[Sugar-devel] Font Editor Activity || GSoC 2016

Tony Anderson tony_anderson at usa.net
Mon Apr 25 01:13:01 EDT 2016

Clearly all of the software and experience of the last 50 years is 
similarly of no value. Vive iPhone, the computer of the ages ;)

I am impressed by the focus on programming techniques for the 'wrapper' 
- be it python, javascript, java, C, Fortran. This is a very difficult 
technical application. The goals of this project: to provide a font 
editor for Sugar which can be used to introduce learners to type style 
and the traditions and conventions of typesetters is ambitious.

The argument for javascript is that an application can be developed that 
will be usable on both Sugarizer (Android) and Sugar.

I really doubt that 1% of the code would change moving from a Sugarizer 
environment to a freestanding web application.


On 04/25/2016 10:40 AM, Dave Crossland wrote:
> Hi!
> On 21 April 2016 at 19:40, Mredul Sarda <mredul.sarda at gmail.com 
> <mailto:mredul.sarda at gmail.com>> wrote:
>      am a student from a university in India applied for GSoC 2016. I
>     have applied for Font Editor Activity under mentor Dave.
> Thanks again for your proposal - I'm sorry it was not selected.
>     I have started working around with the sugar activities. Just to
>     mention that I found working with sugarizer more easier, I would
>     prefer working on this web based activity if given a choice.
>     However, Sugar Activities are more widespread among the education
>     community so it might be a better option to start with. It would
>     be great to have some opinions from the core Sugar Community about
>     how do they look into the future of this activity. It is important
>     that we are clear about our choices before starting.
> For me personally, I am not too biased towards python or javascript... 
> I must admit that prefer writing python programs and using javascript 
> ones ;)
> Well, for this project, it is simple: The coding mentor for the 
> project, Eli, is more interested in Python, so I suggest that the Font 
> Editor activity be written in Python.
> But generally, I think that to decide if a new Activity should be in 
> python or js, it is wise to the end users must be kept in mind. It 
> seem that the majority of Sugar users are using the XO laptop, and 
> today there are very few users of Sugarizer (although no one really 
> knows how many there are, but it surely can not be over 10,000, 
> whereas it seems to me personally likely that there are still 10,000 
> active Sugar users.)
> Mobile is going up up up right now, and at the moment, the Sugar 
> community has developed Sugarizer as a way to bring Sugar Activity 
> designs to any child who wants to learn with them... But it still in a 
> relatively early stage. So it is probably best to write a standalone 
> web application for kids, that can be packaged for Android, iOS and 
> Sugar; Jamie's decision to do this seems instructive.
> Even for the world's children, per 
> http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2014/10/28/presentation-mobile-is-eating-the-world, 
> "mobile is eating the world" and desktops and laptops are in terminal 
> decline:
> Inline images 2
> You don't hear this term much any more, but when I was a boy (I'm 33 
> now) then the term for a "desktop" before the 90s "wintel" era was a 
> "micro-computer." (In fact this is where the company name "Microsoft" 
> originates from; initially that company was called "Micro-soft" ;)
> This name made sense in the 70s and 80s because back then, the 
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minicomputer was as dominant and 
> professional and serious and productive as desktop/laptops are today; 
> like the PCs in the above graph, they ran a curve up from the mid 60s 
> to the mid 70s, and when were at their peak, the earliest 
> micro-computers were kind of silly - 
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_I is from 76, just look at it :)
> But then mini-computers were in terminal decline, down to the late 90s 
> when less savvy people spent a lot of money bailing out their failing 
> dot com start up's crappy software by using their VC money to buy 
> bigger mini-computers ;) Meanwhile more savvy people built server 
> farms out of GNU servers on cheap commodity PC hardware; the reason 
> Google's brand colors are what they are is because the first server 
> racks for those cheap PC motherboards were made out of the similarly 
> colourful lego bricks ;) And now today, minicomputers are totally 
> gone, I think - although mainframes persist. Maybe someone here knows 
> of minicomputers in use today? :D
> Anyway. The point is that all desktops and laptops - from Windows on 
> down - are going away, and likely much faster than minicomputers went 
> away. So I don't think it makes much sense to invest too much in 
> desktop systems, no matter what language they are written in.
> About 3 years ago I helped initiate an 'advanced' font editor project, 
> that started in Python, and then after a year of prototyping, was 
> restarted in JavaScript and worked on by a small team 
> (http://www.metapolator.com). It still isn't really useful, and partly 
> that's because so little existing font editor libraries existed in 
> JavaScript, so the team had to write a lot of 'foundational' parts 
> themselves. We understood at the time we'd be moving our starting 
> position back, and today a lot of the foundational parts needed for a 
> web based font editor now exist :) At the time I explained why we 
> chose JavaScript/web-platform in 
> https://github.com/metapolator/metapolator/wiki/faq#why-is-metapolator-a-web-tool 
> But in learning about the history of OLPC and Sugar, I have been quite 
> astonished to learn about Squeak and EToys. I think it would be 
> exciting to write a font editor in Squeak, and it seems Squeak is very 
> capable of running on any platform - even inside web browsers.
> So, Mredul, since in a prior private email you said you won't be able 
> to contribute to the effort with out the GSOC funding, I do recommend 
> spending some time learning about Squeak. I think you'll get a lot of 
> value out of it :)
>     I was going through TruFont app to identify the basic features and
>     icons for the Sugar Activity. I understand that the pencil in
>     their case itself has the Bezier Curves Algorithm implemented.
>     However I feel that it should be separately implemented with
>     another icon to twist the line drawn using the algorithm.
> Yes, I agree, there should be a tool for adding points, a tool for 
> moving points, and a tool for removing points.
>     Secondly, I think we should put up lines or grids, so as to
>     accurately place the characters and glyphs and better finishing.
> I agree, although the guidelines should not be square, like graph 
> paper, but rather based on horizontal alignments and on vertical 
> 'cadence.'
>     These are some small level improvisations possible. I am thinking
>     more on the lines of Paint Activity with more control over the
>     position and dimensions of glyphs.
> (Paint is a raster graphics application, whereas fonts are vectors.)
>     I have locally tried to edit the Paint Sugar Activity according to
>     our requirements because many of the basic features remain exactly
>     same. I would like to have inputs from the Sugar Community on the
>     concerns and suggestions mentioned above.
>     Looking forward for your reply.
> Me too :)
> -- 
> Cheers
> Dave
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> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
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