ZDT (Zhongwen Development Tool) is a program written to help users study Mandarin Chinese. Users can create their own word lists and quizzes using the built in flash cards.
There is also a dictionary that can be used to search through the built in CEDICT (and optional Adso) databases. Users can input Chinese characters and get the associated pinyin and English definitions through the Annotation function.
This makes it convenient to read blocks of Chinese text. The program is built on top of the Eclipse RCP platform, which allows it to be extendable through its plugin architecture. It runs on Linux, OS X, and Windows platforms.
Here are some key features of "ZDT":
· Three different flashcard modes - Memorize those words!
· Create categories for your vocabulary - Organize your character lists however you like. Test yourself using any combination of categories.
· Default word lists - Comes with the top 500 frequently used characters and the Kangxi Radicals character lists.
· Easily import and export character lists - Get new character lists. Contribute your own and help others out! You can also export your lists into other popular programs like VTrain, PlecoDict, and SuperMemo.
· Practice writing chinese characters - By generating custom practice writing sheets using your own categories.
· Simplified and Traditional character support - View characters in either mode.
· Searchable database - Lookup entries by character, pinyin or english definition.
· Chinese text annotation - Get mouseover popups with character definitions. Displays the corresponding pinyin as you type.
· Integrated web browser - Surf Chinese based sites and easily add new vocabulary.
· Sound support [Beta] - Available as a separate plugin. Hear a native mandarin speaker speak selected characters.
· Native CEDICT support and optional Adso support - The Cedict database contains approximately 27,000 entries. The Adso database contains more than 120,000 entries and now has traditional character support.
· Extensible - based on Eclipse RCP platform with its nice plugin architecture.
· Free and Open Source - CPL based license. Free is always good!
· Available for Windows, Linux and Mac platforms
· Java 1.5.0 (5.0) - If not already installed on your computer please go here and download either the JDK or the JRE.
· Chinese fonts. I recommend the Arial Unicode MS font that comes with Office XP and some other Microsoft products. f you don't have that, Arial seems to work fine as well.
· Chinese IME (optional, if you don't care about typing chinese characters).
· gtk 2.2.1
· atk 1.2.0
· glib 2.2.1
· pango 1.2.1
· FreeType 2.1.3
· Mozilla 1.4 or greater
The zdt browser view requires Mozilla 1.4 or greater. In addition two environment variables must be set, MOZILLA_FIVE_HOME and LD_LIBRARY_PATH, to your Mozilla installation folder. e.g.
If for whatever reason, you are unable to meet this requirement, then you may run the zdt without the browser component by deleting
< install_dir >/plugins/com.digitbit.chinese.rcp.browser_0.5.2.jar.
There is no linux installer at this time. Extract the files using the command: unzip zdt-0.5.2-linux-gtk.zip. To launch, go to the install directory and type: ./zdt.
There is no linux uninstaller at this time. Just delete the folder that you installed the zdt to. If you would like to keep your data, take your < install_dir >/user.script and < install_dir >/user.properties files and copy them to a different location.
What's New in This Release:
· Allow character and pinyin fonts to be changed individually.
·  Pressing 'stop' in Self Review test doesn't really stop.
· Added preference (see Preference > General) to allow toggling display of pinyin with tone marks and pinyin with
· tone numbers.
· Added mechanism to clear recent search history. See Preferences > Dictionary.
· Tweak flashcards so that any missed cards appear at the end of session.
·  Can't import words with neutral tone.
·  Import with duplicate entries can cause hang.
· Ignore comment character # in import files.
·  Copy-paste to category in traditional mode bug.
· Add ability to access stroke order animations from flashcard's view drop down.
· Stroke order animations are now accessible via hotkey (F5). Works in flashcards, dictionary, and category editors.
· Updated to August 25, 2007 version of CEDICT.
· Add Reports Bug function to Help menu. Zips up the important files necessary for debugging problems.
·  Change font and cancel causes exception.
·  Last used dictionary not selected on startup.
·  Certain pinyin not getting parsed correctly.
·  Pinyin Recall. Back button enabled on initial card.
·  Self Review mode. Back disables correct/wrong buttons.
·  No sound for nu:, nu:e, lu:, and lu:e.
·  Definition field not updating in Add an entry to a category.
·  Can't drag retroflexed words from dict to category list.
· Log and backup files are now stored in user's home directory.
· Enable dragging of text from annotation area into category editors. Known limitation, single characters cannot be dragged, only multiple ones.
·  IME: Turning off IME does not close IME window.
·  IME: Typing two character words, cursor ends up in middle.
·  Adjusting font sizes causes memory leak
·  Exception when installing over previous ZDT install.
· Uwe has made a change to Pinyin Recall mode so it now has the ability to show character only, definition only, or both. This is set via the new Pinyin Recall Preference page.
·  Export writing sheet problems with special chars.