FieldWorks 8.3.0 Alpha

This release has been superseded by a subsequent release.

Version Date: July 14, 2016


We are making this version available to show you what is coming in the next version of FieldWorks. Not all of the features we plan have been implemented yet, but we believe there is enough that you can get a good taste of what is coming. We do believe this version is very stable, both in terms of not crashing and not corrupting your data. However, it is still wise to make a backup of your data in your previous version of FieldWorks before installing this new version.

This alpha version does not involve a data migration relative to FieldWorks 8.2.8. What that means is that if you open your project in FW 8.3.0 and work with it and decide you want to go back, you can uninstall FW 8.3.0 and reinstall FW 8.2.8 and still be able to open your project. Your dictionary preview will look unusual when you first open the project, but as soon as you configure the dictionary in any way, it will go back to the settings you were last using with FW 8.2.8. (The dictionary settings for FW 8.3 are stored in a different place from the setting for 8.2.8 and earlier, and both sets of settings can exist on your computer at the same time. However, it is not possible to have both versions of FieldWorks installed at the same time.)

This is the only version of 8.3.x for which there will not be a data migration relative to FW 8.2.8. After we release FW 8.3.1, once you open a project in FW 8.3.1 or later, you will not be able to open that same project in FW 8.3.0 or FW 8.2.8 or earlier.

Send/Receive is fully functional in this alpha version but we recommend the following:
If you have multiple people on your project that will be using 8.3 Alpha 3, have one person do the upgrade first and do a Send/Receive. Then have the other participants do a Send/Receive before they upgrade. These steps will prevent confusing Send/Receive conflict reports related to the new configuration files. These steps will also be recommended when upgrading to the next version.

Translation Editor does not start properly in FW 8.3.0 Alpha 3.

The main focus of FieldWorks 8.3 has been improving the ability to configure your dictionary and publish it to the web.

The primary new features in FieldWorks 8.3 are:

  • One-button publish to Webonary. Once you have an account at, it is now as easy as configuring your credentials, choosing what you want to publish, and clicking a button, to upload your data to Webonary. To upload a newer version of your data, just click that button again.
  • New version of the Configure Dictionary functionality, featuring:
    • WYSIWYG dictionary previews. Now the Dictionary view is showing you (nearly) exactly what you will see on Webonary.
    • A preview pane right in the Configure Dictionary dialog.
    • A highlight button so you can see what content is affected by the node you are configuring.
    • The ability to enter Unicode values in the Before/After boxes.
    • Enhanced ability to duplicate and rename nodes.
    • All-around better reliability and consistency for all configuration nodes, and a foundation that will allow the developers to add features much more easily than was possible before this version.
    • Enhanced ability to manage custom configurations and link them to publications.
    • Built-in shared configuration for some of the nodes.
    • Separate nodes for Minor Entries that are Variants versus Complex Forms (and for Main Entries that are Complex Forms, in stem-based views). (In the Alpha version, these need to be configured separately from each other and from the Main Entry. In the future, it will be possible to indicate whether they should share another node’s configuration or be configured separately.)
    • Better connection between Reversal Indexes and Publications.
    • Publication menu in Reversal Index view.
  • New configuration possibilities:
    • Option for Senses to “display in separate paragraph” allows choice of whether the option applies to the first sense or not.
    • Subsenses can be configured separately from Senses.
    • More choices for Sense and Subsense numbering.
    • Examples can be displayed in separate paragraphs.
    • Names of nodes in Reversal configuration have been adjusted.
    • New default styles available to configure the reversal index differently from the main dictionary.
    • New node “Gloss or Summary Definition”, to more easily configure a reference that could point at either a Sense or an Entry.
  • Hybrid view: A new default configuration that is a cross between root-based and stem-based views. This view is based on the work of Bartholomew & Schoenhals’ Bilingual Dictionaries for Indigenous Languages1 Some of the key features of this layout include:
    • Information of greater interest to the language community comes first in the entry; information for academic linguists is last.
    • Complex forms are presented as main entries (like stem-based views), but it also includes “minor subentries”, to show minimal information about the complex form right in the main entry (like root-based views). There is an emphasis on clearly delineating the different kinds of information in the entry.

1Bartholomew, Doris A. and Louise C. Schoenhals, Bilingual Dictionaries for Indigenous Languages. Instituto Lingüístico de Verano, México, D.F., 1983.
Bugs fixed since 8.2.8

  • LT-13041 LT-13041 Variant Comments can now be viewed/edited in Bulk Edit.
  • LT-17340 Option to attach audio files now includes .mp4.
  • No longer necessary to “Insert Reversal Index”. They automatically exist for all analysis languages.
  • LT-4443 Make Sense columns in Browse views show Subsenses along with Senses.
  • LT-17208 Activate spell checking in Bulk Edit Reversal Entries.
  • LT-15989 Don’t print letter headings when dictionary is sorted on something other than the Headword.
  • LT-17385 Fix a yellow box error when parsing with the XAmple parser and showing details.
  • Various other parser fixes.
  • LT-14995, LT-14996 Fix spacing in semantic domain worksheets.
  • LT-11388 Fix writing system problem with “Find Example Sentence” in a vernacular writing system that isn’t currently the primary one.
  • Enhance the HTML export of interlinear texts.

  • You can collaborate on the entire project (advised) or just on the lexicon (LIFT – for use with other programs).
  • The Send/Receive Lexicon option is designed for collaborating with team members who use WeSay. Using the Send/Receive Lexicon option for sharing lexical data between FLEx users when there are no WeSay users in the team is not recommended. FLEx users should use Send/Receive Project to share the full data set, rather than using the more limited Send/Receive Lexicon, which is limited to what is covered by the LIFT format.
  • You can use both kinds of Send/Receive if you are working in a team which uses both FLEx and WeSay. In this situation, it is recommended to have only one FLEx member use Send/Receive Lexicon, and then use the Send/Receive Project to share that data with the other FLEx team members.
  • You can collaborate using a USB flash drive, an Internet server or Chorus Hub (a special network folder.)
    • Before using Send/Receive Internet using the default server, you need to go to and create a user account. For each project you want to Send/Receive, you also need to contact so they can create an online repository for you. They need the name and ISO code of the language plus whether you will be using the option Send/Receive Project (FLEx only) or Lexicon (for use with other programs).
    • When using Send/Receive Internet for the first time, you need to click the Settings button before you can use it, in order to enter the details of the remote server and the project’s repository id, etc.
    • To use Chorus Hub for local area network, one computer on your network needs to start the Chorus Hub program. Instructions are on the Settings dialog on the Chorus Hub tab.
  • Concept: all start from one copyof the project. Someone sends it. Others receive it. All can then send/receive.
    1. Someone sends it

      The person who already has the project – the master everyone is going to start working with – uses Send/Receive > Send this Project (or Lexicon) for the first time. This will create the special collaboration “repository” on the destination they choose (USB, Internet, Chorus Hub.)

      • What if there were multiple copies of the project already? Can we merge them? No, not automatically. You need to do any importing or exporting you need to do to come up with a master project which is the best version of the project. Delete the now outdated copies of the FieldWorks project from other computers.
    2. Others receive it
      • The person who doesn’t yet have the (master) project uses Get Project from a Colleague on the Welcome dialog or Send/Receive > Get Project from Colleague. This is a one-off step!
      • If you want to join a Lexicon (LIFT) repository from a project you already have in FLEx, use Send/Receive > Get Lexicon and Merge with this Project. This is a one-off step!
    3. Everyone uses send/receive to collaborate

      Once the project has been sent, and each collaborator received it the first time, all collaborators can continue to work together and share data using Send/Receive > Project, or Lexicon. The settings are saved and do not need to be re-entered. There is a toolbar button which will open the Send/Receive dialog to the last type of Send/Receive you did (project or lexicon).

  • The Messages (a.k.a. Conflict Report) will be displayed after Send/Receive if there are new messages to review. You can also open it at any time with Send/Receive > View Project Messages, or View Lexicon Messages, as appropriate.
    • Many merge-related messages are hard to understand. This is probably going to be an ongoing area of improvement, depending on feedback – how problematic the messages are in practice.
    • Send/Receive does a really good job of automatically merging data when users have changed different parts of the project. When two people have edited the same or very closely related data in the same sync cycle, send/receive keeps the data entered by the current user. A conflict message is generated and includes information of the other user’s change for comparison. If you prefer the other user’s change, you will need to copy and paste the data manually into the appropriate place in FLEx; there is not yet a tool to select one change over another and have the FLEx project automatically updated.
      • If one user adds word glosses to a text at the same time as another user adds word categories to it, this will not be merged conveniently because in the FLEx database these separate pieces of data are both part of a word’s analysis.
      • If one user modifies an entry, sense, etc. at the same time as another user deletes that same item, send/receive will keep the modification rather than the deletion.
    • If a team needs to use the global change tools in FLEx, such as Bulk Edit, merge conflicts will be reduced if the team first does a series of Send/Receives to get all sync’ed to the same state. Then one user can do the global changes, and the team then re-syncs to get those changes and continue on with their tasks.

Known Issues with the Alpha version
  • Translation Editor does not start up.
  • The option for “Display in Separate Paragraph” to “start with second sense” is not available for subsenses in existing projects.
  • The Help files reflect features that have not been implemented yet.
Send/Receive Lexicon (LIFT) with e.g. WeSay
  • Send/Receive Lexicon should not be used to pass data between two or more FLEx users. You should use Send/Receive Project.
  • Send/Receive Lexicon depends on the LIFT standard. Some FLEx data is not handled well yet by this collaboration method. E.g. Which entries belong in which inflection template slots and some other morphological grammar facts stored on a lexical entry. Components of a complex form. Custom lexical relations.
  • If you created a custom field in WeSay and used a previous version of LIFTBridge with FLEx (e.g. in 2012), FLEx will crash when you try to open the project. Please contact us for help. LT-13850

For Windows

A Full package contains .NET 4.0 and Windows Installer 3.1; a Minimal package does not.

Users can probably use the minimal package unless this is the first installation of FieldWorks and their operating system is older than Windows® 8.

The SE packages only contain Language Explorer (FLEx); BTE packages also contain Translation Editor.

8.3.0Alpha3 SE Full (204 MB)

8.3.0Alpha3 SE Minimal (153 MB)

8.3.0Alpha3 BTE Full (219 MB)

8.3.0Alpha3 BTE Minimal (167 MB)

No patch is available for this version.

  1. Download one of the Full or Minimal installation packages above.
  2. Double-click the exe file you downloaded. After it extracts files, the first installation screen appears.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions. Make sure you allow the SIL Software installer to install FLExBridge and any other required third party software it says is required.
  4. If you have used FieldWorks 6.0.6 or earlier on this computer before, you may see two further steps:
    1. Select which if any projects you wish to migrate from FieldWorks 6.0.6 or earlier format.
    2. Choose whether to uninstall the last version of FieldWorks or its desktop shortcuts. Help.

For more information on upgrading to FieldWorks 7 or 8 from an older version (6 or earlier), see here.

Please check the Known Issues section above.

Note: The movies have not yet been updated since FieldWorks 6.

Sample projects are no longer being included in the download packages. You can download them here:

  • Sena 2 – 14 MB (Lexicon and Texts for training)
  • Sena 3 – 15 MB (Lexicon and Texts data)
  • Lela-Teli 2 – 2 MB (Data Notebook for training)
  • Lela-Teli 3 – 2 MB (Data Notebook data)
  • Click one of the sample projects, such as “Sena 3″. Download and save this file to your computer. If you find that your browser (e.g., I.E.) has renamed the files to .zip, you will need to rename them first to .fwbackup in order for the FieldWorks restore function to work.
  • Launch FieldWorks Flex.
  • Open the Restore a Project dialog by doing one of the following:
    1. If the welcoming Language Explorer dialog appears, click “Restore a project from a backup file”.
    2. Or if the main FieldWorks Language Explorer window appears, choose File > Project Management > Restore a Project.
  • On the Restore a Project dialog, click “Another location” and click Browse.
  • Navigate to the downloaded sample project file (which may be in your Downloads directory by default), click the file, and click Open.
  • Click OK.

Here is the MD5 hash of each of the download packages, should you wish to use this to verify the download completed successfully.

Package MD5 hash
FW830Alpha3_SE_A A5BD653FB70695C82F1BFEEC115A6B57
FW830Alpha3_SE_B 1A8B7C959F68668D9E73BA31B0EC22AF
FW830Alpha3_BTE_A 6BE4FB8D687585334357119663D5F99C
FW830Alpha3_BTE_B 38074CC7EF87106CCE73205F18FDE177

Recommended System Configuration
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1
  • Computer and processor: Computer with Intel Core® (or equivalent) processor running at 2.2 gigahertz (GHz) or higher
  • Memory: 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM or more.

Note: The more RAM and the faster the CPU, the better FieldWorks will perform, especially with larger projects.

Minimum System Requirements
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows® XP Professional with Service Pack 3 or later, Windows Vista® with Service Pack 2 or later, Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1, Windows® 8, Windows® 10.
  • Computer and processor: Computer with Intel Pentium® (or equivalent) processor running at 1.5 gigahertz (GHz).
  • Memory: 500 megabytes (MB) of RAM.
  • Hard disk: Hard disk space requirements will vary depending on existing machine configuration and custom installation choices. As a guideline figure, you should have at least 1.5 gigabytes free prior to installation. In any case, you are recommended to have at least 10% of your hard drive free in order to allow Windows to run properly.
  • Display: 1024 by 768 pixels screen resolution or greater (for laptops, use native display resolution).
  • Offline storage: An external USB drive, network drive, or writeable CD-ROM to allow offline data backups.
  • Peripherals: Mouse or compatible pointing device.

For SE For BTE

For Linux

This version of FieldWorks is available on both Windows and Linux. Send/Receive became available for Linux starting with 8.0.5. Data created in one can be opened (or restored) in the other, and vice versa. (Note that data created in any version cannot be opened by any older version on either platform.)
Instructions for installing the Linux version are available on the LSDev Linux wiki.

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