Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm developing an advanced WordPress Plugin called Glypheer to display hieroglyphs as I mentioned in an earlier post.  Completing it is going to take some time so, as a bonus for those who are waiting, I have developed a simpler plugin which I have called WP-Hiero.

I'm working on a site to host the plugins and I'll write a proper user guide but for now there is a rough first page on my new site.  I'll add content to the site over the next couple of months.  (This isn't the site I am working on with Andie but it's useful to have a site which uses things like the same theme so that I can test them out on something similar.)

I wrote the core of WP-Hiero in a morning and added cadrat groups and text direction after lunch so you'll gather it's not terribly advanced but it can manage simple Manuel de Codage parsing like D40-D54-r-k-r-Dd-d-w-niwt  The biggest known deficiency is that it cannot display cartouches.  Glypheer can display cartouches.  I may add cartouches to WP-Hiero but it's not easy to do so I am undecided at present.  I also don't pretend layout is perfect - this is a plugin whose target is "good enough for casual use"

It's very new so there may be problems but I've reached the stage at which the only way to find out is to put it out there.  It's convinced me though that I really ought to learn to read simple hieroglyphics.

The plugin uses the NewGardiner font by Mark-Jan Nederhof.  The font is only licensed for domestic, personal and academic use.  If you want to use the plugin for commercial purposes, you'll need permission from Mark-Jan.  I suspect I haven't encoded every glyph so if you find something missing, I'll add it to the next version.


 I'd love to extend the plugin to use the Aegyptus font and make the full set of glyphs available.  It should be possible but I have hit a snag.  I need to do what Mark-Jan has done with NewGardiner and rebase the entire Aegyptus font and convert it into a TTF.  I've tried to do it but I'm having problems with Font Forge.  If anybody is able to convert Aegytus for me then I'd be very grateful because I am stuck - please contact me if you can help.

Once I can get Aegyptus working, I'm intending a third plugin which concentrates on getting precise spacing for things like ligatures. 

Three Hieroglyphic Plugins?

I know, it seems strange, but there is a reason.  I started Glypheer using images for the glyphs.  That has some advantages but images are problematic when it comes to overlaying images.  Ultimately the only way to get a precise layout is to use a font.  I initially thought that was impossible but WP-Hiero proves it can be done. It is also tiny.  I like Glypheer for things like the colored glyphs though.  I can also easily add any other sets of glyph images I can find.  WP-Hiero and Glypheer also use totally different algorithms.  They have taught me the limitations of both recursion (WP_Hiero) and iteration (Glypheer).

Between them though I have everything I need to write the parser and plugin I really want to create.


Mark-Jan Nederhof said...

Thank you for your interest in my NewGardiner font. Rebasing of the Aegyptus font I did already. You can download the TTF from the same page where I offer the NewGardiner font.

As to use of hieroglyphs in web pages, I think a better solution is that the author of a web page uses a tool to convert hieroglyphic encoding to images. This is what I implemented at:

Regrettably, at the moment I only have an implementation for Linux. If a programmer has some spare time on their hands, a Mac-based or Windows-based solution should not be hard to come up with. It is a matter of a few scripts calling existing software in Java that converts encodings to images.

The encoding I use is not Manuel de Codage, which is an outdated monstrosity, but the Revised Encoding Scheme introduced at:

I hope this is of some help.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Thanks Mark-Jan, I've replied by email.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,
Could you please send me the download link of the wordpress plugin?

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