[duxuser] Re: DBT11.1 with .BRF files

  • From: David Holladay <david@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: duxuser@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 10 May 2012 11:31:17 -0400

To all:

Braille Formatted Files (BRF) have been an issue for a long time.

Most early braille software that could drive an embosser could also send the same collection of characters to a computer file.
Thus was born the BRF file.

As has been noted by many observers, braille formatted files come is a bewildering number of flavors.

Some have no form feeds at all; the expectation is that after 25 lines, the next braile page will be started. If you output when your embosser is set for 27 lines, the result will be disappointing.

One manufacturer's devices need carriage return, line feed, form feed at the end of each page. Another manufacture's devices cannot fully use all lines unless there is just a form feed (no CR LF) at the end of the last line of the page.

Then we have the issues of different prefered paper sizes added to the mix.

Then we have the issues of how to use files designed for embossing on a refreshable device use BRF files, plus vice-versa.

Very nice BRF files designed for paper output may have skipped lines and centered headings which a refreshable braille user may not notice.

One suggestion put out a few years ago was to make a new format, with pdf-like qualities. This would be a binary file which would encase information about now to produce the braille on a variety of formats. Other software would then open these files and allow better control of the process.

This is a nice suggestion, but requires some work getting enough people in this field to adopt a new file format.

For my part, I have had a hand in creating software called "Embossit" which can import high or low quality of braille formatted files, and can output to the same variety of braillers that DBT can do. So far, this software has been used to help MegaDots produce braille to a more modern list of embossers.

If I were asked for my suggestion, I would recommend that BRF files have the following properties:

1) no opening string of escape codes which support only one embosser
2) each line ends in CR LF
3) each page ends in FF (form feed)
4) There should be a limited number of page layouts, such as 40x25 and 32x25 for the USA, 30x28 for A4 paper, and perhaps a new more nominations. 5) These files should be designed for paper output, those designed for refreshable braille need to address a different set of standards.

Let me quickly add that this is my own opinion, and I do not wish to editorialize as "this is what Duxbury Systems wants to do".
As a company, we are here to meet your needs.

-- David Holladay
Duxbury Systems

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