The Dexter tools
Dexter currently includes two tools (really three, if you count the search tool that is accessed from within the Dexter Coder). These are described briefly below and illustrated with screenshots.
The Dexter Coder
The central tool is the Dexter Coder, which displays your document nicely in a window and allows you to define and add annotations to the document. These annotations, called "codes", may represent anything you like; what you study is entirely up to you. The codes are displayed as colored highlights in the document, and each type of code may be shown or hidden.
With the Coder's search tool you can perform complex searches of the codes, the text, and any document metadata. All annotations are saved in a separate XML file, a technique known as stand-off markup. This allows you to perform an infinite number of analyses on a single document (though we don't recommend an infinite number) without changing the document itself.
The Dexter Converter
The other tool currently in the Dexter suite is the Dexter Converter, a powerful conversion tool that converts your documents into the XML format that the Coder requires, dubbed DexML. Your documents may start out either as plain text or as another form of XML, and the Converter will walk you through the conversion to DexML, which is compliant with the P4 guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative.
The second most interesting thing about the Dexter Converter is that it analyzes your document and figures out many of its properties itself, so that you don't have to make as many decisions when doing a conversion (though you may override its choices). The most interesting thing is that during the conversion, it employs an interactive error-correction process; if it finds an error in your transcript, it will show it to you and allow you to make corrections on the spot, so it can continue the conversion. This process usually works well, though we are still making improvements to it.