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MediaWiki and Javanese script

project contact:



Benny Lin


Advocate the use of MediaWiki to write the complex Javanese script, from digitization effort to modern usage in schools.

engagement target:

Javanese projects

strategic priority:

Increasing Participation

total amount requested:

3,000 USD

2013 round 1

Project idea


(This is not about JavaScript, but rather Javanese script, an abugida script which is used in Java island, Indonesia.)

Javanese script was used to print Javanese language text before WWII, but fell into disuse as soon as the war ended with Indonesian independence and the script was replaced exclusively by Latin script used by Indonesian language. Javanese script could be rendered into Latin script easily and almost perfectly, and is not as time consuming to print or to read for those who cannot read Javanese script, but it can't be said the same for the other way around. Due to the complexities of the script, and the availability of Latin replacement, there has been little effort prior to 2002 to use Javanese script in print and in the web, and its usage was confined in elementary schools.

Since 1 October 2009, the Javanese script officially entered Unicode, with the launching of Unicode 5.2 (codepoints U+A980–U+A9DF, 91 characters), and in mid 2010 an openly-distributed smartfont was made. Only then could people write in Unicode-based Javanese script in computer. So far I've only found MediaWiki (using certain extension) as the only open-source software that is able to type Javanese script in a "natural" manner (that is, without having to memorize complex buttons), as if writing using Latin script. Other software are either commercial, non-standard (using non-Unicode fonts), hard to type using standard keyboard layout, or all of the above.

The idea is to provide a simple input method (right now already installed in several Wikimedia projects, such as Meta, Incubator, MediaWiki, etc.), and advocate it's use to the Javanese conservators and educators, so that they may benefit from it. Javanese conservators are people or organizations who are trying to preserve the Javanese manuscripts, and Javanese educators are people who taught students using Javanese scripts. Using MediaWiki, hopefully the conservators, teachers, and also students, would be able to write Javanese script more easily, using an open-source software, which in turn would benefit the society in which Javanese language is still widely used.

As a background, Javanese language is the largest language without any official status, which is used by 80 million speakers (the twelfth largest in the world). It has more than 6.000 documents waiting to be digitized, but technology so far only allows them to be transliterated; they includes several encyclopaedias and dictionaries dating back as far as 19th century.

Indonesian translation
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Aksara Jawa dulu digunakan dalam cetakan-cetakan sebelum PDII, tapi tidak digunakan lagi seiring dengan berakhirnya perang dan kemerdekaan Indonesia, dan aksara tersebut digantikan oleh huruf Latin yang digunakan oleh bahasa Indonesia. Karena kekompleksan aksara ini dan karena dapat digantikan oleh huruf Latin, maka hanya ada sedikit usaha sebelum 2002 untuk menggunakan aksara Jawa di media cetak dan media Internet, dan penggunaannya hanya terbatas pada sekolah dasar dan menengah.

Sejak 1 Oktober 2009, aksara Jawa telah dimasukkan ke Unicode, dan pertengahan 2010 sebuah font cerdas telah dibuat berdasarkan Unicode aksara Jawa ini. Dengan demikian, kita sekarang dapat menulis aksara Jawa berbasis Unicode di komputer. Sejauh ini saya hanya menemukan MediaWiki (dengan ekstensi tertentu) perangkat lunak bersumber terbuka yang bisa digunakan untuk mengetik aksara Jawa. Perangkat lunak lainnya biasanya komersial, tidak standar, sulit untuk mengetik dengan alami, atau gabungan dari ketiga hal tersebut.

Proposal ini adalah untuk menyediakan metode input aksara Jawa yang sederhana, dan memopulerkannya di antara para pemerhati aksara Jawa dan para pengajar, supaya mereka dapat memperoleh manfaatnya. Dengan menggunakan MediaWiki, diharapkan para pemerhati, guru, dan, murid-muridnya dapat menulis aksara Jawa dengan lebih mudah, menggunakan perangkat lunak bersumber terbuka, dan pada akhirnya dapat bermanfaat bagi masyarakat yang masih menggunakan bahasa Jawa.

Project goals


Short term goal:

  • Educate a group of educators to train their students to digitize a book or a document written in Javanese script.
  • Introduce and encourage them to participate via Javanese Wikisource (still in Incubator), Wikipedia, and/or Wiktionary.

Long term goal:

  • Establish a long-term partnership with organization, libraries, museums, and/or schools to continue the preservation and education project of Javanese literature, especially with regard to Javanese script in the internet.

The steps toward the goal:

  1. Create a module/ready to use MW installation (preferably on a USB flashdisk) with all the necessary bits to read and write in Javanese script.
  2. Partner with an organization that specialize in Javanese literature and has already digitized hundreds and maybe thousands of documents. (Currently have established contact and had a good response).
  3. Work with educational institutions (high schools or universities) and offer them to participate in the project.
  4. Train the educators to train the students, and start working on select document(s).
  5. Promote the cause to a wider audience, in the web and in real world (i.e. in Wikimania 2013)
Indonesian translation
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Tujuan jangka pendek:

  • Mengajarkan sekelompok guru/pengajar untuk mengajari murid-muridnya cara mengetik aksara Jawa. Proses latihan dapat dengan cara mendigitalkan buku atau dokumen yang ditulis dalam aksara Jawa.
  • Memperkenalkan serta mendorong mereka berpartipasi melalui Wikisource (masih di Incubator), Wikipedia, dan/atau Wiktionary bahasa Jawa.

Tujuan jangka panjang:

  • Membina kerja sama jangka panjan dengan organisasi-organisasi yang bergerak di bidang pelestarian aksara Jawa, perpustakaan, museum, serta sekolah-sekolah untuk melanjutkan pelestarian dan pengajaran literatur aksara Jawa, terutama di dunia maya.

Langkah-langkah untuk mencapai tujuan ini:

  1. Menggunakan MediaWiki yang siap dibagikan dan dipasang secara offline di komputer-komputer yang tidak memiliki akses internet
  2. Bekerja sama dengan Yayasan Sastra yang bergerak khusus di bidang literatur bahasa Jawa, dan telah mendigitalkan ratusan bahkan mungkin ribuan dokumen
  3. Bekerja sama dengan institusi-institusi pendidikan (sekolah maupun universitas) dan menawarkan mereka untuk berpartisipasi dalam proyek ini.
  4. Melatih para pendidik untuk melatih para pelajar untuk mendigitalkan dokumen-dokumen kuno.
  5. Mempromosikan penggunaan aksara Jawa kepada masyarakat luas, di dunia maya maupun dunia nyata (misalnya dalam Wikimania 2013)
A Javanese keyboard mapping for this project, almost identical with Latin (US) keyboard, and far more simple than other Javanese keyboard in existence.

The Project Plan




Scope and activities


The geographical scope of this project for now will be restricted in the city of Solo, Indonesia, where the proposer reside, along with the partner organization. The city has many libraries, museums, schools that can be contacted as potential partners. (List can be provided on request)

Before grant is disbursed, the activity primarily will be revolved around developing the backend support (making the extension available on Javanese projects, getting feedback from other editors (about the extension), and perfecting the code) and coordination with the partner organization.

After grant is disbursed, we can start creating training materials for prototype and conduct trainings for trainers.

After training is done, the next step is to make sure the students participate and achieve their goals.

Tools, technologies, and techniques


The technology that we used mainly MediaWiki based software, with UniversalLanguageSelector extension (previously I was working on Narayam and WebFonts extensions before they were merged into ULS), and XAMPP for the backend. The assumption is that the partners have computers to work with, and we only need to install the software and the technology would not be a hindrance anymore. Problem may arise with old computers/OS, non-standard computers/OS, and they may need some troubleshooting.

Training will be conducted where it's most convenience. Meetups with other editors may be needed too. Communication will be done via phone, email, Skype, and face-to-face meetings.

Assistance will be needed from the Javanese Wikimedia community, starting from giving feedback, putting sitenotice on the sites, and hopefully volunteering.

Most of the budget will be converted as token of appreciation, like custom made T-Shirts with Wikipedia logos, and the like.



Total amount requested


$3,000 USD

Budget breakdown


Short term budget (in USD):

  • T-Shirts (custom merchandise design with Wikimedia visual identities): $100
  • Other merchandise (buttons, stickers, mugs, etc.): $100
  • Promotional items (posters, brochures, banners, etc.): $200
  • All-around designer for the above: $100
  • Meal for training (assume in total would need 100 lunchbox, per diem $13, but in actual would be less than $5): $500
  • Transport (contingency, will be returned if not used): $500

Total: $1,500

Long term budget

  • T-Shirts and other merchandise: $500
  • Promotional items (some can be reused, but to be safe we request another): $250
  • Transport (contingency, will be returned if not used): $750

Total: $1,500

Intended impact:


Target audience


80 million of Javanese speakers, a diverse group of people from Java to Suriname, more specifically internet users who speaks Javanese and read Javanese script. The academics who will greatly benefit from the digitization. New generation of Javanese people who are now able to use their beloved script on the web, on their mobile/cellphones, and using a standardized format.

Fit with strategy


Global South strategy: Right now when the Foundation use the term, the focus is still in India and Africa. This project is trying to bridge that and let the whole movement realize that Southeast Asia are as diverse as India or Africa and have a tremendous potential to the movement. The project also trying to reach out and engage to casual Wikipedia readers in the region to become active contributors (through training from experienced users), participate and adding content to Javanese projects (Wikisource, Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and probably in the future also Wikibooks, Wikiquote, and Wikitravel), if they know that they could contribute in a script that was thought as a long-gone script from a bygone era.

The sum of human knowledge: Up till now there's no easy way to share the knowledge that's written in Javanese script. Transliteration to some extent trying to do it, but nothing is better than the original script the knowledge was written with. The effect of that is very few people have that knowledge and they don't have the mean to distribute it in this digital era.

To collect and develop educational content: Museums and libraries (in Solo, Yogyakarta, and other places) hold a wealth of public domain materials in Javanese script, which they couldn't disseminate effectively and globally yet. So far, very few people interested in old manuscripts because of the technology barrier.

MediaWiki are used here not because it would somehow help us getting the grant. No. It is so far the only open-source software that could be used to render and input Javanese script with relative ease. It could be replaced if there's better option in the future, but there's hardly other software maker that would invest in a complex script like this. So the essential part of this project is the enablement of writing Javanese script.



We are looking for partners who are in the same region (city) as the proposer, so that after the grant ends, the relation that we cultivate will still exist, because the value of the project is greater that the reward received through grant. The grant is only to kickstart the project. Since we are planning to work with the educators, our hope is that they could replicate the project by themselves, while we're only providing technical support which doesn't depend on WMF's grant.

Measures of success


Short term measure:

  • Good feedback from the Javanese Wikipedia community about the project (measurable)
  • A working prototype of a USB flashdrive with all the necessary files and installation instructions, which can be installed by the partner individuals by themselves (measurable)
  • An agreement with the partner organization (measurable)
  • Agreements with other libraries, museums, schools (target)
  • Conduct training for the trainers until they have all the necessary skill to train others (target)
  • Select documents to be digitized by several group of student volunteers, and process them (measurable), and then preferably uploaded to one of the Javanese projects (target)

Long term:

  • Working with educators (i.e. schools) to create a sustainable relationship with the organizations (i.e. museums and libraries) and to adopt the project as their own.


  • Bennylin: Javanese, Indonesian, and English projects contributor for 8+ years. Serving as steward in Meta, working to promote the Southeast Asian languages projects through Wikimedia Indigenous Languages. Not affiliated with Wikimedia Indonesia. Currently developing Javanese keymap (bugzilla:39960) through MediaWiki, because it is the only software that can support a script as complex as Javanese alphabet. I am also interested in preserving the wealth of literature in Javanese language, mostly can be found in libraries and museums in Solo, which otherwise would have to be transliterated to Latin script — and spreading that knowledge through Wikimedia projects. Have worked with MediaWiki extensively and currently maintaining dozens of sites in MediaWiki.
  • <Organization YSL - still waiting for response>



Community Notification:


Please paste a link to where the relevant communities have been notified of this proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions, here.



Anda dipersilakan mengomentari dalam bahasa Indonesia.
You are free to comment in Indonesian language.

Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal.

  • Silakan tambahkan dukungan Anda dan alasan mengapa Anda mendukung proposal ini di bawah ini.
  • Saya sangat setuju dan mendukung proposal tersebut. Akan menyenangkan jika ada satu wiki lagi dengan aksara Jawa, artikel maupun semua halamannya seperti bn.wikipedia.org, tentu saya akan ikut menyumbang menulis/mentransliterasi artikel wp.jv ke sana, sekalian belajar lagi.
    Translation: I really agree and support the proposal. It will be great if there's a wiki with Javanese script, it could be like bn.wikipedia.org, and of course I would participate in writing/transliterating articles in jv.wp there, and at the same time re-learning [the script].
    Lalu ada beberapa pertanyaan, ada banyak jenis aksara Jawa, ada yang fanatik carakan, kawi, atau semacamnya (saya tidak mengerti banyak), nah tuladha jejeg ini apakah sudah banyak yang suka/mendukung ataupun dikenal luas? Dan apakah cukup mudah digunakan? Kira-kira akan ada pengguna yang tertarik baik lama maupun baru untuk mendukung tidak ya? Dan saya pikir benar juga kalau diadakan semacam kompetisi menulis artikel beraksara Jawa di wiki mungkin akan lebih menarik peserta. Hanya saja kendalanya seperti di jv wiki, ketika kompetisi berakhir, kontributor aktifnya juga turun drastis, mereka tidak menyunting lagi. Perlu dipikirkan juga bagaimana cara supaya para penggunanya tetap aktif berkontribusi seusai kompetisi.
    Translation: I have couple questions: there are many kinds of Javanese script, [and] some people are fanatics with carakan, kawi, or others (I don't understand that much), so does this Tuladha Jejeg font already liked/supported or widely known? And is it really easy to use? Would there be users that support both old and new or not? And I think you're right that if you do some kind of writing articles in Javanese script in wiki, it would attract [many] participants. The only hinderance is like in Jv.wp, when the competition ended, the active contributors also dwindling greatly, they never edited anymore. [We need also to] think about how to keep the users active contributing after the competition.
    Saya juga setuju tentang naskah-naskah kuno yang berlisensi bebas bisa dimasukkan ke wikisumber bahasa Jawa. Pertanyaannya, apa ada kontributor yang secara sukarela mau menginput naskah-naskah itu ke wikisumber? Tracy (talk) 17:52, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
    Translation: I also agree that old documents that not in copyright anymore can be put into Javanese Wikisource. The question is, would there any contributors that would inputting the documents to Wikisource?
    translated by Bennylin 18:04, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
    • The differences in the writing system is only amounted in few people and irrelevant to the school teachers that we're going to work together with. Tuladha Jejeg is the name of the font, and not a writing system, therefore we shouldn't be worry about it. It's pretty well known among Javanese script literate on the net, among them, it has been reviewed by alanwood.net and scriptsource.org. From what I gather, the font creator didn't promote his work that much; if he did, I believe more people will be writing about the font. On Facebook, there's a special group devoted to writing Javanese script using this font. But, as I mentioned elsewhere, the star is not the font, because other people can come up with another Unicode-based font, and it would still displayed correctly on their computer. The focus would be on the text made by simplifying the input process, and quantity of the documents that could be made available because of that.
    • Ultimately, what the Javanese projects aiming is an automatic transliteration that requires no human edits. Therefore, we don't need volunteers to rewrite each of the 43.845 articles in jv.wp to Javanese script or any people who edit a page have to edit two versions of the page, instead we will rely on the automatic converter. We won't need participants in the sense of a competition either, because we're not aiming for short-term goals, but long after the grant has ended, they would still participate, because it's hopefully already in their curriculum.
    • Lastly, in terms of transcribing the documents written in Javanese script, we would either make it semi-automatic, that is the Latin script automatically transliterated to Javanese script, and then edited by the students, or the students would do the transcribing directly if the Latin version of the document is not available. Bennylin 21:08, 23 May 2013 (UTC)