Today we are proud to release the next update to SuttaCentral. We’ve been working hard on this for the past few months, and there’s a lot that’s new. This is not like the update last year, where we completely rebuilt the site. It’s a step forward, building on the 2018 site and laying the foundations for the future.
Finding things in your Language
We’ve got thousands of translations on SC, but it has never been easy to find translations in your own language, especially if there are only a few. We’ve introduced a range of new features to make that much easier.
- Language selection: Choose your language from the menu. It will highlight the suttas translated in your language and show where those suttas are.
- Language pages: These may be selected via the toolbar menu. They give an overview of the content on SC, what is translated in each language, who the translators are, and what remains untranslated.
- Yellow Brick Road: Well, that’s what we called it, but what it actually shows is not yellow bricks but green dots. These highlights in the sidebar show you where to find translations in your language, once you have selected it. When in doubt, click a green dot!
- Site translation: The site interface has been translated into Chinese and Portuguese. See these through the language selector.
Sutta cards (suttaplex)
- New design: We present the details for each sutta in cards, which we call a “suttaplex”. The design of these is greatly improved, so that they show much more clearly what is what.
- Find in page: This was broken previously on the suttaplex lists, now it works.
- SuttaCentral Voice: The awesome voice app by Karl Lew, developed in close conjunction with dedicated SuttaCentral volunteers, is now live at voice.suttacentral.net.
- Audio support: Each relevant suttaplex has an audio icon, where you can listen to suttas on SuttaCentral Voice.
- Compact view: If you prefer to see more suttas on a page, enable Compact View in the toolbar menu. Click on the suttaplex title to toggle the full view.
- Verses of the Senior Monks and Nuns (Thera/Therī-gāthā): A long-awaited release of my latest translations.
- Corrections and improvements: Some thousands of minor updates to my translations of the nikayas, with a focus on consistency.
- Reading guides: New Reading Guides to the Pali Suttas by myself are live, too.
In addition to these apparent changes, there’s a lot more that went on under the skin.
- Platform upgrade: The entire app has been upgraded from Polymer 2 to Polymer 3. This was a lot of work, but is essential going forward, as it builds on modern standards. We also upgraded multiple parts of the site to the brand-spanking new LitElement, to which the entire site will eventually be migrated.
- Performance: We made various fixes and adjustments, and the site feels snappier now.
- PWA fixes: Using the site offline is one of our best features, yet it has proven difficult to ensure it works reliably. We have completely gone over this.
- Use webpack: The site is now bundled with webpack, allowing greater control over versions and cache.
- Many bugfixes and other small improvements: Many.
See the full list of completed issues here:
We hope you enjoy the new and improved SC. Of course, I see so many things that can still be improved, but right now it’s the “two bricks in the wall” time! We’re super-proud of what we have achieved.
Thanks so much to the team from STXnext who did the bulk of the work: Jan, Przemysław, and Robert, as well as Jose for his management support. In what is truly an unprecedented gesture, the developers, together with STXnext, have offered to continue working part time on a pro bono basis for SuttaCentral over the next few months. This will be on their own time, but with the support of the firm. It is an expression of the enthusiasm and genuine care that they have for the project.
Special thanks for the site translation are owed to Teo Yew Thong, Hansen Sun, and Mei Zuan for Chinese, and Gabriel Laera, Marco Quaresma, and Robson Silva da Silva for Portuguese.
And of course, thanks to everyone on the SC team, especially Aminah, who took on the task of IT team management and did it like a pro; Blake, who has been with us each step of the way; and Deepika, who has looked after our finances.
Finally, a huge sadhu to all our donors, who have made it possible. Professional IT development is not cheap, and it is sometimes hard to see the long, complex work that goes on behind the scenes. We have striven to respect every cent that is offered, and to work hard to make it as good as possible.
The suttas are the best: so beautiful and so wonderful. They deserve the best. I cannot think of a better way to serve you all than to keep on making our site better and better, in gratitude and love to all sentient beings.