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[XPOST] [REQ] open source multimedia authoring tools? In python maybe?

 
 
stefanogaburri
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      11-05-2003
This is crossposted to comp.lang.python & comp.multimedia; if there is a
better place to go please tell me

I've been asked to build a quick-and-dirty prototype of a simple
computer-based training application. You know, those multimedia thingies
with text, some videos, a bit of speech and quizzes at the end of the
unit...

I've been proposed to build a new reusable architecture using Macromedia
Director: the reason being, Macromedia Authorware costs too much.
Well, I found on the web a lot of tools that cost $100-200 and probably
allow me to build such a simple app with a wizard or something like
that; but what surprised me is the lack of an open source toolkit or a
set of classes to help in the definition of a task that has become very
trivial (at least in simple cases like mine). I know the varios GUI
toolkits, but they're too low-level; I would have to build the system
more or less from scratch.

So, what i'm asking is: Am I missing something? Is there a fabled "Zope
for CD authoring" I never heard about? If it's indeed missing, i could
start building some simple classes and share them with, like, anyone
interested

I could use something like, say, PythonCard and ZODB, trying to define
clearly an high-level framework to allow the rapid construction of
simple multimedia e-learning apps. That is, if you don't point me to the
guys that already did it, of course...

thanks a lot to everyone reading so far,
Stefano

 
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Miika Keskinen
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      11-06-2003

> So, what i'm asking is: Am I missing something? Is there a fabled "Zope
> for CD authoring" I never heard about? If it's indeed missing, i could
> start building some simple classes and share them with, like, anyone
> interested
>
> I could use something like, say, PythonCard and ZODB, trying to define
> clearly an high-level framework to allow the rapid construction of
> simple multimedia e-learning apps. That is, if you don't point me to the
> guys that already did it, of course...


First of all PyGame comes to my mind. There are several high-level
gui-toolkits based on or built on top of PyGame. Alltough using different
media formats is mostly trivial. You're right there isn't such tool as
director (or at least afaik). Building such on top of PyGame should not be
nevertheless too hard.

I just wanted to raise this opportunity

--
Miika
 
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email9898989@yahoo.com
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      11-06-2003
stefanogaburri <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<bobusm$1bv5gd$(E-Mail Removed)-berlin.de>...
> I've been asked to build a quick-and-dirty prototype of a simple
> computer-based training application. You know, those multimedia thingies
> with text, some videos, a bit of speech and quizzes at the end of the
> unit...


Your cheapest/simplest option would be to make it web-based. Use HTML
for the text, with embedded mpeg or quicktime (not free) videos and
wav sound files. For the quiz, use PHP scripting. See Moodle or
Tiki, or search for PHP-based quiz engine.

If you absolutely have to have it run off a CD, there are some
non-free tools to make PHP applications run from a CD:
http://circle.ch/blog/p661.html

Otherwise, another free option would be to use java and the java media
framework to play videos.

Or, you can use python for the app/quiz tool, and to play videos just
launch the video file so that it opens in the user's movie player or
browser, but you cannot play the video inside your python app.
 
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stefanogaburri
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      11-06-2003
Miika Keskinen wrote:

> First of all PyGame comes to my mind.


Very right, I actually thought of pygame - not much for the GUI (it's
pretty trivial anyway) but to facilitate multimedia playback via the SDL
layer. I had just forgotten to mention it... thanks!

ciao
S

 
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stefanogaburri
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      11-06-2003
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:

> Your cheapest/simplest option would be to make it web-based. Use HTML
> for the text, with embedded mpeg or quicktime (not free) videos and
> wav sound files. For the quiz, use PHP scripting. See Moodle or
> Tiki, or search for PHP-based quiz engine.


yeah, I had considered making it browser-based, but it absultely has to
run off a CD - besides, I'm afraid of incompatibilities... the final
product never seems to run right on different browsers/systems, and
making sure the plugins are right is a pain.

> If you absolutely have to have it run off a CD, there are some
> non-free tools to make PHP applications run from a CD:
> http://circle.ch/blog/p661.html


mmmh, interesting. With Apache and mySQL auto-runnable I could even try
to dump an intere Zope thingie on a CD... but for now I'm gonna stick to
the other solution, my client wants a more-or-less reusable platform and
I think he'll feel better with a more "standard" app.

> Otherwise, another free option would be to use java and the java media
> framework to play videos.


that's another idea...

> Or, you can use python for the app/quiz tool, and to play videos just
> launch the video file so that it opens in the user's movie player or
> browser, but you cannot play the video inside your python app.


this is quite ugly, although effective; I'd do it but the final client
(an university) would find it undoubtely "too cheap" - also, it's bound
to give installation/portability problems unless you install every
possibile used tool, and I'd rather have something like SDL/pygame take
care of that layer...

thanks a lot,
Stefano

 
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Kevin Ollivier
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      11-06-2003
Hi,

I'm working on just what you are asking for. =) It's called
EClass.Builder and it basically is for creating HTML-based e-learning
modules for delivery via Internet/CD-ROM. It's built using wxPython,
and while it currently does the basic stuff (lets you add
audio/video/etc. into web pages), it has some nice features like
full-text indexing and basic auto-grading quiz support. In the future
I want to move more into Internet-enabled courses that leverage
PHP/MySQL.

Best of all, it's extensible - if you wanted to add a 'plugin' for
building photo albums (or maybe a 'slide builder'), you could. If you
wanted to build a theme for your courses, you could - all without
editing the main program. I'd love to hear from the techies about the
program - currently I am working on it myself for the most part. (My
end users are currently mostly professors, no Python programmers!) It
is a work in progress, but the core is there - mostly it needs more
plugins, better HTML editing support (it uses Mozilla/wxMozilla as a
rich text editor using the Web Page plugin) and support for more
advanced templating.

Check it out at:

http://www.eclass.net

BTW, if you don't mind playing with the latest and greatest software,
you can get the latest beta at:

http://www.eclass.net/Downloads/eclass-builder2.5b3.exe

The documentation is a bit sparse and outdated, so I'd encourage you
to explore the program and try some things. =) Please let me know what
you think! I'm working on a redesign of the site and documentation
which I will post in the next couple weeks or so. You can sign up on
the (E-Mail Removed) mailing list if you're
interested in being kept up to date.

Thanks,

Kevin

On Wed, 05 Nov 2003 23:50:58 +0100, stefanogaburri
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>This is crossposted to comp.lang.python & comp.multimedia; if there is a
>better place to go please tell me
>
>I've been asked to build a quick-and-dirty prototype of a simple
>computer-based training application. You know, those multimedia thingies
>with text, some videos, a bit of speech and quizzes at the end of the
>unit...
>
>I've been proposed to build a new reusable architecture using Macromedia
> Director: the reason being, Macromedia Authorware costs too much.
>Well, I found on the web a lot of tools that cost $100-200 and probably
>allow me to build such a simple app with a wizard or something like
>that; but what surprised me is the lack of an open source toolkit or a
>set of classes to help in the definition of a task that has become very
>trivial (at least in simple cases like mine). I know the varios GUI
>toolkits, but they're too low-level; I would have to build the system
>more or less from scratch.
>
>So, what i'm asking is: Am I missing something? Is there a fabled "Zope
>for CD authoring" I never heard about? If it's indeed missing, i could
>start building some simple classes and share them with, like, anyone
>interested
>
>I could use something like, say, PythonCard and ZODB, trying to define
>clearly an high-level framework to allow the rapid construction of
>simple multimedia e-learning apps. That is, if you don't point me to the
>guys that already did it, of course...
>
>thanks a lot to everyone reading so far,
>Stefano


 
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email9898989@yahoo.com
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      11-06-2003
> > Or, you can use python for the app/quiz tool, and to play videos just
> > launch the video file so that it opens in the user's movie player or
> > browser, but you cannot play the video inside your python app.

>
> this is quite ugly, although effective; I'd do it but the final client
> (an university) would find it undoubtely "too cheap" - also, it's bound
> to give installation/portability problems unless you install every
> possibile used tool, and I'd rather have something like SDL/pygame take
> care of that layer...


I forgot to mention, if it can be Windows-only, you can embed Internet
Explorer in your wxPython app and play the videos with it. See
ActiveXWrapper_IE in the wxpython demo.

David Woods also figured out a way to play video in wxPython using an
ActiveX interface to ActiveMovie on the Windows side and a
Carbon/Quicktime wrapper for the Mac side:
http://www2.wcer.wisc.edu/Transana/Develop
See the video_mac.py and video_msw.py files here:
http://cvs.sourceforge.net/viewcvs.p.../transana/src/
 
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stefanogaburri
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      11-06-2003


Kevin Ollivier wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I'm working on just what you are asking for. =) It's called
> EClass.Builder and it basically is for creating HTML-based e-learning
> modules for delivery via Internet/CD-ROM.


Yay! It'll save me some hand-coding
Seriously, I'd love to check it out and maybe contribute; I'm gonna
subscribe now to the mailing list; I'll see you there...

I wonder why I didn't find it on sourceforge? I tried every possible
keyword from "authoring" to "CBT" to "e-learning" but Eclass didn't come
out. Oh well, that's what USenet is for I guess (besides flame wars, of
course)

thanks,
S


 
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stefanogaburri
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-06-2003
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:

> I forgot to mention, if it can be Windows-only, you can embed Internet
> Explorer in your wxPython app and play the videos with it. See
> ActiveXWrapper_IE in the wxpython demo.


interesting - besides the fact that this and the Acrobat wrapper don't
seem to work on my machine

> David Woods also figured out a way to play video in wxPython using an
> ActiveX interface to ActiveMovie on the Windows side and a
> Carbon/Quicktime wrapper for the Mac side:


ok, I'll try to find the time to check them out, although Kevin's
E.Class Builder above seems more promising right now... thanks again,

SG

 
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Kevin Ollivier
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      11-06-2003
On Thu, 06 Nov 2003 19:45:16 +0100, stefanogaburri
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
>
>Kevin Ollivier wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>> I'm working on just what you are asking for. =) It's called
>> EClass.Builder and it basically is for creating HTML-based e-learning
>> modules for delivery via Internet/CD-ROM.

>
>Yay! It'll save me some hand-coding
>Seriously, I'd love to check it out and maybe contribute; I'm gonna
>subscribe now to the mailing list; I'll see you there...
>
>I wonder why I didn't find it on sourceforge? I tried every possible
>keyword from "authoring" to "CBT" to "e-learning" but Eclass didn't come
>out. Oh well, that's what USenet is for I guess (besides flame wars, of
>course)


Bad choice of keywords on my part, I guess. =) I realized I used
"learning" instead of "e-learning" and "building" (since it's called
EClass.Builder) instead of "authoring". I wish SF would let you
specify keywords separately, because it's hard to write a short
description that includes a majority of the keywords users would
search for. But it was categorized under "Computer Assisted
Instruction".

Seriously, I'm glad that I found another Python programmer with the
same area of interest - I think it's an area that badly needs an open
source alternative to what is out there. Educators aren't really the
types to have bundles of cash to spend on development!

Thanks,

Kevin
 
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