HanziHelper uses some functionality from the Dragon Character Training application for PalmOS. Please check out this project at http://dragon-char.sf.net. Thanks a lot to the developers of this project.
If you use this application, please consider letting the developer know what you thought of it. This way, you can be sure it'll be actively maintained.
Hanzi Helper requires Java to run. Java is available for most operating systems including Windows, MacOS and Linux. You can get Java for free at http://java.com. A good way to test whether you already have java installed is to try and run the command "java -version". You need to have Java 1.4 or greater to run this application. (The Reminder app requires Java 5.)
If you downloaded hanziHelper.jar, and you have Java installed, you ought to be able to double-click on that file to run it. The first time it runs, it'll create a file called hanzihelper.properties that stores your settings. If this doesn't work, you'll need to tell your computer to run the command "javaw -jar hanziHelper.jar" from the command line or via a "shortcut".
From the main window, you can view the current list of characters. To add new characters, use File->Add from the menu or hit alt-A. You must enter Pinyin and Chinese, but the English is optional, as is the book information. Hitting enter from the English field or pressing the OK button will add your character to the list. By hitting enter, the form is reset so you can rapidly enter several characters in sequence. Pinyin entered with text tone numbers (e.g. zhong1wen2) are translated into unicode tone marks for display and printing. Similarly, Vs become ü/u: when rendered.
Entering multi-character words is ok. They will be split up on separate rows in the character view, but randomizing the list for printing will not separate the characters in a word.
When run for the first time, you'll want to create a "record" file. This is your list of characters. You can have multiple record files if you wish. To create a record file, use the "new" option from the file menu (file->new). The only files needed by the application are you character list, which is a UTF-8 encoded text file, and hanzihelper.properties, which records your settings such as paper size and fonts. You can edit these files externally if you want to.
The list can be filtered by book and chapter. Select "show filter" from the filter menu. The books available are presented as a drop-down list. Chapter information can be entered as a number, such as "3", or a range, such as "3-6". Once applied, the filter will function in the list view and for printing as well. Also, the characters can be highlighted from the main view. If any characters are highlighted, only highlighted characters will be sent to the printing part of the application. This allows you to pick a few characters or a range of characters to pring from your list. The same holds true when exporting the list.
The options have the following meanings:
Style 'one per row': A character will be printed in the left-most box only.
Style 'cram': A character will be printed in every second box, leaving room to copy it on the right.
Style 'rows': A character will be printed in every box, but only on every second row.
Style 'read': No gaps are left for copying.
The text options allow you choose whether the character itself or its pinyin or english translation is printed. Good for testing yourself.
The other options change the character of the boxes themselves or the fonts used for rendering text. Their use should be pretty straightforward.
Supermemo: This is in a text format suitable for conversion to a Supermemo for Palm OS database.
Q & A: This is a text format with questions and answers on separate lines (e.g. Q: 我, A: I). This format is good for importing into a variety of flash-card programs, such as Supermemo for Windows.
Excel XML: This creates an XML file that can be opened by Microsoft Excel. It contains a bunch of information about the character. I personally make a big binder of these, and use them to "get to know" a character when it's new to me.
Stroke images: Creates .png image files that show how to write the characters. Select a diretory.
Dragon char: Creates a .pdb binary file for use by Dragon Character Training on the Palm.
Plecodict flashcards: For importing into the PlecoDict software for PalmOS.
Simple text list: Your characters as one big long string. Useful for searching.
VTrain: Creates a text file using the default = | delimiters that can be imported into VTrain on Windows.
Reminder is packaged as a separate executable jar file. It needs to be in the same directory as hanziHelper.jar when run. Because of some features like always-on-top windows, Reminder needs Java 5 to run.
The little window will initialize in the corner of your screen, but can be dragged around. When Reminder has the focus, the following keyboard commands are enabled:
F1: Change the time interval between characters
F2: Toggle "always on top"
R: Toggle random order
Space: Start/stop the rotation
Right/left: Next/previous char
Home: First char
Reminder uses the last record file open in the main application. Optionally, you can specify a filename as a command line parameter (e.g. "java -jar reminder.jar myRecord.rec").
Thanks for using Hanzi Helper!
Version 1.0 January 2 2007
Miscellaneous improvements and bug fixes.
Added text-file conversion mini-app
When a new record is added, it should display that record propertly now
Fixed bug with paper size not set to A4 in page setup
Fixed bug where deleting a record from the sorted display deletes the record at the old, unsorted position
Extra exporting options including Excel, Vtrain, PlecoDict flash cards
Made reminder panel draggable
Version 0.9 Apr 18 2005
Java 1.4 support added back in (2 builds).
Enhanced reminder app (auto-starts rotation, characters can be taken out of rotation)
Stroke order animations added.
Records now editable.
Data files choosable and createable.
Main display table sortable.
Version 0.8 Feb 10 2005
First version of the reminder functionality works.
Fixed filtering bug when list is randomized.
Added multi-character word handling logic.
They mostly come out at night. Mostly.
Version 0.7 Oct 8 2004
Added books and chapter data to the character record.
Added ability to print without leaving gaps to practice.
Temporary fix: Added secret configuration parameter to make the guide lines lighter: set guides.color=lightgray
Record numbers are determined by order in the file instead of explicitly
Version 0.6 (2004)
Can disable header info, grid lines.
Print dialog is resizable and fits itself to screen automatically.
Print controls altered for space.
Sample data packaged with application.
Numbers removed from record file.
Can clear the record database.
Version 0.5 (2004)
HanziHelper is a Java application. To build from the sources, you need Java and Ant (http://ant.apache.org) installed. Then just run "ant" in the HH directory. The result will be build/hanziHelper.jar, which is an executable jar file. Run with "java -jar hanziHelper.jar" or double-click on its icon.