The FreeDelta Environment (FDE) is a cross-platform software package for editing DELTA data files and running DELTA based programs (CONFOR, KEY, DIST, INTKEY).
This tool provides an interactive, user-friendly interface to DELTA-format files as a real DELTA data entry/maintenance program. It is possible to insert or delete items, characters, and states, without having to worry about the consistency of the DELTA files. A database-like interface makes it easy to setup and maintain the main DELTA data files (ITEMS, CHARS and SPECS), as well as several of the DELTA directives files (TONAT, TOKEY, TODIS). A spreadsheet-llike visualization facility for item and character data is also available.
It also makes possible to start all DELTA programs and create dichotomous keys for identification, natural-language descriptions, statistical reports, distance matrices, cluster and ordination analysis, etc., providing a viewer to look at and print the results (output files).
The FreeDelta Enviroment is written in Python, an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language, using the portable, cross-platform Qt interface management library, and other free external libraries also written in Python and C/C++ (PyDelta, Scipy, NumPy, Matplotlib). Therefore, the program is platform-independent, and can run without modifications on any PC compatible with the x86 architecture, under GNU/Linux, MacOS, and MS-Windows.
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The software is available from the FreeDELTA Web site at SourceForge. The source code wll also be available from GitHub. The program and documentation are contained in an executable installation package. To install, download and save the installation package in any folder on your MS-Windows computer, and start it by clicking on the installation package from the MS-Windows Explorer program. After installation, start the software by clickiing on the proper item at the Windows start menu. Executable versions for GNU/Linux and MacOS are not yet available.
A user's manual is not yet available, but the software is user-friendly and its use should be fairly intuitive.
The most important issue concerns the data file format: the FreeDelta Environment uses conventional zip-compressed files (with the .dtz extension) to store all DELTA-formatted data. At a minimum, these files must include the three basic DELTA files (CHARS, ITEMS, and SPECS) and can be created either by exporting an already existing dataset from the CSIRO Delta or ALA Delta programs and compressing them into a zip file (changing its extension to .dtz), or by using the Free Delta Environment Import option from the File menu.
If you have any problems with the software, please contact me at the email address below.
It is recommendable to join the DELTA-L discussion list for discussions and exchanging questions about the software, as well as to get information about updates and bugs.
The FreeDelta Enviroment is initially available in Engilsh, Brazilian Portuguese, and Turkish. Any interested person can provide a translation for her/his native language. No knowledge of programming is required, just a freely available and easy to use software tool as Qt Linguist or Virtaal. Please contact me for further details.
Thanks to Kemal Burak Sözenfor the translation into Turkish.
Dr. Mauro J.
P.O. Box 46521, CEP 20551-0970, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Copyright © 2000-2017
Last modified: December 30th, 2017