[sugar] Pippy and Calculate

Reinier Heeres reinier
Wed Sep 5 07:00:50 EDT 2007


Yoshiki Ohshima wrote:
>   Reinier,
>   Firstly, I apologize if my first email sounded too harsh to you.
> (It definitely didn't mean to be personal.)
That's alright, I could have phrased it a little differently as well 
actually! I just think the two activities are suited for different 
things. Calculate is now more focussed on collaboration than the 
previous version, and the interface aims to resemble a calculator and 
expose the user to mathematics directly. Maybe I can include some extra 
educational features as well, like a help() command that explains things 
about functions. Pippy, for now, looks (to me) like a one-person 
activity, although I can imagine inclusion of a similar 'output-history' 
window to integrate the collaboration aspect.

On the other hand, I was thinking about allowing user-written functions 
in Calculate as well. I guess part of the success of the TI89 style 
calculators is that children can program stuff for it. In the end, 
Calculate functionality might overlap a little with Pippy. However, some 
overlap should not be a problem: for example, I designed Calculate so 
that it's easy to implement arbitrary precision math in the future. The 
end-user will never have to adjust to this underlying change, and can 
just continue to think about the relevant aspect of the activity: math.

>> Being the main Calculate developer, I don't agree on your opinion about 
>> Calculate. I think it deserves to be a separate activity. It's true that 
>> it was a little underdeveloped lately, but that was mainly because I was 
>> on a (long) holiday. The last couple of days have produced major 
>> improvements in Calculate: tab-completion of variable names, copy-paste, 
>> journal support, etc. (not sure if it made it into the build yet, did a 
>> release though: http://rwh.corps.nl/Calculate-7.xo). More new features 
>> are coming, for example I just started working on a plot() function (an 
>> obviously useful extension), which I estimate to be functioning 
>> somewhere next week.
>   It was not so much as Calculate is underdeveloped or not, I
> think. (Almost every end-user software including Etoys is
> underdeveloped). But looking at the similarity of Pippy and Calculate,
> for example the plot feature you are making could be beneficial for
> both, right?  And, you would wish to have a calculator whose syntax is
> closer to Python, right?
I'm not sure. I think the main goal is to have the syntax as close to 
(written) math as possible.
>> There seem to be some performace issues with Calculate on the XO. I 
>> haven't been able to profile these yet, but I expect them to be related 
>> to the way the application is shared (basic sharing should be 
>> functioning). This problem has the highest priority now...
>   Yes.  I filed a bug report for it.  The length of old expressions
> seems to be strongly affecting the performance.
>> The equation parser I wrote isn't perfect yet either, although in 
>> general it does a pretty good job at parsing simple as well as more 
>> complex expressions. Please file bug reports if you notice weird behavior...
>   Yes.  I did it, too.  It must be something to do with an error within
> parenthesis.
I saw that and fixed it, thanks :-)
> -- Yoshiki

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