Saturday, November 25, 2017

Call for More Free Multilingual Layouts and Dictionaries

So with the recent feature-loaded weekly release of Plover, we now have support for plugins, including the ability to add new steno keyboard layouts and protocols. This finally allows us to support non-English stenographic systems. Benoit implemented MIDI support, which opens the door for Italian steno using the Michela system. We've had other people stepping forward recently with dictionaries and layout plugins for Portuguese and Chinese. Now would be a great time for other multilingual stenographers to put their oar in. We've had a ton of interest in German steno, but apart from Stan Sakai's English layout German dictionary (which is mostly intended for captioning entry level German language classes), I don't believe any free German dictionaries have made their way to open steno. We've also had substantial interest in Korean, Norwegian, Russian, and Polish. I know many of these languages have machine steno theories that haven't yet been made computer-compatible, so they'd probably require a fair amount of work to get into working order, but consider this a challenge! I'm so glad and grateful that we can finally support an international steno community in the OSP, and can't wait to see what will happen next.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Plover Weekly released with plugins!

The future of Plover is now released into the wild. With a plugins manager, we open up the ability to download extra features that before would never make it into the official Plover release. Lots of cool widgets and doo-dads to extend functionality, along with support for rare hardware, speedometers, and support for other languages, potentially. It’s like an App Store for Plover, just open the plugins manager to get new plugins today.
The release is a beta but you can still feel free to grab it. Check out the changelog below.

Plover v4.0.0.dev5+9.gba958374

Warning: Version 4 is a major change and the configuration file it creates is not compatible with Plover 3 or earlier. Please backup your plover.cfg



Plugins manager showing a list of plugins that are installed and can be installed
Screenshot of the new plugins manager (background image source)
  • with a new plugins manager, install, list, update, and remove plugins from within Plover!
  • new supported plugins:
    • Enable, disable, and reorder your dictionaries using strokes.
    • Interactive wizard to build up your dictionaries from a text article or list of words.
    • Use an Italian Stentura machine with Plover.
    • Use a MIDI piano or a dedicated MIDI machine like Michela with Plover. For keyboard makers: MIDI is a great protocol option with lots of keys and is easier to implement than some serial protocols.
    • Plugins Manager (installed by default)
      Find, install, update, and remove plugins for Plover.
    • .py dictionaries are pure functions that map a set of chords to a translation. A better alternative to scripting the creation of dictionaries for anyone who knows Python.
    • Treal (installed by default)
      Use the Treal steno machine (the code was moved out of Plover and into a plugin).
    • Control VLC media player playback using strokes.
    • Control monitor brightness on Windows.
    • Speedometer widgets that show your typing speed and strokes-per-second.
  • support for custom machine configuration widgets

User Interface

  • new icon for read-only dictionaries
  • show a “reload” icon while dictionaries are being loaded
  • outdated dictionaries are automatically reloaded on configuration change (e.g. when clicking the machine reconnect button)
  • improve lookup: strip spaces from lookup, improve and fix display (correctly show translations containing HTML markup)
  • improve suggestions: only suggest on new/modified text, rework word splitting (e.g. if “full-release” is entered, suggestions for “release” will be shown too)
  • improve keymap configuration widget to be easier to use
  • add support for creating new dictionaries

Main Dictionary

  • cleanup main dictionary: remove legacy Eclipse TPHR-BG entries, remove redundant entries
  • dictionary has some additions and changes thanks to community feedback from issue 400, significant changes are outlined here.


  • the AppImage can now be installed/uninstalled
  • drop the need for wmctrl


  • don’t suppress keyup events created by Plover, which improves compatibility with some applications when using a Keyboard as a steno machine.


  • keyboard: fix a number of edge cases / bugs
  • rework keymap configuration widget
  • formatting rework: consistent output with both space placement settings, better handling retro-case commands


  • drop Python 2 support
  • update Python version to 3.6
  • update PyQt5 version to latest LTS: 5.9
  • export utils as plover_build_utils so it’s available for plugins development

Installation Guide

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Consolidated Page of GitHub Plover Repos

This might not be news to some people, but I was surprised and delighted to learn that Plover appears as a topic on GitHub, allowing various Plover-related repos from many different authors to appear on a single page:

This seems like it would be helpful for both potential users and potential contributors to these projects, and it's also cool to be able to get sort of a snapshot of the Plover ecosystem as it currently stands. Thanks to lead dev Ted for pointing it out on the Discord yesterday.