#rdc2009 Hacker Wednesdays – Testing The UI

Greetings! The Rural Design Collective has been busy getting our final revision of the code ready for production. We have been doing a great deal of work testing the user interface on the XO and on the web, streamlining the HTML, commenting our code, and debugging our various libraries (and it even validates using the W3C Validator!). This is all in preparation for our documentation effort that will take place over the next couple of weeks. We have a few more workflow and functionality improvements planned (like cleaning up our URLs), but we will officially freeze the code soon for a release at the end of October.

Steven and Scotty have been working together to create a completely localized version of the collection for the sticks using the new genCollectionInterface tool. The biggest hurdle to overcome is presenting the user interface initially when the stick is inserted into the XO, and delivering the metadata before the book is opened in the Journal. In the meantime, we also developed an online version of the user interface that utilizes a streamlined version of the Internet Archive bookreader (also known as the embeddable bookreader). This bookreader interface works amazingly well on the XO and fits neatly on the screen. We also optimized the collection interface for viewing on the XO – we strongly encourage you to view it on a little green machine if you can (it looks a bit bare in a web browser – but wonderful on the XO … see the screenshots below!). We still have a bit of tweaking to do, but we are quite pleased with the results!

Additional Screenshots: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ]. We worked diligently to provide an “XO-friendly” interface that accommodates the native elements in the Sugar UI. We are still tweaking some navigational issues, and resolving screen resolution on the XO – but we are pleased with the results!

It is possible to generate either version of the user interface using the genCollectionInterface tool with minor modifications to the code. Right now, we are trying to reach consensus as a team on how much crossover there should be between the online and local versions.

Levi has polished up his public domain icon set, creating one that is Sugar-friendly. We are exploring how to finesse the resolution in Sugar, given the fact that the XO browser renders the pages using 134 DPI. We are also researching to see if there are any standard naming conventions for Sugar icons so we can appropriately name and format the icons for the various states (on, off, hover) so developers can get right to work. We invite other Sugar developers to use these icons in their applications to represent categories of public domain books, and we will be improving the collection in the future – including giving developers an outlet for feedback so we can improve the set. This will also be explained in our documentation. Stay tuned!

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