very simple datastore reimplementation

Eben Eliason eben.eliason at
Thu May 8 17:15:08 EDT 2008

On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 5:01 PM, Marco Pesenti Gritti <mpgritti at> wrote:
> On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 10:43 PM, Walter Bender <walter.bender at> wrote:
>> > The OLPC never encouraged her to use names for her
>>  >  documents, anyway;
>>  How so? Every activity has a field for naming the activity instance
>>  and individual documents can be named (and tagged) as in the case of
>>  the Record activity. Further, even in the current implementation of
>>  the Journal you can rename the entry and add tags.

This is all true, but even I would have to agree that there isn't
enough /emphasis/ on the matter in the current system.  Kids have to
manually switch tabs and input a name, which they rarely do (or
perhaps forget to), and naming via the Journal requires extra steps to
dig into the detail view, which isn't all that fun either.  Moreover,
the system doesn't teach kids that naming/tagging is a good thing
until its too late, and they realize that they can't search or browse
for anything in a meaningful fashion.

A similar argument can be applied to starring items.  It exists, but
there is presently no incentive to do so as we don't have automatic
(or assisted) drop-off of entries, nor do we yet have a way to so much
as filter the Journal to show only starred items.  I think we can do a
lot better at emphasizing these parts of the system in order to make
it more useful to kids.

> With traditional applications you are almost forced to provide a file
> name because you have always have to go through a file picker.
> I think Eben was playing with the idea of showing an autohiding alert
> (similar to the downloads alert in Browse) at activity startup, to
> encourage people to provide a title. This was in the context of the
> discussion about getting rid of the activity toolbar and providing
> close/share/etc in the frame instead.

Yes, we had several discussions about this idea.  The big argument
basically came between a) showing a non-modal, potentially auto-hiding
alert when creating a new activity instance and b) showing a modal
alert when stopping a new activity instance for the first time.  There
are pros and cons to both sides, but I think one or the other should
be adopted to at least put the notion of naming into kids heads.

> I think we should also do a better work at picking a title
> automatically whenever it's possible.

This is another important point!  At one point I speculated about
adding a section to the .info format for providing a suggested name.
It included the ability to insert variables such as $USER (kids name),
$INC (auto-incrementing number), etc.  This could allow default titles
like "Eben's 1st Drawing" and "Essay 4" I think that allowing even a
basic form of this (without the substitutions) would go a long way to
making the default names more reasonable (and better differentiated
from the activities themselves).

- Eben

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