Just read a very interesting article on programming by Peter Norvig. If you’re a programmer, read it and check out some of the links.
I’ve been working almost 5 years now on educational software in two companies (first Indie Group, now Televic-Education). We mainly created CD-ROMS (that were enclosed with schoolbooks) and online solutions. All those applications were not built from scratch, instead we created a framework that could read in all exercises and hierarchy of the exercises. Those exercises were created in a back end were you could assemble them in folders and export them in a format for our framework (xml) or other formats like SCORM.
I haven’t got any videos yet on those CD-ROMS, but you can see two of our online solutions in action. The first is Edumatic, the first application that was created and which has some 20 exercise types (multiple choice, fill in, cross word, dragndrop, translate, …). It can be used online or exported to be used in CD-ROMS. On the site of edumatic, you can try out an online example of a multiple set of exercises (for each exercise type there are a lot of exercises). Our senior product manager (;-) Piet Santy) also shows an example each day created with Edumatic which you can follow on Twitter –> link. Please follow and try out his examples! Some of his past examples are shown here and here and here and here(demo). Edumatic back end is created in ASP.NET, the front end in Flash (AS2). Together with Christophe Herreman we created the framework for it, but a lot of other persons contributed to the framework, back end and exercise types like Kristof Neirynck(current technical lead), Bert Vandamme, Piet Santy, Sofie Deparcq and others.
Our other product, which is newer than Edumatic, is called Edumatic Exam. It is now used by three customers and has a lot of potential. It’s more an assessment application than an exercise application and has currently some 15 exercise types. We are striving to support all exercise types from Edumatic, but that’ll take some more time (we’re nearly there). Client side is created in Flex, back end with .NET. This application is used by our government to test the knowledge of applicants. Daily there are multiple sessions with hundreds of candidates. We haven’t got a demo online yet, but if you subscribe yourself at Selor, you can practice some of the language assessments with our application (you need to go to Mijn Selor, subscribe and then choose Taaloefenpakket… all in Dutch or French…) Try it out! The product is also online, but currently you can not register for it. That’ll be something for the future. Currently working most on Edumatic Exam are Bert Vandamme, Sem Dendoncker, Wouter Vanden Berghe and me.
Cheers and practice!
This post is a little bit off topic (no RIA) but I had to write it down.
Early this year we went on a trip to Puimichel in France. My father has been living there a long time and is passionated by the stars and optics.
Grotere kaart weergeven
On his site you can see some of his work he’s done over the years.
When we were staying there early this year, we did an interference test which was way cool. In short, such an interference test looks how good the optics are. In this stadium there was still work to do which you can see by the circular lines in the test. Basically you see the surface of the optics (parabola) and where there are mountains and valleys (you have to think in lengts of light waves, very small… ).
Later on, with the 1 meter telescope, we looked at the moon. Incredible how you could almost walk the moon… During the day Venus was nice to watch at, but not like looking at the moon.
Some more pictures:
That’s about it. If you ever get a change to go to Puimichel, certainly do. The view is incredible, surrounded by the Verdon, the Alpes, the Lubéron, the Mont Ventoux, …
The last months I didn’t find the time to write much on my blog, but I’ll have another try!
The last months I haven’t been programming a lot. I’ve had for a time more of a teamleader function and now I need to supervise a large project. Being a teamleader or managing a large project has been a strange experience because at times I feel like I’m really doing nothing. You need to see the big picture without willing to know all the details. If you want to know the details, you can’t manage to see the big picture (not in case of this project anyway). I’ve learned some SQL, some Transact-SQL, some features of SQLServer2005, some C#, Visual Studio 2008 and IIS. So now I have a good knowledge of every layer of a RIA, but also am forgetting a lot about Flex Api, Flash, … What really becomes important in this kind of job is to be able to trust the people that work with the details and making sure that they feel involved in the big picture. I’m reading more now about Software development, Architectures, UML, people management, … as these are more important than knowing how to program this or that. It’s hard, especially when staff is not big enough. I have the impression that there are little competent managers out there, but maybe I’m the one being blind.
So, from this on I’ll keep you posted on my experiences!
Last months I started blogging, and until now, I’m still doubting if it’s an interesting medium… I’m still searching what’s interesting to post, and what’s not interesting to post. Having a blog for me is not like having a diary, which mostly is never read by others. A blog for me should be something that’s usefull for others. But what is usefull? Maybe funny posts can be usefull too. So comes the question to my mind what it is that I know or could post that can be usefull for others. I could write about Music, Sports, Philosophy and my work, Multimedia. I think most of the times I will be speaking about Multimedia. Three years ago I started working at Indie Group in Kortrijk, Belguim. I had studied Master in Computer Sciences and wanted to program. However it had to be creative, so Multimedia was a good way to start. In my studies I never saw Flash nor a line of ActionScript. In those days, Flash was mostly used for little animations in WebSites. But I did like it, more than Java of C++, things I had studied. In the first year at Indie Group, I learned ActionScript2 and the frustrating job of creating Desktop Applications. We had a learning platform in ASP where Companies could create trees with several types of exercices. These trees were exported to xml and used in Flash to create Desktop Applications. In Flash we had some ten modules (swf), each representing a sort of exercise. Speaking to the Operating System (PC & Mac) was done with Director). So we had Flash to show content, interact, keep logs and Director to write things to the hard disk, open docs, access databases (V12). It was FRUSTRATING. Those Flash modules had identical classes, so if one of these classes changed, you had to compile ten Fla’s, Director was not very friendly, neither was Lingo (Language of Director),… Creating a Desktop Application was an Art, and I think it still is up to today. Making it work on PC and Mac, creating an installer that’s working on PC and Mac (and yes, also Vista), having no testpc’s (that made the test process easy, because there was none),… Sometimes I had to go to a school to go and look what went wrong. So, after a couple of cd’s, I knew most of the problems, but your boss doesn’t really take arguments like ‘Director is the cause’, ‘There are no Desktop Applications without problems’,…
The second year I continued creating Desktop Applications, but now we had MDM Zinc, which wasn’t fantastic, but it was better than Director, certainly if you were working with Flash, and you didn’t need that much access to the OS. I think we created some of the best Desktop Applications in the world, but it took a lot of effort, frustrations and budget! And on top of that you get frustrated Clients, because Flash was still buggy, Zinc could have updates where one thing was solved, but another thing stopped working, installers crashed on certain updates of Windows, opening URL’s from Flash or Zinc stopped working due to more security in Internet Exporer,…. Really, Deskop Application Developers have to handle tons of stress, work with scary third party tools and never get much credit… Anyway, hated a bit that year…
The third year, I started off with a really great project for Bekaert using Flex, Remoting and .NET. It involved drawing in Flex, getting a lot of information from the user, storing it all in a database, doing complex calculations by a DLL, taking screenshots to create pdf’s, … At that time I had a rather good understanding of Design Patterns, OOP, Remoting Technology, .NET, Databases, … and the project was lots of fun, extremely interesting and the customer was satisfied! The second part of the year I started being more of a teamleader and project manager (mainly architectal analyses and following up certain projects). In the future I hope to do larger projects, involving more people, more structure, more analyse, more following up…
So, what about the blog, well, I will first try to think what people need the most out there. In the Flash/Flex/Desktop Applications world I sometimes miss clear examples, clear tutorials, good summaries of tools out there. So what I will try to do is take out some projects I done, and explain a little what technologies we used, why we used it, what I would use now I now more… Also some examples about Flex, NSIS, Fluorine, WebORB, .NET and thoughts on the world of multimedia.
Hasta la proxima! Ciao!
Indie Group nv zoekt voor onmiddellijke indiensttreding een
.NET Programmeur (M/V)
Voltijds voor onbepaalde duur
Indie Group ontwikkelt licentiesoftware en maatwerk multimedia voor interne en externe bedrijfscommunicatie, voor educatieve doeleinden en voor gaming en laat zich geregeld opmerken door innoverende projecten waarbij technisch vernuft en creativiteit op inventieve wijze gecombineerd worden.
Een weldoordachte mix van flexibele webtechnologie, offline media (CD-Rom, DVD) en interface design liggen steeds aan de basis van een functionele en gebruiksvriendelijke toepassing ten behoeve van de gebruiker, het product of de boodschap.
- Profiel Bachelor Informatica, Master ICT, Burgerlijk/Industrieel Ingenieur Informatica
- Goede kennis OOP, basis kennis UML en bij voorkeur kennis Design Patterns
- Vlot in het leggen van contacten, communicatief, zelfstandig en een goede team player
- Minstens 2 jaar ervaring
- Talenkennis: Nederlands en Engels is een must
U zal in overleg met de projectleider verantwoordelijk zijn voor de ontwikkeling en implementatie van internet en intranet applicaties.
U komt terecht in een team van creatieve multimedia ontwikkelaars binnen een jong en dynamisch bedrijf.