Educational Archive?

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pau1ie
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Educational Archive?

Post by pau1ie » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:50 am

I have about 100 titles in a website on my laptop, but have very limited time over the next few months to work on this. However, with a flurry of activity in other areas, I am hoping if this can be put online, others can be persuaded to contribute.

There was talk of creating a subdomain on bbcmicro.co.uk. Is that something that can be done?

If not, is there any recommendation as to who to host this stuff? I assume we don't actually have permission to host everything, so need a host who is sympathetic to the approach where things are taken down when rights holders request it?
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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leenew
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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by leenew » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:18 pm

Just a thought Paul.
This never occured to me until now, but how about having them on bbcmicro.uk, but "hidden"?
e.g. anything with a primary genre of "educational" is hidden by default, but shown on the educational page/site/whatever.
Does this even make any sense? :lol:

Lee.

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pau1ie
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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by pau1ie » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:03 pm

That is something that crossed my mind. It does mean that there is only one place to put everything, and indeed look for everything, otherwise educational games need to go in both sites.

I think I would prefer an additional control for this rather than primary genre. Also programs would need to attach to more than one, again educational games being an example of where this would be necessary.

John was very keen on having a documentation download, which I added to the code and switched off for the bbcmicro site. It only shows on the game.php page if it is uploaded, but also in the admin console, but I am sure you can live with that.

What do others think?
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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lurkio
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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by lurkio » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:23 pm

leenew wrote:how about having them on bbcmicro.uk, but "hidden"? e.g. anything with a primary genre of "educational" is hidden by default, but shown on the educational page/site/whatever.
pau1ie wrote:That is something that crossed my mind. It does mean that there is only one place to put everything, and indeed look for everything, otherwise educational games need to go in both sites. I think I would prefer an additional control for this rather than primary genre. Also programs would need to attach to more than one, again educational games being an example of where this would be necessary.
I think you might have two slightly different visions of what the sites will look like and how they'll function, possibly..?

I tend to prefer keeping the education site separate, if only because people looking for eduware might feel like second-class citizens if the only way to find eduware is by checking a box (or whatever) on bbcmicro.co.uk to ask for eduware to be included every time they do a search.

:?:

I guess Arcadian and/or danielj and/or another mod would be the people to ask about a subdomain if that's the way you decide to go.

:?:

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pau1ie
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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by pau1ie » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:08 pm

lurkio wrote:you might have two slightly different visions
Probably. I think I am improving on what Lee suggested. He probably thinks I am ruining it!
lurkio wrote: people looking for eduware might feel like second-class citizens
I hadn't fully developed that thought, but we could have different home pages (Thinking about it there is no difference between these home pages being on separate subdomains or not), one for games and one for educational software which give different search criteria by default (Though this sounds like the original idea of hiding non-commercial games, that was difficult to work out in practice). I think having everything in the same database is powerful in a number of ways. It gives us a Complete BBC Programs (Well, games and educational anyway) for free (Or the cost of another home page) Also it eases maintenance, because you only need to update Martello Tower once. A quick search of bbcmicro by "educational" shows up 16 titles. Searching Straker shows up 5 more that aren't tagged educational.

Taking this approach is likely to delay things till I can find the time to make required changes though.

I'd like to see what others such as flaxcottage, arcadian, danielj etc. think. I realise the admins are busy as well as me. If possible I would like to take advantage of a recent uptick in activity, rather than just letting my stuff get further behind.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by OneSwitch » Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:17 pm

I was wondering about this too. It would be good to have extra search criteria / categories for educational stuff. If possible a bit on compatible controls too (touch screen, switch interface, joystick, micro mike etc).

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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by flaxcottage » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:26 pm

I like the idea of a different entry page for the educational software as this clearly differentiates educational from gaming although there is some overlap when considering educational games. I remember BITD I used The Sphinx to teach problem solving and logic to my students; when students were allowed to 'play games' at Christmas, for example, many chose Yacht Race or Lemonade over games such as Snapper.

The idea of having one database to hold all the references to the software has the obvious advantage of a single point of update.

Educational software will need to be accessed in a variety of ways; publisher, author, subject area, age range, type of software (drill, simulation, etc.) are but a few which come to mind. It will also be important for some packages that the documentation is available. Some software is unusable without the documentation. Many titles also found themselves in different packages produced by different publishers, for example PODD.

Would the educational section include software such as View, Interbase, Edword, Ultracalc, LOGO, etc.?

Just a few thoughts but then I was asked. :lol:
- John

Why do I keep collecting Acorn gear? I'm going to need a considerably bigger man-cave. :?

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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by richardtoohey » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:53 am

pau1ie wrote:I think having everything in the same database is powerful in a number of ways
From my experience I'd definitely agree.

One database, and then different views/skins/displays of it.

So the game site has its own home page, and when you search it passes want_games flag or the appropriate genres/whatever. Same code for search, same code for paging, same code (well 99% the same) for results display, etc.

The educational site has a different home page, different look & feel, but when you search it passes want_edu flag or the appropriate genres/whatever. Again, it's using the same code for the searching, paging, results display, etc.

So 99% the same database & same code base. If you fix a bug in the game site, the edu site automatically gets the fix. If you add a new search to the educational site, the game site also picks it up.

The cons ... if the educational site really starts to diverge in the data/functionality you need, you end up with a lot of hacky code

if game listing
do this thing
otherwise
do that thing

Just my 2c; don't want to volunteer because I keep over-promising and under-delivering.

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pau1ie
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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by pau1ie » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:51 pm

OneSwitch wrote:I was wondering about this too. It would be good to have extra search criteria / categories for educational stuff. If possible a bit on compatible controls too (touch screen, switch interface, joystick, micro mike etc).
Categories can just be added to the existing database. Do you have any thoughts on how the compatible controls thing would work? The existing database has joystick though not currently searchable. There is a free text field for hardware which could be used for the other stuff, again not currently searchable. Oh, and thanks for the archiving work you have been doing!
flaxcottage wrote:Educational software will need to be accessed in a variety of ways; publisher, author, subject area, age range, type of software (drill, simulation, etc.) are but a few which come to mind. It will also be important for some packages that the documentation is available. Some software is unusable without the documentation. Many titles also found themselves in different packages produced by different publishers, for example PODD.
Publisher and author are already covered. Subject area and type could go into category (that is what I have been doing on my laptop). Age range is not currently a database field. Could this go in the notes, does it need to be searchable, would it be useful for games? Documentation is covered, though currently only one file is allowed, but zip comes to the rescue here. Also as with games, they cam be associated with several publishers, or if there are different versions, they can have more than one version linked together.
flaxcottage wrote: Would the educational section include software such as View, Interbase, Edword, Ultracalc, LOGO, etc.?
I think you are better placed than me to answer that.
richardtoohey wrote:Just my 2c
You make some good points, thanks.

I think I am leaning towards having the same database so long as the admins are happy. I could create a new page on the same website, or a new page in a subdomain. Also regarding the changes do you think we can live with the site as is for a while till I get round to adding the extras?
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by richardtoohey » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:13 pm

And with CSS you can (as I'm sure you know, just spelling it out for clarity) obviously have game_site.css and edu_site.css (or edu.bbcmicro.co.uk/assets/site.css and bbc.micro.co.uk/assets/site.css, etc., etc. whatever) and depending on which site you are viewing you get the appropriate styles for the page.

So as long as you use the same class names, the same page can look very different but the code will be the same - just a bit at the top that says something along the lines of this pseudo-code:

$css="game_site.css";
if ($site is edu)
$css="edu_site.css";

include $css;

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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by OneSwitch » Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:43 pm

Categories can just be added to the existing database. Do you have any thoughts on how the compatible controls thing would work? The existing database has joystick though not currently searchable. There is a free text field for hardware which could be used for the other stuff, again not currently searchable. Oh, and thanks for the archiving work you have been doing!
Thanks, and thanks to you and everyone else doing this too.

I'd wonder in this hypothetical expansion of bbcmicro.co.uk, under Browse release types, you could have an Educational bit there, so it's nice and clear to get to. There's some quality stuff in this resource, so it would be brilliant to make it easy to find for everyone.

Under "Sort by", perhaps you could have an Advanced bit there (a bit like eBay does) that leads you to a deeper level of search criteria. Within that, my initial thoughts (as regards external hardware) would be to highlight custom input / output devices that are essential / potentially very useful for the game...

INPUT
1. Joystick (USER PORT)
2. Joystick (Analogue PORT)
3. Switch Interface box (USER PORT)
4. Touch-Screen
5. Concept Keyboard
6. Micro-Mike
7. Miscellaneous

OUTPUT
1. Cassette Interface (used in some titles to play a reward of taped music).
2. Buggy (I don't know much about this - but thinking about LOGO stuff)
3. Mardis Toy Control (relay device to control switch adapted equipment, e.g. a fan or a battery powered toy)
4. Robot Arm??? (I'm under the impression this stuff existed)

Of note, Matt Godbolt has added User Port switch interface box access already to the latest version of his brilliant emulator (alt+1 to alt+4). He's also cracked touch-screen emulation (using a mouse).

I'd be more than happy to sift through the Brilliant Computing stuff to classify them in the future. This entire push could be such a fantastic thing for people to continue learning from in many ways.

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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by pau1ie » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:07 pm

I think this would be easiest to achieve by use of tags, which work in a similar manner to secondary genre at present. Most programs won't have these types of requirements, and some may have others, so I think something flexible should be used. Ebay is of course several orders of magnitude bigger both in terms of programming resource, but also in numbers of items to search through.

My original question was geared towards throwing up what I had already done, to take advantage of the activity in educational software at present. I don't have time to work on it again for several months, and most responses seem to be suggesting I should make changes. I am not clear as to whether people think we can live with what we have in the mean time.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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Re: Educational Archive?

Post by OneSwitch » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:05 am

Tags sounds ideal, so long as people stick to a strict criteria. Making things simpler from my previous suggestions, even if there was just a search method upon specialised input devices of switches, touch-screen, micro-mike, joystick.... that would be brilliant. Especially if Matt can crack the analogue-interface access method (e.g. for a game/title that will only use a joystick/switch interface box via that port).

I'd definitely love to see the educational stuff preserved online and easy to get at in a way that doesn't impact upon people only after games. And vice versa.

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