A Parting Note to ATI Techies

If you are a webmaster, web designer, web developer, or software developer and you are interested in advancing the use of technology in studying the Dhamma, I offer you these parting thoughts about the future of Access to Insight.

Although I am no longer working actively on the website, I do intend for it to remain in place on the web in its current state at www.accesstoinsight.org for some years to come. As always, you are invited to download the website for your own use, share it with others, or re-post it elsewhere on the web. I encourage you to incorporate its texts into your own website (within the terms of the copyright licenses, of course), or to use its many articles and sutta translations as the seed for assembling your own online anthology of Buddhist texts. You'll find in the FAQ some guidelines about how to reformat/repackage these pages for your own projects.

If you ever have doubts about the authenticity or accuracy of a file that claims to be from Access to Insight, you can compare the file against the "official" version that lives at www.accesstoinsight.org.

Although I think ATI currently stands on its own quite well, there is still plenty of room for improvement:

  • A complete overhaul of the site's typographic and visual design, to make the site more readable — perhaps akin to the style of Readability.com.
  • Uniform integration of Pali diacritics throughout the site.
  • Improved compatibility with a broad range of devices.
  • Mode-blind Pali searches: you shouldn’t have to be a Pali expert to locate passages that contain particular Pali words. For example, a search for either "samvega", "saṃega", or "sa.mvega" should yield exactly the same result: all pages containing "saṃvega".
  • A better search engine. Over the years I've experimented with Sphider, FDSE, and Google Site Search. None is ideal. FDSE and Sphider are inexpensive and ad-free, but their search results are mediocre at best. Google yields the best search results, but it's very expensive to pay for the ad-free version (typically $1,500 or more per year).
  • Embedded semantic metadata markup for more intelligent searches and hyperlinks.
  • Etc.

I invite you to use ATI’s collection of texts as the underlying content upon which to build the next generation of software tools for studying the Dhamma. To jump-start this process, long-time ATI reader and technical adviser Alex Genaud has launched a github repository containing the latest version of ATI. If interested, please contact him via his website.

with all good wishes,
jtb 20131209