[Sugar-devel] SWF Sugar

Bryan Berry bryan at olenepal.org
Mon Mar 23 01:18:19 EDT 2009

Better integrating GNASH w/ Sugar would be great but I argue that time
spent on integrating javascript +html5 w/ Sugar would get a many times
higher rate of return.

A lot of work is being done to develop filesystem API and network API's
for javascript by the Titanium team and the Google Gears folks. Palm is
betting the company on its new WebOS for the Palm Pre where are all
"activities" (ironic they use that name) are done w/ js + html5. 

Conversely, to my knowledge there is not the same momentum w/in the
open-source community to extend gnash or swfdec access to the filesystem
and network resources. I have also talked w/ the Adobe AIR project
manager and he was not interested in extending the proprietary Adobe AIR
to work w/ Sugar. 

In short, there are a lot more open-source projects working on extending
the javascript API on linux than those extending the Flash API.

Here is a detailed project plan for creating a proof-of-concept Sugar
activity w/ Javascript and html5. I personally prefer using titanium
over embedding all of mozilla for the sake of running a relatively small
activity. I like Titanium because it is a collection of existing
open-source projects: webkit, v8 javascript compiler, google gears, plus
a few others. I have yet to run titanium on the XO, so I may actually
find that it is less resource efficient than firefox. I will have to



Create a proof-of-concept learning multimedia Sugar activity using
javascript and html5 (for instance, Titanium-made apps). This activity
should have animation, audio, persistent storage of user progress, and
at least basic integration with the Sugar environment. 

JavaScript/Python Communication through the following strategies:
PyXPCom, hulahop, xulrunner or Titanium. see also the mailing list
discussion. The preferred solution should use a minimalist rendering
engine like Webkit and a toolset for local file access like Google
Gears. Such a solution would have much less overhead than embedding all
of mozilla.

      * Ideally, develop a demo activity which could be used as a
        template for sugarizing AJAX activities. The GSoC participant
        doesn't have to create her own activity but could simply
        recreate an existing activity such as one of OLE Nepal's flash
      * This demo should have the following features: 
              * Simple interactive animation and audio using html5 tags
                like <canvas> and <audio>
              * An assessment section that stores results of student's
                progress and gives them suggestions on improvement.
                Assessment info should be persistent. 
              * Has embedded pdf for lesson plan that can be viewed w/in
                the activity
              * Integrates with datastore
              * Navigation and Help elements, ideally reusing widgets
                from popular javascript libraries like Jquery,
                Prototype, Mootools
              * Some element of collaboration using telepathy (This
                could be really hard, depending on the state of
                javascript bindings to dbus)

There is some discussion of the prior work on this question at

      * Priority for Sugar: Very High ("never bet against the browser")
      * Difficulty (as a GSoC project): medium/hard Note: integrating w/
        the datastore likely won't be too hard but utilizing Sugar's
        collaboration features could be very hard
      * Skills needed: Javascript/Python integration (PyXPCom, hulahop),
        CSS, knowlege of SQL
      * potential mentors: Wade Brainerd (wadetb at gmail dot com),
        Bryan Berry (bryan at olenepal dot org) can serve as project
        manager, define requirements and project deliverables

On Sun, 2009-03-22 at 13:45 -0500, David Farning wrote:
> 009/3/21 Felipe López Toledo <zer.subzero at gmail.com>:
> > Hi.
> >
> > I have been reading your wiki, first of all, I have to say you: great
> > work!, keep doing it!.
> >
> > I want to help. My name is Felipe López Toledo, I'm a flash developer
> > for last 6 years and I'm interested in participating in gsoc 2009 with
> > this project:
> >
> > Copy + paste from you project list:
> >>  SWF Sugar
> >>   * Integrate SWF (Flash/Gnash) applications into Sugar.
> >>   * Ideally, develop a demo activity which could be used as a template for sugarizing Flash/Gnash activities.
> >>   * Priority for Sugar: Very High ("never bet against the browser")
> >>   * Difficulty (as a GSoC project): hard
> >>   * Skills needed: SWF/Python integration
> >
> > Jameson Quinn told me about the problems that exist with the adobe
> > player (license), so I understand the use of gnash.
> > well,  I the idea is to develop a "template for activities"?
> > I imagine a "framework" with special *sugarized* features that permit
> > to design / develop fast and complex sugar applications in a easy way,
> > where the developer can be more involved with functionality rather
> > than gnash support.
> This sounds great!  The biggest win is the large number of developers,
> like you, who are familiar with SWF and Flash development.  Being able
> to author activities and content in an already known language will
> reduce the barrier to entry to new developers.
> > could anyone give more info?
> Tony and Bryan (CCed), both from the Nepal OLPC deployment have given
> this the most thought.  I don't know if SWF will represent the final
> answer to this question.  There are several other frameworks under
> development.
> Any progress you could make this summer, would also apply to other
> frameworks if they prove more suitable.
> Personally, I am betting that if Sugar Labs can raise the viability of
> gnash and SWF in the education space, it won't take long for the gnash
> developers to ramp up their development pace.
> Gnash's challenge is that  no one _needs_ gnash.  Hard core developers
> and freedom advocates can get along just fine without a SWF players.
> Casual users can install Flash and it just works.
> By incorporating Gnash into sugar we create a class of users
> (currently 1 million students and developers) supported by a group of
> admins (school IT departments) for whom downloading Flash from a third
> party is 'itchy.'  Never bet against the itch:)
> david
> > what features would you like to see in this application?.
> >
> > Thanks in advance.
> >
> > Felipe.
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
> > http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel
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Bryan W. Berry
Technology Director
OLE Nepal, http://www.olenepal.org

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