Copyright © 2007, 2008 Paul Goins
J-Ben is dependent on the following:
GTK+/GTKmm: J-Ben is now developed using GTK on all platforms. Any recent version should work, but here's a listing of some of the libraries previously in use on my Linux system:
The Boost Libraries: J-Ben should work with boost 1.34.1 or later.
Ensure you have the development packages for the above listed libraries installed. Then, run "make", followed by "make download" to download dictionary files and optional stroke order diagrams. (J-Ben will NOT work properly unless at least one kanji and one word dictionary are installed!) Finally, as root, run "make install" to finish the installation.
NOTE: These instructions are only for people building J-Ben from source code. If you just want to use J-Ben, proceed to Installing J-Ben.
Windows builds are more challenging in large because setting up the dependent libraries is more of a chore. The situation is improving; since the time of writing (November 2008) there are now decent development packages for GTK+ and GTKmm. However, it still takes time, potentially several hours, to properly set up a build environment on Windows. As such, I strongly recommend -against- building from source unless you have a really good reason to do so.
That being said, the Windows development environment supported is MinGW with MSys. Other environments for Windows are currently unsupported.
If you want to give it a try, do the following:
If there is demand for more detailed Windows build instructions, I will provide them in a later version of this manual.
Most users should use the regular J-Ben installer package, which should be available from the project web site. This installer is most suitable for standard installs of J-Ben, and handles downloading of dictionary and stroke order diagram files during installation.
If you are installing J-Ben onto a USB thumb drive or similar device, you may want to instead download one of the zipped (.zip or .7z) versions of the program and extract it by hand. In this case, to run the program you will want to look for jben.exe, located in the J-Ben\bin folder.
|Thumb drive installs include EDICT2 and KANJIDIC dictionary files and no stroke order diagrams. Additional files can be installed by hand if desired.|
When you run J-Ben for the first time, it will prompt you as to whether you want to run J-Ben in "standard" or "mobile" mode. This simply refers to where J-Ben will store its data files. If you're running on a thumb drive or similar, select "mobile", and your data files will be saved to the thumb drive. If you've installed J-Ben permanently on your system, select "standard", and your files will be stored in your user's Application Data folder. (Usually this is C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data.)
At the time of writing, no precompiled packages exist. Eventually I would like to make a Linux Standard Base-compliant package, and it would be cool to get J-Ben into Debian and maybe other distributions. For the time being though, it is necessary to compile from source.
J-Ben's main window has two tabs, providing a bidirectional word dictionary and a kanji (character) dictionary. These dictionaries are dependent upon the various dictionary files (EDICT2, KANJIDIC/KANJD212/KANJIDIC2, KRADFILE/RADKFILE) freely available from Monash University on Jim Breen's homepage.
The word dictionary performs a very simple search based upon the ENTIRE QUERY - it doesn't try to match all the words or some of the words, but rather treats your query as a phrase and matches only the whole phrase. Results are arranged with exact matches first, followed by "begins with" matches, "ends with" matches, and finally, everything else. Japanese searches work best because of the structure of EDICT2, but English searches work fairly well as well.
The word dictionary ties into the vocab study list. You can step through or jump to a random word in your vocab list using the buttons at the bottom of the dictionary tab.
The kanji dictionary searches for one or more kanji characters and displays detailed information about each one. Because of the amount of data available for each character, and because most people don't need much of the data available, the output can be customized through the preferences editor.
Information provided includes (but is not limited to) the following:
Display of stroke order diagrams can be toggled here. This is dependent upon installing a set of stroke order diagrams.
The kanji dictionary ties into both the kanji and vocab study lists. You can move through your kanji study list using the forward, backward, and random buttons at the bottom of the dictionary tab. Further, if you search for a single kanji and it is in your list, the dictionary will recognize this and allow you to step through your list from the current character. Finally, all character searches are cross-referenced with your vocab study list, and if any of your vocab contain the kanji, they will be listed as well.
If you do not know how to type a kanji, or are unable to, J-Ben has two methods to allow you to look kanji up and copy them to the clipboard.
The first method is handwriting recognition. This is available via the menu item "Tools->Handwriting Recognition for Kanji". Using this, draw the character using your mouse. As you draw the character, the window will show you the 5 best matches for what you have drawn. This method uses the database from JStroke/KanjiPad/im-ja, and at last count supports searching for 2116 characters.
The second method is the new integrated kanji search, available via "Tools->Kanji Search". This method allows you to choose one or more search methods to quickly find kanji. These search methods all use the standard dictionary files, with the exception of handwriting recognition as previously described.
The integrated search currently supports the following search methods:
All selected search methods are applied together, from top to bottom.
More methods will be added in future versions. My highest priority is multiradical search support as seen in JWP/JWPce/Gjiten/WWWJDIC. Other methods will be added as requested by users and as time allows.
J-Ben provides an easy-to-use kanji "flash card" mode. This can be accessed via the "Practice->Kanji" menu item. It requires that you define a kanji study list before using it.
The kanji practice mode is intended as a basic self-study tool, and does not ask you to input any answers to questions or anything similar. It will display information about a kanji with some of the information hidden from view, and it is your job to guess, either mentally or on a separate sheet of paper, what the missing information is. After doing this, you can look at the hidden fields, and you decide for yourself whether or not you remembered the character properly or not.
This is a self-graded test; you decide for each character whether you got it "Correct" or "Wrong", and the program will simply track your answers and help you study the ones you had trouble with. The program will continue to drill you through the characters you mark as "Wrong", and at the end of the test will present you with a score and a list of the characters you got wrong.
The first step in using this mode is to select which characters to test yourself on. You start by choosing how many characters you want to test, and then you pick whether to select the kanji randomly from your list or in order from a certain index of your list. The former method may be better for general review, while the latter would be good for practicing through sets of new characters in your list.
The second step is choosing the type of test. If you want to practice writing characters by hand, you will probably want to try the "writing kanji" option. However, if just reading the characters is sufficient, which may be fairly true if you only read or type Japanese, then you might be better served focusing on "reading kanji".
After clicking "Start Drill", test mode begins. While in test mode, any active dictionary searches will be cleared, and you will be unable to access the word and kanji dictionaries until you finish. The screen will display 4 textboxes containing information about the kanji: the character itself, its on-yomi (sound-based) reading, its kun-yomi (Japanese style) reading, and its meaning in English. Some of the textboxes will be covered up, depending on which test mode you chose: for "writing kanji" only the kanji character is covered by default, while for "reading kanji" everything except the kanji character is covered. You can uncover each of the textboxes simply by clicking on them, or you can uncover all of them by pressing the "Show Answer" button. (Clicking "Show Answer" in "writing kanji" mode will also show a stroke order diagram for the kanji, if present.) After reviewing each flash card, you choose whether you got it "Correct" or "Wrong", and then the program will go to the next card in your list.
After running through all of the flash cards, if you marked any of them as wrong, the program will continue to drill you through the ones you missed. At this point your score won't change; this is just extra practice and if you want you can click "Stop Test" to skip it. I recommend running through this, though. The extra review ends once you've marked each kanji as "Correct".
At the end of the test (or if you select "Stop Test"), the Test Results message box will appear. It will tell you what your score was, how much of the test you finished, and which kanji you missed, if any.
The kanji study list is used for storing any kanji characters you are studying. It's used by the kanji dictionary and is required for kanji drilling mode. This list can be added to and sorted based on newspaper frequency, Jouyou grade level, and Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level.
Editing the kanji study list is done through the kanji study list editor, which can be reached from the Edit menu. (Edit -> Kanji Study List)
If you don't know where to start on studying kanji, I suggest starting by using the "Add Kanji" buttons on the left side of the editor to add kanji by either Jouyou grade level or JLPT level. Just click the appropriate button, choose a range of grades or levels, click "OK", and those kanji will be added to your list.
Other methods to add kanji include the "By Frequency" button, which adds kanji by newspaper frequency ranking, or the "From File" button which finds the kanji contained within a plain text file. (Note: "From File" currently only works on UTF-8 encoded files.)
The Kanji Study List editor lets you manually edit your kanji list. You can type kanji in by hand, or copy and paste them from another application.
When you hit the Commit button, your changes are saved. Only kanji which are in the kanji dictionary will be retained; any other characters are discarded. Duplicates are also automatically removed. So, you could simply copy and paste a vocab list into the kanji list editor, hit commit, and you would end up with a list of all the kanji used in that list.
After adding characters to the list, it is strongly recommended to sort the list. The editor allows 3 methods of sorting: by newspaper frequency, by Jouyou grade, or by JLPT level. Currently you can only sort in ascending order.
J-Ben uses a "stable" sort for sorting study lists. This allows a nice trick where you can first sort by frequency, then by Jouyou grade (or JLPT level), and the result will be a list sorted by grade but with the characters within each grade sorted by frequency.
The vocab study list can be edited via the "Edit->Vocab Study List" menu item. This study list is primarily used as a cross-referencing resource for the kanji dictionary. The list is formatted with each line representing one Japanese word or phrase. Either manually type in the list, or copy and paste it from another program, and press Apply or OK.
Configuring J-Ben is done through the Preferences editor. Currently, you can configure the kanji dictionary, the display fonts, and J-Ben's mobile/standard mode.
Most configuration options have to do with the various data contained within KANJIDIC. KANJIDIC has tons of information, and much of it is overkill for the purpose of most students. A set of fairly sane defaults are chosen, but you can modify these as necessary. Most options are self-explanatory.
If you own a paper kanji dictionary, or a set of kanji flash cards, you may want to check through the dictionary reference codes. Index codes for many dictionaries and several flash card sets are included. For example, I personally use the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary by Jack Halpern, so I usually have this code enabled so I can very easily reference it if I'm not satisfied with the output of KANJIDIC.
If you set up a vocab study list, then there's a useful option to display words in your vocab list which use the kanji you're looking up. This option is strongly recommended. If there's nothing in your study list, or nothing that matches your search, then this option doesn't display any extra information.
The "other information" option is for the various other "excessive" data contained in KANJIDIC but which I feel most Japanese learners usually will not need. This includes JIS and Unicode hex codes, various radical index numbers, Korean and "Pinyin" romanizations, dictionary cross-reference codes, and any other KANJIDIC fields not handled elsewhere.
Finally, if you install one or more of the KanjiCafe.com stroke order diagram packs, you can toggle whether to show them here.
A few options are available for modifying the behavior of kanji tests. You can select, for both "reading" and "writing" modes, which information fields you want shown or covered. Additionally, single-key keyboard shortcuts are supported, allowing you to easily drill using only one hand on the keyboard (and the other hand writing kanji on paper, hopefully).
J-Ben uses four special fonts for displaying text in the program. Here, you can change how they are set. Each font is described below.
Currently only one "other option" is supported: the J-Ben "mobile mode" toggle. As mentioned earlier, this simply adjusts where J-Ben's configuration file(s) are saved. If mobile mode is checked, then settings will be saved based upon the working directory. Usually, this means that it'll save to the program's root folder, which is ideal for USB thumb drives. If mobile mode is not checked, then J-Ben will save to the user's "home" or "Application Data" folder.
(Note for Linux users: mobile mode is currently a Windows-only option. Also, because of this, you probably will not have an "Other" tab.)
J-Ben was written by Paul Goins. It uses code from the im-ja and kanjipad projects, and those portions are copyrighted by their original authors. Code has also been directly contributed by Alain Bertrand.
I've had a lot of help writing this software from many people, and it goes without saying that this list will not be conclusive. However, I want to try to give credit where credit is due.
Thanks goes to Jim Breen and Monash University, for without Mr. Breen's dictionary files, J-Ben and countless other programs like it would not exist.
Thanks also goes to Jim Rose of kanjicafe.com, for allowing me a license to use the stroke order diagrams from his SODER project, and for contributing files to support Jim Breen's projects (RADKFILE2/KRADFILE2).
Thanks to the wxWidgets team for developing wxWidgets, and to the denizens of the wxForums (especially doublemax, but others as well). Although J-Ben no longer uses wxWidgets, it did help me get off to a good start.
Thanks to the GTK+ and GTKmm teams, both for their tools and their support when things haven't worked quite as planned.
Thanks to "taniwha" at the "Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar" forum. Taniwha convinced me that integrating KanjiPad into J-Ben was a low hanging fruit and worthwhile, and also pointed me towards the im-ja project and the improvements they have made to KanjiPad. Obviously, thanks also goes to the im-ja teams, Owen Taylor, Robert Wells and Todd David Rudicks for their work on KanjiPad and related programs.
And last (but certainly not least!), thanks to the users of J-Ben and the feedback they have provided.
I hope that I haven't missed anyone here, but if I have, drop me a line: general (at) vultaire _dot_ net
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If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it free software which everyone can redistribute and change under these terms.
To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is safest to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively convey the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least the "copyright" line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.
<one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does.> Copyright (C) <year> <name of author>
This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA
Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.
If the program is interactive, make it output a short notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode:
Gnomovision version 69, Copyright (C) year name of author Gnomovision comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type "show w". This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; type "show c" for details.
The hypothetical commands "show w" and "show c" should show the appropriate parts of the General Public License. Of course, the commands you use may be called something other than "show w" and "show c"; they could even be mouse-clicks or menu items--whatever suits your program.
You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or your school, if any, to sign a "copyright disclaimer" for the program, if necessary. Here is a sample; alter the names:
Yoyodyne, Inc., hereby disclaims all copyright interest in the program "Gnomovision" (which makes passes at compilers) written by James Hacker.
<signature of Ty Coon>, 1 April 1989 Ty Coon, President of Vice
This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General Public License instead of this License.
While all code in J-Ben falls under the GPL version 2 (or above), the dictionaries and stroke order diagram files used by J-Ben fall under separate licenses.
EDICT, EDICT2, KANJIDIC, KANJIDIC2, JMDict, KRADFILE and RADKFILE are all property of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group (EDRDG) and fall under the EDRDG general dictionary license. RADKFILE2 and KRADFILE2 are property of James Rose, but are licensed for redistribution by EDRDG.
KanjiCafe.com stroke order diagrams used by J-Ben are property of James Rose, KanjiCafe.com, and Rolomail Trading. These graphics are used under the KanjiCafe.com SOD and SODA License Agreement, version 3.