Bengali input methods
Bengali input methods refer to different systems developed to type Bengali language characters using a typewriter or a computer keyboard.
- 1 Fixed computer layouts
- 2 Phonetic computer layouts
- 3 Mobile phone layouts
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Fixed computer layouts
With the advent of graphical user interfaces and word processing in the 1980s, a number of computer typing systems for Bengali were created. Most of these were originally based on Apple Macintosh systems.
This keyboard layout is designed in order to type all the indic scripts with a uniform layout on computer. This layout is officially accepted by Microsoft Corporation and is provided by default in their Windows operating system. This layout is mainly popular in India.
Saif Shahida initiated the development of the first "first complete Bangla computing interface", including a computer Bengali keyboard layout, in 1983. A complete Mac-based system was marketed in 1985 from Beximco Computers.
A free Unicode-based Bengali fixed layout. Probhat is included in almost all Linux OS(s). Its key mapping is similar to Phonetic pattern but typing method is fully Fixed.
Ananda Computers, owned by Mustafa Jabbar marketed the Bijoy keyboard layout in 1988. This was the most popular keyboard layout in Bangladesh in the 1990s. Bijoy is a proprietary, ASCII-based Bengali input software and requires purchase of a license to use on every computer.
The free Unicode/ANSI-based Akkhor Keyboard has support for Akkhor Phonetic, National (Jatiyo) fixed keyboard layout. It also has keyboard customization options.
Support for National (Jatiyo), Munir, Probhat, Rupali, Incript and UniJoy fixed keyboard layouts is available in free Unicode/ANSI-based Shabdik software.
Phonetic computer layouts
Akkhor Bangla Software, developed by Khan Md. Anwarus Salam, was first released on 1 January 2003 for free. Akkhor implemented first Bengali transliteration system for Bengali. The free Unicode/ANSI-based Akkhor Keyboard has support for Akkhor Phonetic, National (Jatiyo) fixed keyboard layouts. Akkhor also provided customization feature for designing fixed keyboard layouts. It provides Keyboard Manager which works system wide and also provide independent Akkhor Word processor.
Avro Keyboard, developed by Mehdi Hasan Khan, was first released on 26 March 2003 for free. It facilitates both fixed and phonetic layouts. Avro phonetic allows a user to write Bengali by typing the phonetic formation of the words in English language keyboards. It is the most popular and widely used Bengali input system especially by the diaspora who do not have access to a physical Bengali keyboard.
On April 2010, the Avro Keyboard faced a conflict with Bijoy.
Shabdik is a free software from IECB that has both fixed keyboard layout and phonetic support.
Google Bengali Transliteration
There is a free transliteration web site and software package for Bengali scripts from google.
Microsoft Bengali Transliteration
Along with other Indic languages, Microsoft has web based and desktop transliteration support for Bengali.
Bangla-অঙ্কুর (onkur), developed by S. M. Raiyan Kabir, was first released on 30 March 2011 as an open source software. It facilitates only phonetic typing in Macintosh platform. Bangla-onkur phonetic allows a user to write Bengali by typing the phonetic formation of the words in English language keyboards. This is the first phonetic input method developed for Mac OS X.
This is an m17n library which provides the Saon Bengali input method for touch typing in Bengali on Linux systems and the project was registered by its creator, Saoni at SourceForge.net on 08 Jul 2012. This free and open source IM is Unicode 6.1 compliant in terms of both normalization and number of keystrokes used to input a single character. Saon Bengali enables touch typing so if a user can type in English, they wont have to look at the keyboard to type in Saon Bengali. It is also phonetic and has something in common with all Bengali phonetic layouts making the transition smooth for new users. As of Jul 2012 it not yet a part of the m17n-contrib which allows installation of all m17n contribbed libraries through Linux's software channels and it may be too early to say whether it will be incorporated. This depends firstly on its author and then if it is offered to m17n then probably on m17n. The m17n IM engine currently works with IBus inter alia on Linux. The copyright notice on Saon says, "You can redistribute this and/or modify it under the GNU LGPL 2.1 or later"
Mobile phone layouts
There are also softwares for users for typing Bengali on mobile phones ans smartphones.
Ridmik Keyboard (রিদ্মিক কীবোর্ড), is the input system with advanced UI and also most popular input system for Android users. Users can type in Bengali (in both Unijoy (ইউনিজয়) and National (জাতীয়) layouts), phonetic Bengali and English. It also comes with lots of smileys. Features like Cut, Copy, Paste by long pressing on X, C, V are unique.
Mayabi Bangla Keyboard is the first on screen Bengali soft keyboard for Android platform with phonetic support released on March 18, 2011. This is first version of Mayabi Bengali Keyboard with phonetic input support only. Later on new version Mayabi Keyboard released on October 29, 2011 with both phonetic input support and fixed keyboard layout. The fixed keyboard layout was made after lot of analysis on frequency of character appearance in Bengali scripts. Most frequent characters are placed on normal(non-shifted) layout and remaining others placed on shifted key layout that people can write fast with less key presses. Bengali word dictionary with almost 250000 words of most frequent words from Bengali scripts included with the keyboard as well for word prediction. This keyboard is widely accepted by the android users and Internet community.
- An amazing journey from Shahid Lipi to Avro, Sayeed Ahamed, The Daily Star, April 28, 2010.
- "Shabdik". IECB. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "Google Transliteration". google.com. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "Microsoft Indic Language Input Tool". Microsoft. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
- "Saon project at SourceForge.net". Saon Bengali input method.