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Re: Package proposal: greader, an audio emacs reader for blind and disle

From: Tim Cross
Subject: Re: Package proposal: greader, an audio emacs reader for blind and dislexic people
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2019 08:31:10 +1100

I'm not sure I follow. With the exception of the references to the back-end TTS, I don't see anything in your proposed package that the other packages don't already do. I can see that Emacspeak may be too sophisticated with too much additional functionality that is not needed, such as session information, but the primary purpose is to turn buffers into text. However, Emacspeak is somewhat 'invasive', so I can appreciate that it may be overkill for what you want. This is why I suggest you look at speechd.el, which does not modify Emacs behaviour to the extent of Emacspeak and essentially just takes buffer contents and sends them to speech-dispatcher. 

I would not discount speech-dispatcher as a possible backend. I find current versions stable and reliable. Having written a number of speech services in the past, I know first hand how complex implementing a reliable and functional interface is. There are a lot of hidden details which only become obvious when you start to use the system. For example, when reading a large buffer, being able to pause speech and restart from the position you paused at while at the same time, ensuring that text is sent in sufficiently large chunks to enable the TTS engine to turn it into good quality speech  (chunk size is often critical to this), handling various UTF characters, filtering out text which you don't want spoken (consider a horizontal line of -----, do you want it to speak "horizontal line" or do you want it to say 'dash' 80 times or say nothing, what is the 'cuitoff' point ) etc. Implementing a proof of concept is fairly trivial, but implementing something robust and usable is much much harder.


On Wed, 30 Jan 2019 at 18:09, Michelangelo Rodriguez <address@hidden> wrote:

On Wed, 30 Jan 2019, Tim Cross wrote:

> nIn addition to emacspeak, there is also a package called speechd.el, which also does a similar thing, but uses speech-dispatcher. 
> My question would be why create yet another package which appears to do the same thing rather than contribute to one of the other packages - what is it about your package that is fundamentally different to either emacspeak (very
> comprehensive, robust and powerful, with a well developed underlying philosophy/approach) and speechd.el (minimalist, simple and lower learning curve)?
Greader is not an accessibility tool for emacs. It is specialized on
reading contents of buffers, not in providing information about emacs
Greader is based on back-ends architecture, so does not depend on a
single package (eg. on speech-dispatcher) that is known to be buggy, and
back-ends for espeak and speech-dispatcher are already provided.
Greader has the possibility to make "audiobooks", switable to be listened
with mobile devices.
In other words, greader serves a different purpose if compared to
emacspeak and speechd-el, that are indeed great packages.
Yes, i considered the iidea of integrating greader into one of those
packages, but it can result in a confusion, because as i sayd, that
packages are semantically different.
> On Tue, 29 Jan 2019 at 20:15, Michelangelo Rodriguez <address@hidden> wrote:
>       Hi All,
>       I would to propose a package that reads countinuously a buffer, using
>       speech synthesis.
>       It exists a package called emacspeak that makes emacs accessible, but my
>       package is somewhat different:
>       It does not depend on emacspeak, and can use espeak or speech-dispatcher
>       to perform reading.
>       It is my first package for emacs, and apart to make it available to all,
>       i'm interested on suggestions on how to make my code better.
>       The project is at very earl stage of development, though it works already.
>       So, what is the next step?
>       thanks to all for feedback.
>       Michelangelo Rodriguez
> --
> regards,
> Tim
> --
> Tim Cross



Tim Cross

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