The Fabricius Tamil and English dictionary can be used both online and offline. The online version interacts with a database that runs remotely on a server at the University of Chicago. The offline version uses a database that is created on the Android device upon first download.
By default, the app operates in the online mode. In order to keep this app a reasonable size, the database loaded onto the device is smaller than the database running remotely. As a result, functionality in online/offlines modes is slightly different. For details, see sections below.
Fabricius Tamil and English allows users to conduct both headword and fulltext queries.
*Using the Fabricius Tamil and English dictionary*
The default mode for this app is to search headwords. To search for a headword, touch the search box at the top (magnifying glass icon) to expose the on-screen keyboard and begin searching. Headwords can be entered in Tamil, accented latin characters, and unaccented latin characters. For example, headword searches for உபாகமம், upākamam, or upakamam will all yield a definition about "a class of books secondary to the Agamas."
After entering three characters in the search box, a scrollable list of search suggestions will pop up. Touch the word to search for and it will automatically fill in the search field. Or ignore suggestions and enter the search term completely. To execute the search, touch the return button on the keyboard.
For fulltext searching, select the "Search all text" check box in the overflow menu (usually the three vertical dots icon at the top right corner of the screen), then enter the search term in the search box at the top. In online mode, the app will look for the search term throughout the entire database, in headwords and definitions alike. In offline mode, fulltext searches only run on the definitions. Thus, in offline mode, a fulltext search for upākamam will not yield a result because this term occurs only as a headword, and not in a definition.
Fulltext searching supports multiword searching. For example, the online search "corn rice" returns 11 results where "corn" and "rice" can be found in the same definition. Multiword searches can be executed with the boolean operators "NOT" and "OR" as well. The search "corn OR rice" returns 321 fulltext results; "corn NOT rice" returns 88 fulltext results. Again, results will be slightly different for online and offline searching.
Search results come first in a numbered list that displays the Tamil headword, the accented latin transliteration of the headword, and a chunk of the definition. To see a full definition, touch the headword link.
The full result page presents definitions in a format that allows the user to select terms to copy and paste for further dictionary searching or for conducting a web search on the term (given an internet connection). In online mode, the full result page also has a page number link that the user can click to get the full page context of the definition. Link arrows at the top of the full page allow the user to click to previous and next pages in the dictionary.
In online mode, the user can also choose to see results definitions fully transliterated. In the overflow menu (three vertical dots icon at the top right corner of the screen), simply click "Transliterated display." In offline mode, this option will disappear from the menu, as the offline mode does not support this functionality.