Guidance sought on collaboration techniques

James Simmons jim.simmons at
Fri Feb 13 11:42:03 EST 2009


Thanks for pinpointing the code I should look at.  I printed out the 
whole thing yesterday, and there's a lot to it.  It does look better 
commented than the other stuff I've been struggling with.

Just FYI its View Slides where I mean to put the collaboration stuff.  
Read Etexts currently works just like the Read activity for 
collaboration.  When another user joins the activity he gets a complete 
copy of the book.  This actually works better in Read Etexts than in 
Read, because text files are smaller than PDFs, and because my Activity 
actually saves the book in the Journal when you receive it, whereas when 
I last looked Read did not.  Where I still have problems with Read 
Etexts in terms of collaboration is:

1).  When the book is shared the person joining sees the title of the 
book.  However when the book is saved to the Journal it is given the 
title Read Etexts, not the title of the book.  I know how to change the 
title in the Journal entry, but not how to get the title of the book 
being shared.  Read seems to get this from metadata in the PDF.

2).  When I resume a book that I got from joining the book will be 
downloaded again if it is still being shared, even if there is no need 
to do so.  Also, the book I am resuming will be shared, even if I don't 
want to do that.  Once you start sharing there seems to be no way of 
turning it off.

The interest in Read Etexts is for its text to speech feature, not 
sharing.  With any luck I'll get them both working.


James Simmons

Wade Brainerd wrote:
> Hey James,
> FYI here is the collaboration code in Colors!
> It's fairly well commented but let me know if you have any questions 
> about how it works, or what you should do differently in Read Etexts.
> I totally agree that Etexts should be a killer app for the XO.
> As an aside, does anyone know if there is a manual way to force the XO 
> screen into sunlight mode?
> -Wade
> On Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 10:56 AM, James Simmons 
> <jim.simmons at <mailto:jim.simmons at>> wrote:
>     Wade,
>     I'll have to check out the code in Colors!  What I really need is
>     some sample code and some good docs on the APIs available.  What I
>     have now was copied from the Read activity, and not all of it is
>     clear to me.  If I understood what APIs were available that would
>     be a big help.  I will welcome feedback on my code once I have
>     something good enough to criticize, but I'm not there yet.
>     Thanks,
>     James Simmons
>     Wade Brainerd wrote:
>>     Hey James,
>>     I can help you out with this if you want.
>>     Your collaboration design sounds fine to me.  I did something
>>     similar in Colors! where certain parts of the UI are disabled on
>>     the joining instances.
>>     What point are you at now?  Do you need an example to get started
>>     with, or feedback about existing code, or just ideas about which
>>     APIs to use?  
>>     Best,
>>     Wade
>>     On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 4:55 PM, James Simmons
>>     <jim.simmons at <mailto:jim.simmons at>> wrote:
>>         Benjamin,
>>         I had been using two machines to develop my Activities.  One
>>         ran Xubuntu
>>         and used the sugar packages provided with the Sugar Live CD
>>         that someone
>>         made up.  These were not perfect, but it was a simpler way to
>>         set up a
>>         Sugar test environment than anything else available at the
>>         time.  My
>>         second box was running openSUSE 10.2 and I attempted to install
>>         Sugar-jhbuild on it with middling success.  I had both
>>         pointing to the
>>         Collabora server to test sharing, and what I found was the
>>         sharing
>>         through that server worked OK for small files (like Read
>>         Etexts used)
>>         but took forever for slideshows, and frequently ran out of
>>         gas in the
>>         middle of a transfer.  As for collaboration between two
>>         instances of
>>         Sugar with no jabber server between them, that never worked
>>         at all, even
>>         a little bit.
>>         As of last night both machines have Fedora 10 with the Sugar RPMs
>>         installed, so this should eliminate lots of problems I had in
>>         the past.
>>         I don't expect it to make large file transfers through the
>>         jabber server
>>         any faster, though.  Plus, in my opinion copying a file from
>>         one XO to
>>         another would be better done as a function of the Journal.
>>          It isn't my
>>         idea of what real collaboration should be.  The VNC idea, while
>>         worthwhile, doesn't excite me either.
>>         As an XO user I have no use for collaboration.  I have nobody
>>         to play
>>         with.  I could strip the collaboration code out of both my
>>         Activities
>>         and have something more than adequate for my own use.  My
>>         goal is to
>>         create Activities that will get other kids excited about
>>         using them.  My
>>         idea is a modest step in that direction.  If I get that much
>>         working
>>         other ideas may come.
>>         I would like to stick with API's that are currently available
>>         for a
>>         couple of reasons:
>>         1).  I want to use the Sugar environment in Fedora 10.  Now
>>         that I
>>         finally have a robust test environment I don't want to lose it.
>>         2).  I want to make the Activity available to the largest
>>         number of
>>         users possible.
>>         I think telepathy might do the job for me if I just understood it
>>         better.  All I'm asking it to do is send some messages to a
>>         list of
>>         buddies and have them initiate some file transfers.  Chat is
>>         already
>>         doing the first part, I think, and the Read code might be
>>         persuaded to
>>         do the second.
>>         Thanks,
>>         James Simmons
>>         _______________________________________________
>>         Devel mailing list
>>         Devel at <mailto:Devel at>

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