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Japanska.se gets a new look

and a new backend as well!

olof Apr 13 2012 Django

Way back in 2006, Japanska.se was written by me as an interface to a Japanese-Swedish dictionary that my brother had created in a research project. Over time it got some nice features such as user editing of words, but then saw a long time of neglect when there was no time to update it. By 2012 it had gotten quite old and outdated, so when I finally found the time I rewrote it using more modern technology. Now, the new version is ready for your eyes!

Originally it was written in raw PHP without using any framework, and it was quite hard to maintain. The new version is instead redone in the lovely Python framework Django. All in all, it took about two weeks to write the new version, though some functionality that was rarely used was dropped. There's still some stuff left to do, but it's good enough to start using it, so yesterday I switched over to the new version.

The frontend is also totally redone. It is based on the CSS framework Twitter Bootstrap, and has a much more modern look than the old site. Hopefully it should be more readable and the focus is now on the content itself. The layout is responsive, which means it should work well on different screen sizes such as phones and tablets as well as desktops.

As a bonus, I released a small Django module with some convenient functions for handling Japanese text that I needed. It has functions for checking if a string is in Japanese, converting between hiragana, katakana and romaji, etc. You can find it as django-kana on my Github page.

It was a pleasure to work with Django, and it should be much easier to maintain and add functionality from now on.

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