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I don't understand Duo's App/Web policy

I thought courses were on a platform and the website/apps accessed them. But apparently Japanese works on the phone but not on PC. So, which of these is true?

  1. The Website isn't going to be catered to in future
  2. The phone apps are not as good at teaching languages so the PC one needs more time
  3. Duo is trying to push people onto an app on a tiny device rather than a large comfortable screen

Anyway, I can't understand how a skill tree is ready for an app but not the PC.

June 8, 2017



The coding and programming of the apps is done separately from the website. Japanese was highly anticipated so they opted to put out what they had ready rather than make everyone wait for it to all be finished.


But if they are using the same skill tree (which I believe they are), then surely the course is ready for all platforms? Whatever works on phone should be on PC too?


It is not that simple, to put Japanese on the website would need server side coding and client side coding to be developed. The coding for iOS and more recently the Android app was completed but it will take much longer on the website because they are completely rewiting the website using newer technology.


I don't really understand either. The reverse course (English from Japanese) works fine, so I don't get why the Japanese from English course requires all this special coding that everyone keeps going on about.

This course actually works pretty decent on web already. It was pretty decent when I started using it on web over a month ago.

The only things web seems to be lacking behind on:

  • It doesn't teach hiragana, katakana, and kanji separately. I think those things are on the app(?), but they are not on the website at all. Those might require extra coding to put onto the web? But I'm not personally interested in having this feature at all.

And that's pretty much it as far as I can tell..

I think the answer to your question is mainly #2.

The app uses click-the-boxes-in-the-right-order for answering in Japanese. So it's really quick and simple for them to account for the different answer possibilities... (often there is only one correct combination of boxes).

But the website doesn't use this. On the website you're actually required to type the sentences properly in Japanese. This means there can be hundreds of different possible correct alternative answers to account for, thanks to the complex Japanese writing system.


This thread (particularly the first "reply") probably remain the most comprehensive explanation out there of why the existence of an English for Japanese tree by no means meant that Japanese for English was possible without a lot of additional software development.


We'll have to take their word for it. My experience has been that although the trees are the same on the app and website, the exercises you get are somewhat different. For example, the app has matching exercises and the website does not. In addition to all the visible differences, there will be underlying differences that need to be addressed as has already been mentioned. The only remedy for now is to use the app or be patient.


It seems to have been one of the core objectives of the Japanese course to teach the writing systems (obviously with only very basic kanji). This general area has been in a thorn in the side of course developers having to teach non-Latin scripts for a long time. For the Japanese course, it seems they've finally done something about it. However, the modality for doing so is lots of matching exercises, no counterpart of which exists on the web. I assume that implementing this new question type (or some analogue) is the cause of the delay in bringing Japanese there. As testmoogle said, it's the only part of the app version that's not on the web already, and that's been the case for a couple months at least.


The thing is, non-latin scripts are going to be a problem anyway. Whether mobile or PC, one needs to get a notebook and practice writing them if they're any serious about the language. You can't learn a script without writing it.


Sure, but there's still a big difference between being able to understand and not being able to understand at all the digital written form.


In order of correctness: Duo is trying to push people onto an app on a tiny device rather than a large comfortable screen, The phone apps are not as good at teaching languages so the PC one needs more time, The Website isn't going to be catered to in future


I have to think Duolingo is perfectly happy to have people on the website. It has ads now, and undoubtedly people will use the website for longer periods, so they can see more of them.


There seem to be other advantages to using the app rather than the website (I'm not sure what), but many other services/websites insist on apps.


There are more people using the app than people using the website. (~85% app users, ~15% website users) So, it is logical to make the course working on the app first, especially if it is (was) the most requested course in the five-year history of Duolingo.


But as a course contributor it's also important to know how these things work, because if they plan to release these lessons on mobile first, then it's obviously not the same thing.


More people use apps, and for pc you need to type out the words in romaji or kana/kanji?

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