Sign Writing

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If you're looking at this page and you're not a developer, you probably want the user pages for SignWriter, swDrill, or swLib. If you want to learn more about SignWriting, you want, the main SignWriting site. Except for a shared interest in encouraging the use of SignWriting, we are unaffiliated with that site.

In brief, SignWriting® is a graphical alphabet for describing gestural languages, such as American Sign Language in the US and other sign languages for the deaf elsewhere. If you're unfamiliar with SignWriting, try's introductory lesson which includes a number of SignWriting symbols to give you a feel for it.


The swApps project is a set of open source™ cross-platform applications that use and display SignWriting symbols. One set of applications uses the Java Virtual Machine as its cross-platform basis. Another set of applications is built on a common library (swLib) which uses the free wxWindows cross-platform application framework for displaying images and providing interaction.

The swApps strategy is to develop a library of useful routines (for example, display a symbol, pick a symbol from a dictionary, and compose glyphs into a symbol). Applications can then be created quickly by building on this set of routines.

Latest News

  • Jun 20, 2003 Bug Tracker for SignWriter Java is up
    A bug tracker for SignWriter Java, using Bugzilla 1.16.3 as a basis, is now running. Not everything works yet (and the charts may never work until the new version of Bugzilla is available), but most of the functionality is there. If there are any problems, contact Greg Noel, or, even better, add it as a bug against the Bug Tracker product.
  • Jun 10, 2003 Tinderbox for SignWriter Java is up
    A tinderbox for SignWriter Java is now running. At the moment, there's only one application with only one branch being run on only three platforms, but eventually we can hope to improve each category.
  • Jun 5, 2003 SignWriter Java now in CVS
    The Java version of SignWriter (5.0) was being developed privately. After a long development hiatus, the existing Java code has been released for open-source development. It's currently in a pre-beta state, but many of the features are present. The source has been placed in CVS.

Join Us!

To make sure that the swApps project continues to evolve, we need your help. That's the nature of Open Source projects.

To help, you don't have to be deaf, or have any expertise in SignWriting. You don't even have to be a programmer. You can write documentation, test applications, translate applications into other languages, or even donate hardware. If you're interested in helping us, please look here.

These pages are maintained and copyright © 2000-2008 by Greg Noel.
Any suggestions or comments are welcome.
SignWriting® is a registered mark of the Center for Sutton Movement Writing, Inc.
This page regenerated Sat Feb 2 21:39:52 PST 2008