Language Explorer, FLEx, FieldWorks – why so many names?

FieldWorks is the name of the suite of programs. Language
Explorer is one program in that suite. FLEx is Language Explorer’s nickname,
derived from its full name FieldWorks Language Explorer.

What help or training materials are available?

Yes, there is an integrated help file. This is available on the Help menu,
top item (Language Explorer). Alternatively, you can access context appropriate
help topics in dialog boxes via the Help button. Further, all fields have
a help link in their context menu.

In addition, there are some other materials to help you get started. These
are also available the Help menu:

  • Demo movies: these give you an overview of the main features of Language
    Explorer. Available online too.
  • Resource documents: these are more in-depth, technical help on specific
    topics (such as lexicography, morphological parsing, import, writing systems).
  • Training materials: these give you a step-by step, illustrated guide through
    the basic features of the program.

Finally, for technical support staff, there are documents written by the lead
developer. These can be accessed online.

Will this run on my computer?

Recommended system configuration

  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    with Service Pack 3 or higher. It also works on the Linux O/S
  • Computer and processor: Pentium IV processor running at 1.5 gigahertz (GHz) or higher
  • Memory: 1.5 gigabyte (GB) of RAM
  • Optical drive: an internal CD-RW drive.

Minimum system requirements

  • Computer and processor: Computer with Pentium (or equivalent) at 1 gigahertz (GHz).
  • Memory: 512 megabytes (MB) of RAM.
  • Hard disk: Hard disk space requirements will vary depending on existing machine configuration, project size, and custom installation choices. In a typical worst case scenario, 1.5 gigabytes are required for installation,
    with a further 300 megabytes required to run the program once installed.
    This can be reduced by deselecting features from the FieldWorks installer
    wizard. If required supporting software is already present (for example,
    the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0), the required disk space is reduced. However,
    if upgrading from an earlier version of FieldWorks, even more space could
    be required, if you have large amounts of data (more than a few tens of
  • Operating system: Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3)
  • Display: 1024 by 768 pixels screen resolution (for laptops,
    use native display resolution).
  • Peripherals: Mouse or compatible pointing device.

Note: The more RAM and the faster the CPU, the better the
software will perform.

Can I import my Shoebox/Toolbox/LinguaLinks data?

Language Explorer’s import capabilities are described here.

I can see lots of missing features. Are they on the plan?

A long list of features to add is available here.

Should I upgrade to a newer version?

You can download the ReadMe file for the latest version. It may help you to decide whether to upgrade to that version of FieldWorks Language Explorer.

Stable releases are made available between so-called corporate releases. Stable releases are
not as thoroughly tested as corporate releases but are generally stable and
are widely used.

When will the next release be?

You can expect there to be one corporate release each year. From 2008, these
are planned for early summer.

In addition, there are interim stable releases 1-2 times per year. The latest
one is available on the Stable Release page.

3 Responses to “FAQ”

  1. Richard Griffiths says:

    where do I find a program that will help me produce a trilingual (English/Indonesian/Hatam) dictionary? what size program is this? Windows Vista is installed on this computer. SIL’s Fieldworks was suggested to me by Dr Bruce Hooley in Australia and since then my grandaughter & husband studying at GIAL, but where to find it on line, but I can’t determine from all the on-line data just where I start.

  2. ann_bush says:

    Hi Richard,
    Flex will definitely help you create a trilingual dictionary. I’m not sure exactly how you want your dictionary to look, but, basically you need to create a lexicon that has all three lnguages (2 as vernacular, 1 as analysis or whatever). Then configure your dictionary to display what you want to see. I suggest you use version 7.1.1 since it allows more configueration options in your dictionary. That is on the Beta download site. You will need the full version of Flex since you are using Vista; either the SE (329 MB) or BTE (340 MB) version. If you need more help, the help options are quite extensive or feel free to contact me via email; flex_devteam@sil.org.

  3. Jon C says:

    Just to clarify in case others come here by searching on this topic. What most FLEx users probably mean by “trilingual dictionary” is: “one vernacular language in the main dictionary, followed by two analysis languages as indexes / finder lists”. Truly having multiple vernaculars is not currently feasible–that is, we do not mean that each section of the bilingual or trilingual dictionary is equally “thick” or comprehensive.

    A FLEx project is really only oriented around one vernacular language, although it’s quite easy to add multiple analysis languages (such as English, Indonesian, and more). But these are basically just used for defining the one vernacular language, translating its examples, and providing finder indexes pointing back to those vernacular entries. Only the one vernacular can have Example fields, etc.

    To create a truly “equal-thickness” bilingual dictionary like the “English-Spanish / Spanish-English” dictionaries that are widely available, you would need to create two completely separate and redundant FLEx projects. (Trilingual would require three projects.)

Leave a Reply