A database of all official Blissymbols, and their definitions
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A database of all official Blissymbols, and their definitions. Plus some additional utilities. Contents:

  • blissdata_chars.js, blissdata_words.js: this are the most important files, the database itself
  • blissviewer.js: a generic Javascript module for attaching Blissymbols to text
    • this file is compiled from the corresponding TypeScript file blissviewer.ts
  • blissviewer.css: example CSS style sheet for displaying the Blissymbols
  • blissviewer-demo.html: a simple webpage that shows how blissviewer.js can be used; you can test it out here:

There are only three global names that are introduced by the library: BLISS_CHAR_DATA, BLISS_WORD_DATA and BlissViewer are defined by blissdata_chars.js, blissdata_words.js and blissviewer.js, respectively. They are supposed to be used like this:

var myBlissViewer = new BlissViewer(BLISS_CHAR_DATA, BLISS_WORD_DATA, {...})

(The third argument to the BlissViewer constructor is an optional configuration dictionary).

Below are some more detailed information about blissdata_(char/word).js and blissviewer.js.


These are Javascript files that encode all metadata about all official Blissymbols. The database consists of two Javascript objects BLISS_CHAR_DATA and BLISS_WORD_DATA, with the following structures:

    "words": {
        // a "word" consists of a horizontal sequence of "chars":
        "snowplow,snowplough": ["vehicle,carriage,railway_car", "minus,no,without", "snow"],
        "Tarzan": ["make-believe_man", "tropical_rain_forest,jungle"],
    "chars": {
        // a "char" consists of a number of positioned "shapes", and a width and height:
        "make-believe_man": {h:5, w:128, d:[{d:"@0049",x:0,y:64}]},
        "meeting,encounter": {h:7, w:288, d:[{d:"@0118",x:0,y:160}, {d:"@0143",x:160,y:160}]},
    "center": {
        // for some "chars" the indicator should not be centered:
        "development": -64,
        "tool,instrument": 16,
    "kerning_left": {
        // this specifies where the leftmost parts of a "char" are:
        "make-believe_man": 26,  // binary 11010
        "tool,instrument": 4,  // binary 00100
    "kerning_right": {
        // this specifies where the rightmost parts of a "char" are:
        "development": 4,  // binary 00100
        "make-believe_man": 26,  // binary 11010
    "paths": {
        // a "path" is a basic form:
        "#A90-W:32": {form:"arc", x1:8, y1:0, x2:8, y2:32, h:32, r:22.627, w:8},
        "#CIRCLE:64": {form:"circle", x:32, y:32, r:32, w:64, h:64},
        "#TEXT:n:56": {form:"text", x:0, y:0, w:32, h:56, text:"n", fontsize:77},
    "shapes": {
        // a "shape" consists of a number of other "shapes" or "paths":
        "+0043": [{x:0, y:64, d:"#CIRCLE:64"}, {x:64, y:0, d:"#L+90:96"}],
        "@0927": [{x:0, y:0, d:"+0174"}, {x:144, y:32, d:"+0028"}],

As it happens, the database file is stored in a format that is readable as a Python file too.

There is a TypeScript description file for the database format: blissdata.d.ts.


This Javascript file is compiled from the TypeScript file blissviewer.ts. It defines a class BlissViewer, which is instantiated like this:

var myBlissViewer = new BlissViewer(data, config?)

The arguments are as follows:

  • data is the Blissymbol database (preferrably BLISSDATA as defined in blissdata.js)
  • config is an optional dictionary for setting parameters:
    • margin: the extra margin to add around each Blissword (default value: 8 pixels, to account for a stroke width of 8 pixels)
    • radius: the radius of a dot (default value: 4 pixels)

A BlissViewer has the following public methods:

myBlissViewer.add_blissvg = function(parent, blissword, ?grid)
myBlissViewer.add_blissword = function(parent, ?blissword, ?textword, ?grid)
myBlissViewer.add_blisstext = function(parent, blisswords, ?textwords, ?grid)
myBlissViewer.add_blisswords_to_class = function(cls, ?grid)

The arguments are as follows:

  • parent should be a reference to a HTML container (such as <span>, <div> or <p>).
  • blissword(s) is a (list of) Blissword(s), where each word is either a Blissymbol id (which is a string), or a list of ids.
  • textword(s) is an optional (list of) text word(s), where each word is a string.

The functions append the (sequence of) blissword(s) to the parent container. The textword(s) is added below each Blissword, if present. See blissviewer-demo.html and blissdemo.js for an example of how it can be used.

Note about the database

The database is split into two files, one for the characters and one for the words. This is because all updates of word definitions should be made using the Karp online lexicon, from Språkbanken:

There is a script, download_and_update_blissdata_words.py, which is run irregularly to keep the database in this repository in sync with Karp.