[Sugar-devel] content bundles and the "OLPC Library" Browse home page

Wade Brainerd wadetb at gmail.com
Thu Mar 19 15:35:14 EDT 2009

On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:22 PM, Eben Eliason <eben at laptop.org> wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:06 PM, Gary C Martin <gary at garycmartin.com> wrote:
>> On 19 Mar 2009, at 16:58, Wade Brainerd wrote:
>>> My hope going forward is that .xol bundles merge with .xo bundles and
>>> that they become one and the same, each appearing on the Home view for
>>> example.  HTML would just be another development platform for writing
>>> Sugar activities, and what used to be non-interactive library content
>>> would become first class activities (not necessarily with interactive
>>> features, but possibly).
>> +1 This is my hope/goal also, a selection of Sugar Activity templates/
>> examples that provide a trivial path for various media types to be
>> integrated as first class Activities.
> I don't have any disagreement with making a variety of development
> platforms available for activity developers, HTML included, but I
> don't understand why this is conflated with content bundles.  As I've
> always seen them, content bundles are meant as a delivery format for
> sets or collections of content: images, sounds, books/pdfs, etc.  What
> benefit is gained by considering such a collection of objects as an
> activity?

Hey Eben,

The concept of what is "content" and what is "activity" is vague to
me, that's why I'm arguing for their merger.

A distinction I've heard is that content is "non-interactive" while
activities are "interactive".  This distinction seems like an old way
of thinking, given the possibilities for interactive textbooks etc.

Another distinction is that "content" represents nouns while
"activity" represents verbs.  Still, all but the simplest activities
represent combinations of verbs and nouns.

Let's say someone produces a "4th Grade Math" textbook for Sugar with
text, pictures, and interactive exercises.  Strictly speaking, as a
book, this should be called "content" and be hidden away in the Browse
"activity".  But what if it was called "Learn about 4th Grade Math"
and made into an activity?

Hopefully in this context what I'm talking about makes sense.


> - Eben
>> This does raise the topic of scalability for the home view (a likely
>> controversial Design Meeting on Saturday...) but having so much
>> educational content it creates a UI presentation issue, would be a
>> good UI issue to be solving :-)
>> FWIW, the current favourite view + full list view scales well in this
>> scenario; the list view as an equivalent your virtual book shelf, and
>> the favourite view as your current working set.
>> Regards,
>> --Gary
>>> There are discussions about this becoming a GSoC project, provided we
>>> get a good student to do it.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Wade
>>> On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 3:07 AM, S Page <skierpage at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> In SoaS2 I downloaded a .XOL and was able to run it from the Journal
>>>> and it unpacked into ~/Library.
>>>> But Browse doesn't show it on a library page.
>>>> User "cwhii" noticed this a while back and complained about it, Sugar
>>>> bug #1 (!), http://dev.sugarlabs.org/ticket/1 :
>>>>  I expected "OLPC Library" with a list of libraries to pick from.
>>>> That bug somehow turned into "Add support to Browse for
>>>> distro-customised start page" and was upstreamed to Ubuntu.
>>>> But Ubuntu providing a home page isn't going to bring the OLPC
>>>> Library
>>>> feature back.  I filed bug 574, http://dev.sugarlabs.org/ticket/574
>>>> "Sugar lacks OLPC's dynamic content library".  The code to rebuild a
>>>> page whenever you install a collection is in is package
>>>> olpc-library-common, it's also the same code to build the OLPC home
>>>> page from a template (more details in
>>>> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Library#Developers:_How_it_works ).  Sugar
>>>> 0.84 still expects this code: sugar-toolkit's contentbundle.py tries
>>>> to invoke /usr/share/library-common/make_index.py when you install a
>>>> .xol content bundle.
>>>> I think the existing package would do the right thing in latest Sugar
>>>> to recreate a library page.  The only wrinkle is that Browse
>>>> hardcodes
>>>> (in webactivity.py)
>>>>  _LIBRARY_PATH = '/usr/share/library-common/index.html'
>>>> as its home page, but make_index.py doesn't build this, it builds
>>>> index.html in
>>>>  output_path = '/home/olpc/.library_pages' # old but kept around
>>>> for upgrades
>>>> The latter page is hardcoded to refresh to the former, and so the
>>>> user
>>>> in Browse sees the newly-generated library page that links to her
>>>> newly downloaded content.
>>>> Although .xol collection handling is in sugar-toolkit, I think the
>>>> format and the nifty updating library page could be a general design
>>>> for content downloaded from the web, separate from Sugar.  But what
>>>> are the plans for collections and "the library" in the future?  Are
>>>> people thinking they'll be replaced by packages, or some library
>>>> metadata format?  The elusive Sj wrote
>>>> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Dynamic_library back in 2008...
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> --
>>>> =S Page
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