Yes, Raised Dot Computing is now joining this delightful discussion.
Raised Dot Computing has been producing braille translators since 1982. Our
main product, MegaDots, is the world's most advanced braille translator.
Yes, MegaDots does read HTML files. It reads over 140 different file
formats. We have very recently upgraded the support for HTML files. We
invite all MegaDots owners who are part of this list to contact us and ask
for version 1.5c (August 9, 1996). We are very interested in giving top
support to HTML files.
One of the goals of this edition is to allow a "perfect round trip" when
you export to HTML and then import that back to MegaDots. While not perfect
at present, it now works pretty well. When totally perfected, this gambit
will allow a MegaDots file exported to HTML to work as an archive file.
When unique MegaDots markup is exported into HTML, it is converted into an
HTML comment. When that file is imported into MegaDots, it is reconstructed
with all of the unique aspects of the MegaDots file.
When you import an HTML file into MegaDots, some HTML markup becomes the
corresponding MegaDots markup--for the different levels of headings,
regular paragraphs, lists, and text marked with italics, bold, or
underlining. Most other HTML markup is turned into MegaDots comments
(hidden text), so that it does not affect the braille output. When the
MegaDots file is exported back into HTML, the MegaDots comments are
likewise turned back into HTML commands. This second form of round trip is
not yet as "clean" as the first kind.
As has been noted by others, MegaDots knows about web links. When the HTML
markup of a web link is imported into MegaDots, it is turned into a unique
MegaDots markup which contains all the information needed to execute the
link. MegaDots uses that information to execute links within a group of
files in the current directory. Since MegaDots is not a web browser, you
need to first import a group of related files into MegaDots. For example,
there are about 25 MegaDots files that make up the RDC web material. We use
these files to test out the links between files all within MegaDots.
At the present time, when a link is translated into braille, the web
address is not shown. We are planning on adding a choice to our Translation
Setup screen that asks "show web addresses". If you answer yes, then the
braille would show the word link: followed by the web address in CBC
followed by the marked text, surrounded by a set of double parentheses. We
welcome comments about that plan.
A few months ago, we added a feature that automatically turns E-mail and
web addresses into CBC braille. There is no need to mark these items
We welcome any comments from braille users about features of braille that
they like which are not part of the official rules. For example, many
braille readers like outlines done with different levels of hanging indent,
even though the literary braille rules call for a different format to save
space. In MegaDots 1.5c we have a new style sheet called INFORMAL which
incorporates this, and could incorporate many other requests and ideas.
Another innovation is the "fold line" feature, which automatically places
lines across the braille page for folding braille letters without messing
up the braille. We always welcome suggestions on other ways we can make
braille more useful for you and easier to produce.
Meanwhile, progress continues on our math project. We are working on a TeX
importer. When finished, we will be able to directly import TeX files and
make good Nemeth braille in one simple step.
Check out our web page at //www.well.com/user/dnavy
-- Caryn Navy and David Holladay
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