Dec 312011
 

PinyinTypistv2.jpg

HTML-formatted e-mail sent from Pinyin Typist 2.0

Pinyin Typist by TroubadorWorks (originally reviewed in this post) has gotten a significant update. To quickly recap, the app’s main function is as a writing pad that allows you to input pinyin with proper tone marks quickly and easily; after typing a syllable, just tap the appropriate number key on the customized keyboard and the tone mark is added in the proper position for that syllable.

The update brings a slew of new features.

The first big feature is the ability to style text with HTML tags or Markdown syntax. For HTML, both the older, “presentational” tags (like <i> and <b>) and the newer, “structural” tags (like <em> and <strong>) work. If you paste your tagged text into an app that can interpret html, it will be rendered correctly. The lines below were typed and tagged in Pinyin Typist and then copied into the WordPress iOS app.

zuótiān wǒ bāng nǚ’ér qù yī jiā chāoshì mǎi kělè, xīfàn, dòupí.

zuótiān wǒ bāng nǚ’ér qù yī jiā chāoshì mǎi kělè, xīfàn, dòupí.

This is also great for sending HTML-formatted e-mail. In this case, you’ll want to use the “Email text” option from Pinyin Typist’s action button. The iOS Mail app will render the styled text, as in this image.

Be sure to read the Info within Pinyin Typist for other ways to use its formatting features.

PinyinTypist 2.0 using "Noteworthy" font

Second, a new export option has been added: in addition to being able to copy or e-mail your text from the app, you can now tweet directly from Pinyin Typist. It ties into iOS 5′s Twitter support, so you can choose to tweet from any of the accounts you have enabled in your iOS Settings. This should be extremely welcome to educators; since you can also use any of the built-in iOS keyboards with Pinyin Typist, you can easily include both hanzi and pinyin in your tweets. The app automatically truncates your text to the 140-character Twitter limit.

Third, the settings now offer a large choice of fonts. Note that this choice seems only to apply to display within Pinyin Typist. Text exported from the app is not formatted with the selected font. I was pleasantly surprised at how many fonts in iOS support all the tone marks.

Finally, a “Night Theme” has been added that flips the display to light grey text on a black background.

Pinyin Typist was a great app in version 1 (please see the initial review for the original features) and version 2 is even better. I think it’s essential for students and teachers of Chinese, or anyone who works with pinyin in iOS. Pinyin Typist – TroubadourWorks is available at the Pinyin Typist - TroubadourWorks.

  2 Responses to “iOS app update: Pinyin Typist 2.0”

  1. Thanks for the new post re Pinyin Typist 2.0!

    Be sure to read the Info within Pinyin Typist for other ways to use its formatting features.

    Information on using Pinyin Typist to produce formatted pinyin text can also be found on the Pinyin Typist official web page at this subheading: Pinyin Text With Formatting

    Text exported from the app is not formatted with the selected font.

    Selecting the font in the Settings tab view in Pinyin Typist only sets what font will be used for display in the Pinyin Typing tab view in Pinyin Typist. When exporting to apps that support XHTML / HTML / CSS / Markdown code, the following code can be used to make the exported text display with your desired font when rendered, as long as the target system supports your desired font (this example uses Times New Roman):

    <span style=”font-family: ‘Times New Roman’”>
    [your pīnyīn, etc. text]
    </span>

    More info on the available CSS font properties can be found here.

    I was pleasantly surprised at how many fonts in iOS support all the tone marks.

    Apple has been gradually improving this over time. Future versions of iOS will likely have even more fonts that fully support the pinyin tone marks.

    I think it’s essential for students and teachers of Chinese, or anyone who works with pinyin in iOS.

    I agree!

    Happy pinyin typing, everyone!

    Wayne Wong
    TroubadourWorks
    Developer of Pinyin Typist

  2. For an example of how the natural typing technique used in Pinyin Typist makes it suitable for use on even long form works in Pinyin, see this Pinyin version of David Moser’s classic essay, “Why Chinese Is So…Hard”, which was produced with the help of Pinyin Typist:

    Why Chinese Is So…Hard—Pīnyīn Version

    Wayne Wong
    TroubadourWorks
    Developer of Pinyin Typist

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