How do component- and stroke-based input methods work?
IME’s based on components and strokes work by using the shape of a character, rather than romanization of its pronunciation. Users learn keys or key combinations for basic strokes and common component chunks of Chinese characters, or choose strokes and/or components by clicking on items in a palette. Once the user has made a selection of character components, the IME seeks to identify characters in the repertoire matching those criteria. In this respect, component-based input is rather like a regular expression search, which can be as loose or as tight as the IME allows. Component and stroke input methods share, in some regards, the idea of a syntax for a systematic graphic description of Chinese characters, similar to that of Unicode Ideographic Description Characters. (See The Unicode Standard, Version 5.2, Ideographic Description, Chapter 12.) However, practical input methods are optimized to make it easier for the user to memorize the required key sequences and to minimize the numb