implementation to the point that it would take 20 minutes to perform an initial sync on my own data. Compounding the challenges, the TouchDB developers have moved into work on another product called Syncpoint which aims to help developers with exactly the kind of use-case DianHua requires, but the prospect of a stable implementation is looking like it is still several months away.
So after further reflection, I'm digging in and rolling my own Sync again. This time around, I'm approaching it much differently and keeping an eye on future upgrades in the process.
At this point, you may be thinking...iCloud? And yes, I keep thinking that as well. I could roll out an iCloud version of DianHua very quickly, but it would mean iOS 5.x only and no integration with DianHuaDictionary.com (without jumping through some hoops). Admittedly, there is less need for DianHuaDictionary.com now than there was 2 years ago when I first developed it, but there are several users (myself included) who use the site to build their bookmarks faster than searching each item on the device. There are also features in our todo list that are easier to implement and more user-friendly if the data is available on DianHuaDictionary.com.
So like the title said, two steps forward, two steps back. iCloud remains tempting, but I'm rolling my own for now.
February 17, 2012 08:47 AM CST
Over the past few years, I've had many users ask about character animations. Being that it's a labor intensive process to produce character animations, I've been hesitant to go down the path, and some of the companies with licensable content have been hesitant to go down it with me. I did, however, have a user point me toward the Zhongwen Development Tool (ZDT). He actually went so far as to talk to ZDT's developer about whether or not I could include ZDT's character animations in DianHua.
With the Skritter iOS App in beta, I know this is odd timing. It looks like Skritter has done a great job with their app, and I highly recommend them if you are serious about learning character handwriting. There are also some other really nice character animation and practice applications on the App Store if for some reason Skritter isn't to your liking.
That being said, I know as an active DianHua user myself that there are times it would be convenient to see the stroke order for a character within the app instead of having to find it elsewhere. ZDT only included about 1,500 characters, but they are many of the more common characters so I'm hopeful their availability will be helpful in your studies.
January 11, 2012 10:30 PM CST
The calendar says 2012, doesn't it? I've done everything I can to pretend I didn't make it through 2011 without a single DianHua Dictionary update, but it's time to face the music. It happened, and given that this is a one man show, I guess all of the finger pointing comes right back around to me.
Are there excuses? Certainly, there are excuses, but they're boring, nerdy excuses. The unfortunate truth is I have a day-job. Maybe if I had more business acumen, I would have better understood the opportunity for DianHua in 2008. Maybe I would have committed more time and resources at advancing the product. Unfortunately, I didn't understand the opportunity, and I remained loyal to a job that sometimes requires a lot of overtime, albeit with an extra helping of flexibility and freedom.
Though I still continue with my day-job (there's not gold in them there iOS hills for most of us), New Year's Eve marks the turning point in my schedule. My massive, forced migration from Slicehost (now Rackspace) to Linode is complete. The majority of those night and weekend hours I normally use for DianHua were burned on planning and executing the move of 20+ VPS servers. At 10:30 PM CST New Year's Eve, the last server, a particularly challenging mail server, finally made its Internet trip from St. Louis to Dallas, and closed the book on a set of tasks I'd rather forget.
Since then, the flood gates have opened. Work is progressing, and the long discussed features are taking shape. There's even talk of bringing in some help to speed the process along.
That said, I'm done giving promises on release dates. All I can tell you is DianHua is still alive and kicking.