[IAEP] Sugar on Android via HTML5

David Farning dfarning at activitycentral.com
Fri Sep 13 13:47:42 EDT 2013

On Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 11:56 AM, Manuel QuiƱones <manuq at laptop.org> wrote:
> 2013/9/13 David Farning <dfarning at activitycentral.com>:
>> On Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 6:54 PM, John Watlington <wad at laptop.org> wrote:
>>> On Sep 10, 2013, at 5:04 PM, Sameer Verma wrote:
>>> On Thu, Sep 5, 2013 at 7:51 PM, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com> wrote:
>>>> One of the things that makes Sugar the ideal learning platform for
>>>> children (and youth) is the wonderful compatibility of so many of the
>>>> Activities ... both from Activity to Activity and from student to student.
>>>> This facilitates the sort of learning we are all hoping to see more of...
>>>> creative problem solving, project based learning and cooperative learning.
>>>> Without this ability to integrate parts of projects, it would just be
>>>> another collection of apps.
>>> I did not want to muddy the picture by injecting my own viewpoint, but now
>>> that I've heard from others (on and off list) it is clear that the split is
>>> driven by the role they play in the ecosystem.
>>> Most technologists have come up with reasons why they don't think a complete
>>> Sugar experience would work on Android. Therefore, activities must run like
>>> any other app on Android. On the other hand, as Caryl said, "Without this
>>> ability to integrate...it would just be a collection of apps".
>>> Somewhat knowing the limitations of what can be done with Sugar stuff on
>>> Android, but disregarding that for a minute, I would say that Sugar as a
>>> *platform* is an experience. It has a UI. It has a UX. Everything from the
>>> Zoom interface to the activities to the Journal is Sugar. We have taken the
>>> original "Sugar on the OLPC XO" experience and replicated that to the
>>> classmate PC, SoaS, and other spins and distros, but in none of these cases
>>> did we break the holistic Sugar experience. Now, along comes a popular OS,
>>> and because the tech parts don't fit, we are advocating breaking up the
>>> pieces and taking whatever flies. Memorize will become one of the few
>>> hundred thousand apps on Android.
>>> I disagree.
>>> It's like saying we'll do the cat sprite from Scratch, but nothing else.
>>> It's like saying we'll do the birds and pigs from Angry Birds, but not the
>>> slingshot. Sugar, without all its pieces isn't worth the trouble.
>>> Sameer,
>>>    I disagree somewhat with your thesis (and am very glad you started this
>>> discussion.)
>>> From a technological standpoint, it is actually probably easier to implement
>>> what you describe:
>>> Sugar as a monolithic Android application, which takes over the entire user
>>> interface when
>>> launched.   The reason I never considered it seriously was the larger
>>> ecosystem.
>>> The reason to move to Android from Linux is two-fold:
>>> - Chip vendors are dropping Linux support in favor of Android.   The cheap
>>> chinese ARM
>>>  vendors only support Android.
>>> - Android/iOS are where application development is happening.  There is a
>>> much larger
>>> community of Android developers than Linux or Sugar developers.
>>> The hope was to provide the infrastructure underlying Sugar (the Journal
>>> datastore and
>>> collaboration) as Android services, encouraging their use in new Android
>>> applications.
>>> In this model, the Journal is another Android application, accessing the
>>> Journal datastore service.
>>> New Sugar activities written in HTML should be capable of running in Sugar
>>> on Linux
>>> or as Android activities (although perhaps with different execution
>>> wrappers).
>>> In this manner, perhaps we can enlarge the Sugar community with developers
>>> mainly
>>> targeting Android.
>> Just to clarify:
>> 1. OLPC-A's intention is to create a HTML5+JS  framework for creating
>> Sugar Activities.
> A small correction: activities using web technologies has been
> discussed for a while in the Sugar community, and is now being
> actively implemented as part of Sugar roadmap.

Yes, This is also figures prominently in my risk analysis. It appears
that three Sugar developers are paid by OLPC: Manq, Gonzalo, and
Walter. Please correct me if I am wrong or this has changed. Is OLPC-A
in a position to commit these resources until the project is

>> 2. Sugar Activities created using this framework will run equally well
>> on both 'Sugar for linux' and Android.
>> 3. This requires two separate abstraction layers "wrapper" one for
>> Sugar on linux and one for Android.
>> 4. These abstraction layers make Sugar Services such as collaboration
>> and the journal available within the HTML5+JS framework.
>> Is there an implementation plan and roadmap available? Are there
>> sufficient resources committed to these projects to see them through
>> to completion?
>>> If we pursue Sugar as a single Android application,
>>> with embedded
>>> Python activities, we are isolating ourselves from the Android community.
>>> The danger of this approach is the loss of an integrated UX.  This could be
>>> addressed
>>> by customizing the home UI, in the same manner that the XO tablet has a
>>> custom home UI
>>> implementing the Dreams interface, but that would require "rooting" the
>>> tablet in some manner.
>>> But the native Android UI isn't that bad...
>>> Cheers,
>>> wad
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Devel mailing list
>>> Devel at lists.laptop.org
>>> http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/devel
>> --
>> David Farning
>> Activity Central: http://www.activitycentral.com
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>> Devel mailing list
>> Devel at lists.laptop.org
>> http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/devel
> --
> .. manuq ..

David Farning
Activity Central: http://www.activitycentral.com

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