Computer based animation
can be utilized to advantage in learning to write the aksharas of the languages
in different scripts. What is being attempted here is an approach to accomplish
this animation on a web page. The basic principle of HTML for creating
documents will not help here since the animation referred to requires the
execution of an appropriate program within the Browser. Java Applets provide
the means to accomplishing this though we must admit that this may not
serve the purpose on systems where the Java Virtual Machine is not installed
or the implementation of it differs in some aspects.
In 2001, we had experimented
with a primitive animation method using Java Applets and it appears that
the desired effect had been achieved on most Browsers including those on
a MacIntosh. However Java Technology has undergone many changes since the
time we introduced the animation applets and there is no guarantee that
the old animation applet will continue to work. Worse still, there is no
guarantee that any modifications effected to the old applet to bring it
upto date with today's Java technology, will also work properly.
Keeping the above
in mind we have attempted to rewrite the animation applet consistent with
the changing hardware and software scenario. The new applets allow control
of the stroking speed and also display information relating to the akshara
being stroked. We have also included animation of the medial vowel forms
so that the placement of the ligature is correctly understood. Audio has
been added to allow the viewer hear the vowel or consonant.
Besides the Applet,
the page has a provision to hear sample words for a given akshara as well
as written examples of words which can be matched against the ones spoken.
The applet seems to
work properly on Browsers such a Netscape (4.8 or higher), Mozilla and
Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer-6 using the recent versions of the Java
RunTime Environment from Sun Microsystems.
Regrettably, we have
not been able to get the new applet to work properly on a Mac. Anyone who
might want to help us figure out the problem may please contact the lab.
People at Sun seem to feel that we had used some deprecated features of
Java but it is difficult to accept that we need to change. The Sanskrit
lessons and the animations have been seen by thousands of viewers from
2001 and we would not want them to feel disappointed when the new applets
fail on their older Browsers.
We will continue our
efforts to see if the applet with new features works across a spectrum
of Browsers and JREs. If the applets linked form this page fail on your
system, please bear with us. The old animation applets for Sanskrit and
Tamil are still available and should work.
the new Applet
Given below is a screen
shot of the applet. When the page with the applet loads, no animation will
be present. You select the akshara to be animated through a mouse click
and a subsequent click on the animate button. The rate of animation can
be controlled by repeatedly clicking on the faster or slower buttons. It
is possible that the hear button lets you hear the akshara but this may
not work on all systems. Please use the alternate method given in the page.
Unlike the old applet, the new one will draw the akshara once and stop.
Scrolling the page up or down will result in the akshara getting redrawn.