A blog about tech, travel and society

14 Feb 2006

Writing in Bangla has never been easier!

Typing in Bangla has never been easier! The latest version of Avro Keyboard – the robust and versatile Unicode-compliant Bangla writing software – supports phonetic typing. For example, if I type ami banglay gan gai in English I get the corresponding Bangla text! Avro Keyboard 3, free to download and use, has really surpassed all of our expectations and dreams. Why should I use Avro? I have seen many of my friends eager to type in Bangla – the language of our hearts – but they think that it is something not feasible and difficult to achieve. But it is not so if you have Avro installed on your computer. Using Avro is child’s play, nothing difficult or anything technical. So what are you waiting for? Go, grab it! How to use Avro? 1. DOWNLOAD Avro Keyword from Omicron Lab or from the Downloads section of my site. 2. INSTALL it on your computer 3. Now to see the Bangla script properly you have to INSTALL SUPPORT FOR COMPLEX SCRIPT for which you will need the installation CD of your Windows operating system. If you don’t do it, you will still be able to see Bangla text but the vowels will be all jumbled up. In fact, you have to install this for proper viewing of all Indian languages as well, including Hindi. Windows XP users: Go to Control Panel, Regional and Language Options. In the Language tab, select Install files for complex script and right-to-left languages (including Thai). Click Ok. You may have to restart your computer. (see screenshot) Windows 2000 users: Go to Control Panel, Regional Options. In the General tab, see the Language settings for the system. Select Indic from the list. Click Ok. You may have to restart your computer. (see screenshot) 4. There is no 4th step. :D Fire up Avro and START TYPING. Should you have any query, feel free to ask in the Omicronlab Forum. Avro Keyboard 3 toolbar Why do I see on sites like Google, BBC Bangla, Wikipedia that the vowels are all jumbled up? Yes, this is true. ‘Gobindo’ will read as ‘Gobondi’ if your Windows does not have support for complex script. To solve this you will have to follow step 3 as mentioned above i.e. install support for complex script. Why not any other software? I have personally tried many Bangla writing software and found Avro to be the best. While there are other software like Bijoy they don’t support Unicode, instead they use ASCII encoding (surely not a choice for web-developers). Now one may wonder what is so special about Unicode. Unicode ensures that the Bangla text will be visible universally on all computers without the user having to download anything. As for example, Google, BBC, Wikipedia, Microsoft use Unicode in their sites that can be viewed without any hassle. On the other hand, Anandabazar, Aajkaal, etc. don’t use Unicode encoding. If you go to the Anandabazar site you are prompted to go through an installation at first. None of these two sites open in Firefox. (For the uninitiated, Firefox, and also Opera, are two great browsers that are said to be the choices of the geeks). May be these two newspaper sites have not opted for Unicode keeping in mind that some users still use Windows 98 that does not support Unicode (in this context I should say that Microsoft has phased out support for Windows 98 and it is now an obsolete OS), but in the long run they will have to switch to Unicode. Whatever it is, all I want to say is that if you send PMs or mails in Bangla typing with Avro then you can rest assured that your friend will be able to read it. :-) What are the system requirements? Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista or later. Earlier Windows versions do not have support for Unicode and hence are not compatible. I want to properly view Bangla sites, Bangla mails and PMs sent to me by friends. But I don’t need to write in Bangla. Do I still need to install Avro or any other Bangla software? NO. Certainly not. Any Bangla text on the web (Unicode encoding) can be universally viewed. What’s new in version 3? Many improvements have been made in this version which can be found out at this page. I am mentioning the most remarkable ones:

  1. Phonetic english to Bengali typing as I have mentioned in the very beginning of this post
  2. Full user documentation in Bangla. Cool!
  3. Mouse-based typing. Great!
  4. Support for Assamese language too.