12 June 2011

Short intermediate news on Catroid's Google Summer of Code participation

Some statistics:

As a new project we were allocated four slots by Google – initially only two,
but later we were assigned two more after some other projects kindly
gave back some of their slots. Catroid received 180 project proposals
from 157 students. Out of these, 97 students sent us detailed, in some
cases very detailed, and very good or even excellent project proposal.
The general GSoC 2011 statistics were that out of 417 mentoring
organizations that applied, 175 were chosen by Google, out of which 50
were new compared to previous years. Only two of the 175 accepted
projects were focusing on Android. Altogether, 3731 students submitted
5474 proposals in 2011, and Google decided to fund 1116 of these
students.

There were so many interesting or even fascinating proposals among
those 180 we received that we really feel very sorry for not being
able to accommodate a much larger portion of them. As it is, we
however would probably not have been able to handle the mentoring load
of many more students. This year, we will work as hard as we can to
make it a rewarding experience for the four students we selected, so
we intend to concentrate on them and ask for the kind understanding
of all those that we could not accomodate.

Our Google Summer of Code projects are:
  • GUI optimizations
  • Internationalization of Catroid Web
  • Stand-alone app extractor
  • Sensor / Arduino integration

All of them are already well under way. The whole Catroid project is also
swiftly progressing, with one major refactoring having just been completed.
Note that the downloads on our Google code pages are not up-to-date as it mainly was internal refactoring with only little new functionality, even though there is one new "slide" brick. We are now working hard to quickly bring the GUI to a presentable state and then will announce a new release, hopefully a public beta one. Let's see.

Currently, 52 persons are actively involved in working on various
aspects of Catroid, see the Credits page for a list of names. Let me
note that this can only be coordinated by splitting up the project in many
exciting subprojects such as several involving Lego-robots, quadcopters,
or an HTML5 player etc., and by using a 100% test driven development
method where we use automated tests together with high-quality code
as the only documentation for developers, together with a bunch of other
practices from extreme programming and usability engineering.

Best regards - Wolfgang

11 January 2011

Multitouch piano project

The old Piano and Xylophon projects crashed when touching several keys at the same time even though multitouch in principle works in Catroid version 0.4.3d. These crashes were due to a bug related to a race condition when two sound files are started at exactly the same time. Until this bug is fixed, a simple workaround was to insert wait blocks with random very small amounts of wait time (5 milliseconds difference seem enough) before playing the notes. The new version is available for download at http://www.catroid.org/ as project Multitouch piano and allows to play simple piano chords with up to four fingers touching the keys at the same time (four multitouch fingers seem to be the upper limit for my HTC Desire HD). Please note that this project was developed for the 800x480 screen resolution of an HTC Desire HD etc and does not look good on Motorola Droid 2 etc as they have different screen resolutions. We work on solving this with the next release. Please also note that multitouch capabilities of Android phones differ a lot from model to model and even from firmware to firmware. Anyway, please enjoy!

Best regards - Wolfgang