Geez, I need help. I have created a list of all the projects that I would like to do (or just reap the benefits of) and it’s got more than 15 different things on it.
Here’s just some of my wish list:
- A better version of the programming language Logo. Logo was very popular when I was younger as a simple language to teach kids to program and basic ideas behind how a computer works. It still seems to be popular but versions are fragmented and don’t seem well suited to teaching anybody anything. My kid wants to learn how to program and my options consist of giving him something that he basically won’t learn anything with because it’s too hard (he’s only eight) or going and buying a commercial form of Logo for around $100. That’s not something a lot of parents could even consider.
A killer form of Logo should be just like this:
- A simple, fun to read, easy to understand manual for kids. I’m talking step by step with pictures. If you can remember back that far, think of the Basic manuals that used to come with the TRS-80 line 20+ years ago.
- An equally easy to read manual for the teacher. There should also be lesson plans, teaching materials and very simple quizzes for different age groups of kids who might take programming classes using Logo.
- A significantly easier to use version of Logo than what is currently available for free. It should have a very easy to use interface and it does not need to have every bell and whistle that some versions have. Easy to use, very attractive, very graphical, and absolutely crashproof are the keywords here.
- Build a simple RMI interface onto the program so the teacher can save off the students work, load up files for demonstrations, start programs, etc. Basically remote control of a set of the students desktops to make teaching easier.
- The Logo should install and run via JNLP to be available to students at home as well as at school.
- The open source Java version of Logo called Turtle Tracks might be a good place from which to start. It’s not kid friendly now but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be made to be so.
- An easy to install packaged version of JBoss. While you aren’t going to become Red Hat just selling JBoss, there is room for a CD install of the open source J2EE server software that has easier setup, automatic install of different versions (i.e. Jetty vs. Tomcat vs. no Servlet/JSP support), framework install (e.g. Struts, Velocity, Cocoon, etc.), a real administrator console and the Java Pet Store demo and other demos. Add support to that package and you’ve got something for which people will pay a reasonable fee.
- A finished version of HotSheet. HotSheet’s source has been downloaded 75+ times now, isn’t anybody interested in helping finish off some of the multitude of wishlist items? Most of them could be completed in just a couple of evenings (one just to look over the code and another to make the actual change).
- A Java version of the Image Analogies software. This version of the software would differ dramatically from the existing C++ version in two ways:
- It would use the Project JXTA libraries to distribute the calculations for the images to multiple machines. If a large number of machines were to each do just one line from a large image you could cut the time required to do a it from hours down to minutes or just seconds.
- It would have a user friendly GUI rather than its current commandline and configuration file system.
- A better directory for JNLP launched Java software than either Connect & Work or Up2Go has now. This version would allow developers to enter the URL of a JNLP file into a field and categorize their application themselves. Then the directory would pull the JNLP file and use information from it to provide a short description, the authors name, a link to the homepage, etc. for the application almost immediately after the author added the entry. Users would be able to both rate and review each program to provide end users with a clearer information on what programs are available, how to get it, and what other users think of the programs.