Digital Resources for Buddhist Studies

The TeXTibetan Whiteboard

Posted by billmagee on 2009/10/24

The Dharma Drum Buddhist College Tibetan Classroom in Second Life now boasts an innovative new eLearning tool: the TeXTibetan Whiteboard.

Developed on Dharma Drum Mountain by Bill Magee and Simon Wiles, the TeXTibetan Whiteboard was inspired by Professor David Wood’s SLaTeX Math Viewer, which renders LaTeX-formatted math equations from the Second Life chat-line. The TeXTibetan Whiteboard works on the same principle as the SLaTeX Math Viewer. It accepts LaTeX-formatted text directly from the chat-line — in this case, Wylie transliterated Tibetan. The Wylie text is sent to a server-side PHP script, where it is parsed into Tibetan characters and rendered as a PNG image file. The graphical image is sent back into Second Life where it can be displayed on any surface wearing the designated media texture.

LaTeX is a powerful page-formatting macro package based on the TeX processor. Currently, the TeXTibetan Whiteboard can be used to display Tibetan as well as Roman text with diacritical marks and, of course, math equations. The TeXTibetan Whiteboard’s functionality can easily be expanded to include Devanagari and Chinese fonts. If a script can be parsed by TeX, it can be installed onto the server and displayed on the TeXTibetan Whiteboard.

Here are a few examples of how to use the TexTibetan Whiteboard:

/111 \tib chos

/111 \chos

/111 \tib sangs rgyas \\ chos dang \\ mchog gi tshogs

/111 \tib sangs rgyas \\ chos dang} \\ mchog gi tshogs

/111 \tib \om ma, nxi pa\V{de}{ma} \hung

/111 \tib \om ma, nxi pa\V{de}{ma} \hung

/111 This is math: $X^{2y}$ \\ This is not: \tib rlung

/111 This is math: $X^{2y} \\ This is not: \tib rlung

A complete guide to using Tibetan with Latex exists here.

Try the TeXTibetan Whiteboard at the DDBC Tibetan Classroom in Second Life: Catocala (171,115,623).

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