Thursday, July 26, 2007

Revolution in Bangla typing

I have long been waiting to learn to type in Bangla. Being brought up in Bangladesh in the earlier part of my life, I have always held a soft corner in my heart for the Bangla language. I was looking for typing software which would allow me to express my thoughts in Bangla.

I went to Dhaka and went through the shops in the famous BCS Computer City in Agargaon. The only typing software I could find was based on ‘Bijoy’ keyboard. ‘Bijoy’ keyboard is a very complex keyboard layout which would’ve taken me a long time to learn and master. I was looking for something quicker.

Few days ago, I just randomly did a search on Google on Bangla keyboards and discovered the ‘Masterpiece’. It’s the ‘Avro’ Keyboard by Omicronlab. It was available for free and I downloaded it from the link from

I was really happy to find out that the software follows English (Roman) phonetic typing rather than using a new keyboard layout. This was really helpful for me as I didn’t have to learn a new keyboard layout to type in Bangla. The keyboard provides unicode compliant typing which enables it's users to type in Bangla in virtually anywhere on the web.

I will give an example of how easy it is to type in Bangla using ‘Avro’.

If I want to type আমার’ (‘Amar’ which means ‘Mine/My’ in Bangla), all I have to type in 'Avro' is ‘Amar’ using the English keyboard layout and it would bring up the Bangla word ‘আমার’. So, I was literally typing in Bangla using my English typing skills. The ‘Avro’ keyboard layout is followed by a very informative help section which takes the beginners through the start up information and ‘how to’s.

To me, the free keyboard layout has revolutionised the Bangla typing. I have started to write my blog in Bangla. Few other websites including ‘Global Voices’ have been using the keyboard layout, enabling the Bangla bloggers from around the world to blog in Bangla.

The latest version (4.5.1) of ‘Avro’ is heavily loaded with features but some of these could be made optional as not too many people would use them anyway. Also, the software, in its process of evolution, will be able focus more on fonts, skins, converter etc. in future.

Users of 'Avro' would require Internet Explorer 7 or higher and/or Firefox 2 or higher to view the Bangla script online.


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