A lot of debate already exists out there on which keyboard is the better one when it comes to typing in Bangla. There are two options among typing software. On one hand, you have Bijoy, the first software created to facilitate Bangla typing for our computers. And on the other hand, you have Avro.
Bijoy revolutionised Bangla typing and was immediately accepted by the masses as standard. For some time, it was the only name in town.
Avro made typing in Bangla a whole lot easier with its phonetic input. You no longer needed a fixed keyboard layout like that used by Bijoy, to type in Bangla. All you had to was spell out the Bangla word in English and its phonetic representation was on computer screen in Bangla.
Avro also supported the fixed layout model. However, the popularity it had gained was because of its phonetic one.
Now we come to the debate – which one is better?
As mentioned, Bijoy is the standard preference when it came to Bangla word processing. It is widely used in government offices, legal firms, and many other organisations. The Bangla publishing industry, importantly, are users of Bijoy as well. The people working in these places are quite used to its layout, and thanks to the software’s widespread use in such places, it became the standard it is today.
Avro on the other hand, was a program more preferred by those who did not need to learn the Bijoy layout, a comparatively younger crowd. In recent times, because of it being open source, there has been instances of using Avro in government organisations to reduce cost for large scale projects, notably by the Election Commission for national ID data collection purposes nearly a decade back, according to an article in The Daily Star titled “An amazing journey from Shahid Lipi to Avro” from April 28, 2010. However, Bijoy is still miles ahead in terms of usage in professional work, especially the publication industry.
Besides, Avro was also the go to place if you needed to write in Bangla over the internet, which was something Bijoy could not do until more recently.
Despite its popularity, Avro has a few drawbacks.
Firstly, phonetic typing is not that flexible at times. You will often find yourself struggling to get a word or even a letter right just because you are unable to grasp its phonetics. Secondly, Avro does have the tendency to misbehave on certain software, like Adobe Photoshop.
Last but not the least, Avro and Bijoy are not compatible with one another. When you are viewing certain official documents/older documents in doc files, you will need the Bijoy software as these documents usually use this layout.
These wars don’t need a winner, if you ask me. There’s room for both these keyboards on the desk.