Worldwide Lexicon Development Projects


This section of the website will host a directory of current and future development projects related to the worldwide lexicon and gnutrans.

Project Timeline

  • Phase One – publication of the Worldwide Lexicon Protocol Specification Version 2. (Status: done).
  • Phase Two – deployment of several WWL supernode (directory servers). These servers enable WWL clients to automatically discover WWL servers. In progress. We plan to have some test servers running at one or more locations soon
  • Phase Three – development of various WWL client and server applications. Once the supernodes are running, people can start building WWL client and server apps based on the WWL spec. (Status: as soon as the supernodes are running, the real fun can begin).

WWL Projects

Supernode software

This is our first major software project. WWL supernodes act as directory servers and allow client applications to automatically discover active WWL servers (e.g. find a english-portuguese WWL server that does full text machine translation).

You can currently find some sample ASP scripts in the Sample Code section of our site. Several developers are also working on compiled supernode applications. We are also working on hosting arrangements for the supernodes.

Upgrading existing dictionary and machine translation servers to support WWL

One of our top priorities for this summer is to recruit web dictionaries and translation servers to support basic worldwide lexicon features. Since each dictionary server is slightly different, we will not be distributing a turnkey program. Instead we are distributing sample code and tutorials that explain how to retrofit existing CGI scripts to participate in the WWL system.

These dictionary owners will be able to cut and paste this code into their existing applications, and update their current system to support WWL with minimal effort (usually two hours of programming time or less).

If you would like to contribute Sample Code for the programming or scripting language of your choice, please drop us a line. We want to make it as easy as possible for existing dictionary and machine translation server owners to add their systems to the lexicon.

Contact: Brian McConnell (

Simple Dictionary Server

Many web dictionaries are simply published as glossaries or word lists. One of the things we would like to do is to distribute a program that provides web masters with a turnkey dictionary server package. The program would provide the following basic features:

  • enable the webmaster to quickly install and configure the online
  • dictionary/thesaurus software (automatic installation)
  • process queries via a web form/cgi interface (web users)
  • process queries via WWL (WWL clients)
  • automatically register with WWL supernodes
  • import word lists from existing text files (usually tab or comma delimited)
  • support interactive WWL features (e.g. Lexicon@Home, user feedback, editor and/or automatic peer review).

This will make it easy for less sophisticated dictionary sites to publish their contents on the worldwide lexicon. Most dictionary servers provide the same basic features. An easy to install open source toolkit will encourage more people to build WWL dictionaries.

NOTE: you can find a very simple demo script in the Sample Code section of our website.

WWL Gateway Servers

These servers will present a WWL interface to client applications while talking to non-WWL dictionary servers. The gateways will enable servers running DICT and proprietary client/server protocols to participate in the WWL network without forcing their owners to upgrade their systems.

See Also

Gateway Servers (WWL and Other Dictionary Protocols)

Multilingual chat clients

There are many opportunities to integrate dictionary, encyclopedia and translation web services in chat (instant messaging) software. Jabber, an open source instant messaging system, enables developers to create their own customized chat programs by building on this open system.

We are encouraging Jabber software developers to incorporate WWL features into future versions of their applications.

For more information visit

See also

Building A Multilingual Chat Client

Lexicon@Home (distributed human computing) clients

The worldwide lexicon protocol also creates a simple mechanism for prompting internet users via instant messaging to contribute definitions, translations, and even translated texts to WWL servers that allow public submissions. Think of this as SETI@home for dictionaries.

To encourage widespread participation, we are using standard instant messaging clients to communicate with users. WWL services that wish to enlist human volunteers will simply ask volunteers to register their IM handles and notification preferences. The WWL servers will then relay requests to the clients via instant messaging. (see articles about distributed human computing and real-time queries for more information).