SuttaCentral

"Side-by-side" of Pāḷi for all texts (even if not aligned)?

Would it be possible to add “side-by-side” of the Pāḷi for all texts (authors/languages, Abhidhamma, etc.)? Although the translation and Pāḷi will likely not be perfectly aligned, it’s still a much more efficient way to quickly compare translations with the original Pāḷi.

(I understand that you can use two windows, and re-size them, but that takes a good 10-15 seconds every time. And also, when changing suttas, you have to change the text of two windows. Particularly when looking for a specific sutta passage, this is a workflow that is much slower.)

Again, even if the Pāḷi wouldn’t be aligned to the translation, this would be so much faster for users who read and compare translations (authors/different languages, Abhidhamma), with the original Pāḷi.

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Technically, yes.

Not going to happen, though. Sorry! We have neither the time nor the interest.

The reasons for not doing it are just as valid as they have ever been: this functionality is already present in browsers, and it requires a major effort of development work for a minor usability improvement. Remember that no functionality is costless: every advantage that you perceive is paid for in complexity of code, and in all the things that we could not do because we did that thing. It’s just not worth it.

Future development is focused 100% on our Bilara platform, so if someone wants to develop new functionality for legacy texts, the only way to do this is to fork SuttaCentral and do it yourself.

As both a web developer for almost a decade, and someone who reads the Pāḷi along with your translations, as well as translations of I.B. Horner, T. Rhys Davids, Bhikkhu Bodhi, other languages, and U Thittila/Abhidhamma, etc., I’d say this is one of the most important features, and which would require the least amount of coding…

And isn’t the code already in place with the “side-by-side” feature? Or even just a basic HTML iframe would work?

I’m simply talking about two columns—translation and Pāḷi—even if the translation and Pāḷi aren’t aligned at all.

Cool! Like I said, you’re welcome to fork it and roll your own.

For personal use, a good option which I prefer is translations in PDF format, with the VRI Tipiṭaka (offline, bookmarks, highlights). I simply thought suggesting “side-by-side” (even if unaligned) Pāḷi for all texts would benefit your users who consult the original Pāḷi (or study Pāḷi), and the other translators (Bhikkhu Bodhi, I.B. Horner, T. and C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Ṭhanissaro Bhikkhu. Ānandajoti Bhikkhu, U Thittila, and others)—and also the translations in the other languages…

I just tried out this firefox extension Side View – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-US).

It probably itsn’t much easier than having two windows, but on a small screen it might help. You can right click to open a link in what it calls a sidebar. Then that sidebar stays there as you view other tabs.

I have to agree that since it is easy to do this through the browser, it doesn’t make much sense to code into the site. It would also be useless on mobile, and I don’t think it’s a good idea in 2020 to add features that don’t work on mobile.

Hi Bhante (I hope you are well!),

What I suggested is already part of the SuttaCentral website (“side-by-side” in the settings). And works 100% fine, at least, with tablet devices (of which it is definately useful). And to clarify: I’m not asking that the Pāḷi be aligned with the translation (like with Ven. Sujato’s translations)—even if it’s slightly misaligned, it’s 100% okay.

(However, even if it wasn’t already part of the website… it’s simply a second HTML column that displays the Pāḷi with “https://suttacentral.net/[…]/pli/ms”.)

The thing is that: this is solely available for Ven. Sujato’s translations.

Adding a second Pāḷi column (when “side-by-side” is activated in the settings), is a 1-hour change, site-wide—which would make it so that (unaligned) side-by-side of tanslations and Pāḷi could be available… for all translations, as well as all languages.

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As I understand, the texts without the side by side are considered “legacy texts”. I believe that they are coded in a very different way from the newer “Bilara” texts. I think they are regular html files, whereas the newer texts are stored as segmented json files.

Personally I wouldn’t find an unaligned column very useful unless they scrolled independently. But then we’d just be back to what you can do with the browser.

I don’t want to presume your knowledge of coding, but from the little I know, even small changes can have negative effects down the line. From a project management standpoint, I can appreciate the decision to not put any work into the legacy texts and focus on the Bilara texts. I can also appreciate the principle of not coding things that can be accomplished using browser/os features. Hopefully as time goes on more translations will be in the Bilara format.

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Like I’ve already mentioned, two browser windows is very ineffecient. I understand that if someone reads the Suttas on SC, that two windows is fine. However, I don’t think reading the Suttas on a screen is a good idea (damaging to the eyes).

A solid strength of SC is being able to find and compare passages. If users need to open and navigate two windows when looking into passages, and to compare with the Pāḷi—and also multiple tabs—this is way too inefficient.


I simply proposed that two columns—translation and Pāḷi—be added to all translations/translators, as well as all languages.

(However, if this isn’t something that is of interest to Ven. Sujato/the SC team, this is fine.)

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