Status Report #1

Today I’m exposing to you the current state of the work done on the different AOS sub-projects. Keep in mind that even if lot of code and docs have been written, this is still work in progress that should get us to something usable in a not so far future. To this day the development is a one-man-army effort but I hope that contributions will come to help soon.

AOS Designer (with AOSLCPP)

AOS Designer, our sequence montage tool, isn’t ready to be used yet but it’s code base will soon reach the point where the overall architecture and direction get stable.

In fact the current code can already read and expose informations from sequences ( AOSL files), and can even create and open “projects”, that are groups of sequences put together in the same work space.
There are two missing “views” in Designer: the Story View (that shows how the different stages of the sequence are linked, as a graphic graph) and the Canvas View (that shows the content of the canvas at some stage when you go a specific path through the story).
Once a basic version of these “views” are ready, AOS Designer 0.1 will be released -even if it’s not useful yet. Then from this point we will have a solid base of code reading sequences visually and we will begin to add edition tools to modify the sequence one by one.
From this version, non-programmers will be able to test technically this tool, give feedbacks and propose improvements. Some people already offered to help on the user-interface design of AOS Designer so I’m really pushing to get 0.1 as soon as possible to let them start working on it.

AOSLCPP is the C++ library used to read and interpret AOSL files, so AOS Designer rely on it and both are developped together for the moment. AOSLCPP is designed to be a good basis on which a developer can build something over, a native player (a smartphone AOSL player application for example) or tool (an exporter).

I’ve helped two programmer friends to setup AOS Designer development environment on their computer and it was not very easy. I’m considering building archives with all the necessary dependencies to help with that. Limiting the time for developers to setup the environment for such a project is a big plus and will encourage participation, so I think it’s important enough for me to focus on this this week before getting back to the “views” implementation.

AOS Web Player

The AOS Web Player development didn’t begin yet. I’ve been working my JavaScript and JQuery skills a lot at my dayjob for the last few months. That will help a lot with the implementation of the web player that should begin in the coming weeks.

The first thing to do will be to build basic AOSL interpretation features to allow a very simple sequence to be played on a web page. Once done, I’ll just setup an example and write a document explaining how an AOSL file can be written do to this example. The goal is to allow potential web developers interested in the project to see (visually) how they could implement a player or help contribute to the web player.

AOSL

AOSL have been in version 1.0 for several months. Here 1.0 means it’s the first “stable” version of the language, on the design side. Alone, I cannot test the xsd definition enough to find the design problems. I know some of the design problems, like the lack of text object definition, but I’m sure I missed a lot of design bugs too. I guess we will be able to spot them with time and use of this first version. A document describing AOSL 1.x have been started but I quickly stopped when I realized that I needed an example. I don’t want to setup a fake example just for the sake of the documentation. We need to show side by side the AOSL code and the result digital sequence. That’s why I’ve delayed completing this document until I got a very basic but working version of AOS Web Player.

Team

As I said I’ve been working for some time on those projects. Since July 2011 I accelerated the development by working only 4 days per week at my dayjob, consecrating all Wednesday to AOS. This obviously resulted in reduction of my salary but I think it’s totally worth.
However, I got another (far better) job recently that I should begin around March, but it’s in Japan. Two things will change in the development effort of AOS once I’m there. First, I will not be able to work on it each Wednesday as before. Second, for a few months I will not be able to work on AOS as much as I wish, but I should be able to fix this after some time.

That’s another reason I took the time to write all this website: to allow this project to speed-up if there are people interested in contributing to it, even if I cannot work as fast as I want for months. The project will continue with or without contributions, but it’s time for something like AOS to rise and allow creatives to unleash their ideas.

So if you think you can help with those projects, please be my guest!