Definitions

compatible software

History of Sinhala Software

Sinhala language software for computers have been present since the late 1980s (Samanala written in C) but no standard character representation system was put in place which resulted in proprietary character representation systems and fonts. In awake of this CINTEC (Computer and Information Technology Council of Sri Lanka) introduced Sinhala within the UNICODE (16bit character technology) standard.

Timeline

1985 – CINTEC establishes a committee for the use of Sinhala & Tamil in Computer Technology.

1st generation of software products

1988 -"Super77" First trilingual word processor (DOS based) initially developed at "Super Bits Computer Systems" katunayake and further improved up to the commercial level at IFS kandy (Under Prof. Cyril Ponnamperuma). Later it was named as "THIBUS Trilingual Software System" (Windows based)

1989 – “WadanTharuwa” (means WordStar in Sinhala) developed by the university of Colombo. It was one of the first commercial Sinhala word processing software products. (Gives inspiration to a new generation of developers to pursue further innovation in this field.)

1995 – Sarasavi, also developed by the University of Colombo is a new version of WadanTharuwa, the first Trilingual software of its kind.

1994/1996 – Samanala Transliteration Scheme developed by Prasad Dharmasena. First ever Sinhala-English transliteration scheme of its kind. Signals a new era of Sinhala language solutions.

1995/96 – Thibus for Windows developed by Science Land (Pvt) Ltd. The most successful commercial software. Also includes the first Sinhala/English/Tamil dictionary and word by word translation technology.

1997 – Helewadana for Windows developed by Microimage (Pvt) Ltd and Harsha Punasinghe. The most notable competition to Thibus during that time. Provides almost every functionality provided in Thibus.

2nd Generation

1998 – SLS1134/Unicode standards released by CINTEC for the first time.

1999 – SinWord developed by Niranjan Meegamanna and becomes popular among the internet users and the font aKandyNew becomes the web standard font. The software supports both Phonetic and Wijesekara keyboards.

2000 – Thibus and Helawadana release the new versions of their successful products. The new versions have the transliteration technology built in. (Very primitive stages of transliteration)

2004 – Sinhala Text Box developed by Dasith Wijesiriwardena, a light weight word processor which supports publishing web pages to the internet and supports almost all the existing Fonts and Keyboards. One of the major draw backs being the lack of support for Unicode. Wins best software awards at CSITTS (Peradeniya University) 2003 and in Digital Fusion (APIIT) 2004.

3rd Generation (Unicode ERA)

2005 – Helewadana Nawayugaya a fully Unicode compatible software solution. Takes advantage of developments of Windows and Linux and the new SLS1134 standard. Also integrates its Helawadana ME for mobile devices.

2006 – Sinhala SP for Windows developed by Native Innovation (Pvt) Ltd is a more complete software solution to its predecessor Sinhala Text Box. Its developer (Dasith Wijesiriwardena) invents a new technology by the name of “FutureSinhala” which acts as a bridge between the proprietary fonts/keyboards and the new Unicode/SLS1134 standard. It has another technology aka “Singlish” which takes full advantage of Sinhala-English transliteration. Considered the most complete and technically sound commercial software solution.

2007 and Beyond

In order to provide the instructions on installation of Sinhala Unicode and provide the required software to the users, ICTA with the support of UCSC established www.fonts.lk. The servers and software for the site was provided free of charge by UCSC. ICTA developed 3 more websites in 2007 in order to extend the support provided by www.fonts.lk in local languages. While www.emadumilihal.lk provides information and software for using Tamil Unicode, www.locallanguages.lk provides information and software for using both Sinhala and Tamil Unicode.

References

  • http://www.locallanguages.lk/history

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