[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] How to Make Activity Designers Happy , Parts I and II

Gary C Martin gary at garycmartin.com
Fri Jan 2 08:06:44 EST 2009

On 2 Jan 2009, at 05:32, Bryan Berry wrote:

> There are 200-300 flash developers in Nepal and about 2 guys that have
> written pygtk apps (maybe once). The numbers are more extreme in
> Bangladesh, India, Pakistan. We can't bet on mass #'s of programmers
> suddenly becoming linux developers in order to vastly increase the #  
> of
> activities.

I've done a lot of flash development and design in the past but was  
driven away by the cost & closed nature of the IDE, and the _shocking_  
breaks in compatibility from version to version – made supporting any  
set of non trivial source code a nightmare past each version release,  
you were often better to re-write from scratch – now that's expensive...

To cut to the chase, the 200-300 flash developers in Nepal can already  
use their copies of Flash, Photoshop,  and Illustrator to create rich  
media experiences on the XO, if they want to. All they need do is  
stick to creating/exporting Flash Player 5 or perhaps Flash Player 6  
compatible swf's, avoid proprietary codecs, and do at least some  
minimal testing on an XO to make sure they haven't over cooked on the  
fancy effects so much that it's no longer usable***.

This work can be distributed right now as a .xol library bundle, or  
with some code hacking as a real activity using the same back end that  
Browse does (like the GMail and the more recent Help activity). I  
understand there is some sugar planning to make a more efficient web  
widget/canvas so that such activities can be more simply cooky-cut  
from a template/demo activity (less duplication of boiler-plate code).  
This approach also works for purely HTML/CSS/JavaScript developers.

*** very few developers actually want to design for lower end systems,  
most wants their work full of shiny, spinning, anti-alised, alpha  
composited eye candy... Achieving this AND making it perform  
efficiently is not an easy task, so most don't spend the extra time.


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