[sugar] Develop activity (Oops...)

Ryan Pavlik abiryan
Mon Aug 6 19:03:02 EDT 2007

Jameson "Chema" Quinn wrote:
> Hi, this is Jameson. I'm pretty much available afternoons in Guatemala 
> (GMT-6).
> I pretty much agree with what Andrew said about i18n of the 
> programming language itself, but I have a slightly different point of 
> view. I'm interested in doing something that would be as useful as 
> possible for internationalization of programming itself, in both 
> education and real-life, *across* languages and platforms. I actually 
> agree that OLPC and Python is the coolest platform there is, and the 
> right place to start this effort - but I hope that whatever we do will 
> be generalizable beyond that niche.
> I want to get the UI right - just enough magic to do everything you 
> want, but not so much that it gets annoying. That means either being 
> very intimate with the editor's internal data structures, or being 
> very bossy from outside them. Either way, but especially in the latter 
> case, I see that when you mix dynamic changes of UI language 
> (retranslation or detranslation on the fly), dynamic changes in the 
> translation dictionary (at the module level, of course), and undo, 
> things start to get complicated. I talked to some of the AbiWord 
> developers on IRC about their data structures, and they are 
> less-than-effusive about how robust their main text data structure is 
> (their file structure is XML, but their data structure does not have 
> "end tag" elements for many tags, so they have not been able to unit 
> test that all their code respects clean heierarchical structure).
> This makes me continue to wonder if AbiWord is the right answer for 
> the editor widget for the Develop activity. Andrew has been very clear 
> with me that that is a done decision, because it will preserve a 
> common UI and allow the new collaboration functions to be used in 
> Develop. Still, if it were up to me, I'd like to consider both sides 
> of that question. To do this right, we may want something more 
> made-to-order - and maybe the collaboration is easier to add than it 
> would be to hack AbiWord into the right shape. 
It may interest you to know that the AbiWord folks are still 
concentrating on the AbiWord as a rich-text widget idea - I think Marc 
is doing work on it still (he committed a partially-working Develop 
plugin some time ago and has been working on AbiWord + Collab stuff for 
OLPC since), and we also have a Summer of Code student working on the 
libabiword issues.  As our Collab wheel has already been 
re-invented/refactored, I'd suggest that continued wheel reinvention 
might be a misuse of limited resources.


(I'm not sure what you mean about issues with our XML - we output 
through a standard XML library (libxml2 or expat) and so everything 
should be well formed.  Lack of unit tests are simply due to lack of 
people interested in programming them [high opportunity cost], not from 
any technical impossibility, as far as I know.  Our DTD is out of date, 
but again, that's an opportunity cost issue.)

Ryan Pavlik
AbiWord Win32 Platform Maintainer, Art Lead: www.abisource.com
AbiWord Community Outreach Project: www.cleardefinition.com/oss/abi/blog/

"Optimism is the father that leads to achievement."
 -- Helen Keller

"The folder structure in a modern Linux distribution such as Ubuntu
was largely inspired by the original UNIX foundations that were
created by men with large beards and sensible jumpers."
 -- Jono Bacon, The Ubuntu Guide

More information about the Sugar-devel mailing list