Using the Internet to collaborate on a dictionary

Author John Hatton

Get yourself a Account

Go to Language Depot and create yourself an account.

Please don’t use the same password you use for anything important… WeSay is NOT going to be careful about keeping your password well-hidden.

Get a Project for the Language

Write to  Please provide the following information:

  • The name of the account you created in the previous step
  • The name of the project.  Normally, the name of the language works well for this.
  • The ISO 639-3 code for the language.  Easiest way to find that is via the Ethnologue.

We will do three things:

1) Create the language project

2) Give you manager permissions on that project.  With those permissions, you will be able to assign additional contributors to the project, and turn features of the web site on and off.

3) Create a contributor account name “____Contributor” (with your code where the blanks are).

People you have not added to the project will not be able to access your data.  However, we wouldn’t pretend to promise any real “security”.  If you need that, it’s perfectly ok to use a Mercurial server somewhere else… you aren’t tied to

Unless you tell us otherwise, we’ll assume it is ok for us to occasionally look at the files in your repository project for the purpose of fixing a problem for you or seeing how the collaboration features are being used in real projects.

Make sure you backup the WeSay project before embarking on any major change like this.

Get the Data Together

It’s important that there is a single, up-to-date copy of the dictionary when you first put it up on Language Depot.  If there is currently only a  single person working on the dictionary, you need to get their project, and delete the project from their computer.  That does two good things: ensures they don’t keep working on it, and ensures that they will be using the proper version of the project later.

If there are multiple copies of the dictionary out there, you need to do that for each one of them.  That is, get the project, remove it from their computer.  You have an extra step in this case, which is to merge the entries together.  Read these instructions on merging LIFT files.

Get the Most Recent Version of WeSay

The stuff shown here requires version 0.7 of WeSay, or greater.  Get the latest on the WeSay Downloads Page.

Push the project up to LanguageDepot

Ok, once you have a single dictionary folder with the whole team’s data, it’s time to do the initial push up to LanguageDepot.

First, run the Configuration Tool, and Open your project.

Go to “Actions”, and scroll until you see Send/Receive:

Click that button with the two arrows, and you should see:

Now click “Set Up”, and fill in the account details from the email you received from us.

Click “OK”.  Now, the Internet button becomes available, labeled with the name of the server you will be synchronizing with.

Notice that the “Set Up” button disappeared. This is intentional.  We want to decrease the chance that a user will accidentally mess up his/her ability to do a send/receive by messing up their account information. Therefore, once set up, WeSay hides that Set Up button.  Notice that hovering over the button reveals the trick for getting it back, if you really need to change your account settings:

Click “Internet”, and if all your account settings are correct, your project will be pushed up to the LanguageDepot server.

Pull the project down to the computers of your colleagues

Run the WeSay Configuration Tool, and click “Get From Internet”:

As before, we enter the account information:

And click Download.

Pull the project down to the computers of the rest of the team

Now do the same for each member of the team.  It’s fine to reuse the same “___Contributor” account for each of them… just make sure that their Windows/Linux account names are unique, as that is what will be used to keep track of who did what when you look at the project history.

Begin Collaborating

You’ll notice a Send/Receive button now shows up on the dashboard:

Clicking it there will show a dialog like this:

Clicking “Internet” starts the synchronization:

Note: when WeSay detects that some changes were pulled down from the internet, it closes down and restarts itself so that it has a nice clean start with the new data.