The most prominent changes in this release are the introduction of a new JASigning applet, the SiGML Player Applet, the introduction of an installation-wide avatars configuration properties file, and some improvements in the robustness and consistency of JASigning GUI components. The change list gives further details.
JASigning is a software system for scripted performance of sign language animations by a virtual human, or avatar. The scripting language used to define these animations is SiGML (Signing Gesture Markup Language).
SiGML is an XML application language, derived from HamNoSys, the sign language notation system developed at the University of Hamburg.
JASigning is based on work undertaken at UEA in conjunction with our partners in the ViSiCAST and eSIGN projects. It is an alternative to the Avatar Plugin software released at the end of the eSIGN project. One important difference is that JASigning runs on Mac OS X as well as Windows.
JASigning is a combination of
Java software with supporting native libraries.
So, to run JASigning a computer system must have the
software, version 5 or later, installed on it.
(Java is pre-installed on all Mac OS X systems, and on many Windows systems.)
The standard method of accessing a JASigning application or applet is via Java Web Start using JNLP, the Java Network Launch Protocol. For example:
SiGML URL Player
An application providing avatars that can perform a sign language sequence given a URL link to its SiGML definition.
SiGML Service Player
An application whose avatars perform SiGML sign language sequences delivered via a TCP/IP connection.
An application that acts as a client for the SiGML Service Player: it allows SiGML files to be loaded, edited, and transimitted to a local or remote instance of the Service Player.
Instead of accessing a JASigning application via Java Web Start, it is possible to use a conventional Web browser to access a JASigning applet in an HTML page.
JASigning currently uses the experimental JNLP Applet Launcher, allowing signing applets to be used in a Web browser without any prior installation of the native libraries that JASigning uses.
N.B. On a MS Windows system, depending on the Java version and graphics drivers in use, in order to use JASigning applets the user may need to adjust the system's Java Applet Runtime Parameters to use OpenGL graphics -- instructions for doing this are given below.
SiGML Player Applet
which plays SiGML text which is supplied by the user, either explicitly via an HTML text area or via a URL entered in an HTML text field. The user can switch avatars using an HTML menu.
Note that the first time a JASigning applet is started, there is likely to be a noticeable delay while the supporting software libraries are downloaded and cached locally.
Note also that some Java versions require all HTML applets
used in a given browser session to be loaded by a single class loader.
A precondition for this is that the
archive attribute in
applet tag should specify precisely the same list of jars
(including embedded punctuation/whitespace, apparently).
Open the standard Java Control Panel, select the Java tab, and click the Java Applet Runtime Settings button. Then edit the Java Runtime Parameters field for the standard JRE so that it includes the following parameter definitions, separated by a space character:
JASigning is a collection of software libraries which support virtual human signing applications, together with a few demonstrator applications and applets.
So the JASigning libraries can be used to develop new applications and applets as alternatives to the demonstrators provided. To support this there is some rudimentary JASigning developer's documentation.