Yamli’s competition and GMail mu3arrab

April 30, 2009

So the last post caught Habib Haddad of Yamli’s attention. Which brought his twitter feed to my attention. Which led me to this article from Flip Media. Which led me to realize that in addition to two other yamli competitors, Google already has their own ta3reeb. I still love yamli – and their search component is as great as the keyboard aspect. Still I’d love to spark some competition between them for inclusion of characters from other Arabic-based scripts and some of the presentation forms.

Now, about the competitors:

  1. Google’s ta3reeb: I guess the existence of this makes it more likely to be integrated everywhere, on the heels of (maybe even within, like I dreamed in the last post) the Indic scripts gadget. It also makes it less likely that Google will acquire Yamli. Insha’ Allah, those guys will get rich anyhow.
    At present, though, note that this means I don’t have to give my contact list to anyone who doesn’t already have it. The URL for adding this gadget to GMail is http://www.google.com/ig/modules/arabic_transliteration.xml.
    Ta3reeb responds more quickly than yamli but in a choppy and not altogether useful way. If you’ve used word completion you can understand how over-responsiveness is not always conducive to efficiency.
    Now, why haven’t Google added this in the Language options on GMail? There is—as you might expect—a Google Group where you can go and pester them about all of your hopes and dreams.
  2. Eiktub has a Windows Notepad-like editor you can download, in addition to the on-screen keyboard. The behavior is a little bit different than Yamli or ta3reeb – there’s no drop down suggesting completions. I did not test the app, though it looks nice for what it is. It could stand as a Windows substitute for Katoob. Really the only app I switch to Windows for is InPage. So this might be redundant. I will try it, eventually, though. Tashkil in the web interface is a nice touch, though it seems to eat the fathas on lin vowels. They lose points on the “openness” scale, though.
  3. The last of these is Onkush. This is really the least effective – or rather the only ineffective – of the online dynamic keyboards. My “hello world” for testing these is to type “salam.” Onkush is the only one that defaulted to سالم. I don’t really know how the weighting is done in the others, but this is a bit of a failure. The interface also takes a long time to do the analysis and conversion, and seems to freeze with too many backspaces. It is interesting that they have pages for different types of search like Google. Though I’m not sure about their default set of pics on the image search page.
    Onkush was the only one of these where I started to fire up Firebug and look at how it was working. I knew when I started that it would crash my browser, and it did.

Now if any of these were Open Source projects, I would put up a bounty for expanding the character set, or do it myself. I’m sure an entire free replacement might be doable as well, to which I would probably be willing to contribute my time, so-so JavaScript skills, or maybe even money. Anyone interested? Does such a project already exist? I always seem to fall behind on these sorts of developments and have to catch up once a year or so. (As evidenced by the fact that either I didn’t know about ta3reeb or just forgot.)

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3 Responses to “Yamli’s competition and GMail mu3arrab”

  1. Leb Says:

    There is also http://yoolki.com/editor/ which keeps working even if disconnected form the internet after you visit the page (so you have no privacy concerns)

  2. iqag Says:

    Someday I may elaborate, but I’ll just say that yoolki is great. It’s a real toss up between yamli and yoolki for overall best of breed.


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