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meirs
12-01-2009, 07:33 AM
Hello

I'm working on a Unicode version of Alice, translated to several languages, among them Spanish, Russian, Ethiopian, Hebrew, French, Italian, Arabic, and Yiddish (no joking). I just wanted to describe what I did in one thread, to where I can forward questions regarding Alice's i18n issues from other threads.

Main changes made:
* support for Unicode - both in code and in world format (that is, changed worlds format, thus not back compatible to Alice worlds, but included an import tool)
* added a rich scripting support using Mama programming language - this is a full object oriented language I've created few years ago, designed for teaching programming in mid-schools, where students can write code in their own mother tongue. With this scripting language you can really write free code within the editing area, and manipulate scene objects.
* added support for scenery and characters (improved StoryTellingAlice functionality)
* added tutorial editor tool for instructors
* added a movie export with audio (improved 2.2 functionality)
* added support for creating user standalone executables (under MS-Windows)
* many bug fixes (and probably introducing new ones :)
* and more

This version is not going to be open source, neither free, I'm planning to charge about 10 $USD for it, the minimal cost I thought would be tolerable by most students.

I had discussions with Alice team regarding the name given to this version - I really wanted to include the name "Alice" in it, since majority of it is Alice, created by the Alice team. But Alice's license forbids that (see this thread http://alice.org/community/showthread.php?t=2615&highlight=license). So currently, it is planned to be called "Mama" after the programming language integrated into Alice.

I don't know if Alice 2.0/2.2 development continues, if it does I would love to contribute many of the fixes I've made to future releases.

Meir

x2495iiii
12-01-2009, 01:01 PM
Sounds great! Will it be in English as well?

Also, Alice 2.2 is no longer being developed. All their effort is being put into Alice 3.0, so if your version works, it'll be the most advanced, stable release yet.

meirs
12-01-2009, 01:44 PM
Sure, after all it's the default language :)

meirs
01-21-2010, 09:08 AM
Finally, the unicode version of Alice - named Mama - is ready! It is available in both English and Hebrew (soon will have it in many other languages).

Main improvements:
* added Mama programming language as a (rich) scripting laungauge - 3D scene objects can be manipulated using this scripting mechanism
* full support for Unicode
* support for 3D object creation using ArtOfIllusion as a plugged-in external application
* support for uploading a movie to YouTube and publishing in Facebook
* support for scenery and characters
* tutorial editor tool for instructors
* movie export with audio
* support creating of user standalone executables
* better menu logic
* many bug fixes
* better popup menus logic
* and more

This version (with language selection) can be downloaded from http://www.eytam.com/mama. This is a full version 30-day free trial, and afterwords it may be purchased for $10 USD.

Waiting for you comments,
Meir

x2495iiii
01-21-2010, 12:15 PM
Fantastic! I'm ready to give the trial a run now!

Will it be able to convert already existing Alice worlds into standalone applications?

meirs
01-21-2010, 12:41 PM
Sure, just go to "Tools" menu and select "Import Alice2 worlds". Let me know if you encounter any problem.

x2495iiii
01-21-2010, 01:30 PM
Hmm...the installer didn't work the first time. Trying again...

I see it says you need Windows Vista or earlier. Does that mean that I can't use it if I have Windows 7?

meirs
01-21-2010, 02:43 PM
It wasn't tested on Windows 7 :( so yes, it should run on Vista or earlier.

x2495iiii
01-21-2010, 02:56 PM
Hmm...Well my windows 7 laptop isn't working so well with it so far. The import worlds feature loaded the world halfway, then said it was unable to load the world (tried this for two different worlds, same result.)

I absolutely love the 3d editing idea, though, that works great. The youTube uploading button is an awesome idea as well. Honestly this is a wonderful piece of software, great job!

meirs
01-22-2010, 01:44 AM
Thanks x2495iiii, I will try checking the Windows 7 issues, though I'm afraid there are some basic directX incompatibilities.

lanceA
01-22-2010, 04:14 PM
Finally, the unicode version of Alice - named Mama - is ready! It is available in both English and Hebrew (soon will have it in many other languages).

I downloaded the English version and it works on a machine running Windows 7, 64-bit with 6 Gig of ram.

Where can I download the Hebrew version trial copy, I did not see an option for that on the Web site you provided.

Great work!!

meirs
01-22-2010, 04:24 PM
I downloaded the English version and it works on a machine running Windows 7, 64-bit with 6 Gig of ram.


You did? no problem with the installation? then I'm glad with it.

And you can find the Hebrew version here:
http://he.eytam.com/mama

Let me know if you have any difficulty,
thanks,
Meir

lanceA
01-22-2010, 04:28 PM
You did? no problem with the installation? then I'm glad with it.

And you can find the Hebrew version here:
http://he.eytam.com/mama

Let me know if you have any difficulty,
thanks,
Meir

I just created an EXE file on the Win-7 machine called Test, this created a folder called Test. I then copied the Test folder to a machine running WinXP and started to run the world. It gave me the message "Error in loading the application" but then the world started running with no problems.

Thank you for the link to the Hebrew version.

lanceA
01-22-2010, 04:37 PM
Is your installation program writing anything to the windows Regiatry? I only ask because I would like to run both the English and Hebrew version on a single machine for test purposes.

Thanks,

meirs
01-22-2010, 04:52 PM
It does, but in a per language manner, so you should have no problem installing both languages on same OS.

lanceA
01-22-2010, 06:06 PM
It does, but in a per language manner, so you should have no problem installing both languages on same OS.

Thank you. I will install both languages.

Also I have another question: My previous post mentioned that I transported an executable world from my Win-7 machine to my Win-XP machine and that it properly ran with a minor error message that did not cause any problems. However, I note on the Win-XP machine that it created a folder on my Desktop called mama_works. Inside that folder is a single foilder, My Library which has no data inside.

I was just curious why the folder was created on the Desktop.

Thanks again and Great Work!

lanceA
01-22-2010, 07:43 PM
meirs,

So far Mama is working great! I have the English and Hebrew version running simultaneously on my Win-7 machine. How did you stop the memory leaks? :)

I can import Alice 2.0 worlds with no problems as long as there are no Speech bubbles or Thought bubbles in the world. Once the import process encounters one of these, the import program hangs.

I believe your fantastic efforts deserve that the Room open a new thread so we can help you 'tweak' a fantastic product. However, it would be very helpful if the x2495iiii, blah, blah'-person making models of guns and stuff that KILL could be encouraged to redirect HIS energy to more positive ideas.

I want to use this with my students, and can't go the violence route.

So far, only 16 people will not wake up tomorrow in my city, . . . but it is still early.

And thank God only 4 of them where below the age of 12!.

Fantastic work !!

x2495iiii
01-22-2010, 10:31 PM
I can import Alice 2.0 worlds with no problems as long as there are no Speech bubbles or Thought bubbles in the world. Once the import process encounters one of these, the import program hangs.

Sounds good, wonder whats wrong with my laptop... Well, I can always give it another shot, I suppose. I was hoping to export RP as a standalone application, if possible.

meirs
01-23-2010, 03:55 AM
lanceA and x2495iiii, thanks for your efforts.
Sorry for the late response, here in Jerusalem we (at least I) just woke up :p

Regarding memory leaks - it needs lots of time and space to go through all kind of performance problems existed in Alice, but I can mention one simple problem, which can be solved easily: the infinite undo stack. With an undo mechanism that records every action of the user, the garbage collector would never be able to clean anything in you World session, since everything (objects, methods, events, lines of codes, etc.) is pointed by the undo/redo stack. Simply limiting the undo stack length solves that.

Regarding the "My Library" folder - if you right click an object, you have an option to "save to my library", so that simply acts as a user gallery. When you open the object gallery, you'll find 3 root folders in it (in addition to local and web galleries), the third being your (user) gallery. I found it very useful for reuse of my own created objects.

I'll be glad to have a Room regarding Mama - please open one (if you could). By the way, you'll find many more improvements to Alice, which I guess I'll have to find the time to document in detail.


x2495iiii - could you describe exactly what was the error message you got when installing on Windows 7? and how you manage to install it (if you did)?

I will check the import problem you mentioned and try to find a solution.

x2495iiii
01-23-2010, 04:27 AM
My tale of woe:

First, I tried to install Mama to my program files folder (the default location). Both times when I tried that, it said that it was unable to open file to write [insert name of file here], then gave me three options: retry (did nothing), ignore (moved to next file, where same error message was given), and abort (cancelled installation). I then tried installing Mama to my desktop. That worked fine and I was able to use Mama, however, the world importer still did not work. After testing increasingly simple worlds, I've found that worlds with any form of interactivity do not function properly when imported (if they import successfully, as they more often simply stopped loading halfway through with an error message).

The worst part is that this also happened on my home computer, which runs Vista. This suggests that there must be some security setting or default directory or something that my computers share which is preventing this from functioning properly.

meirs
01-23-2010, 04:40 AM
Regarding the import problems, as I said, I will give it a more careful look and try to find a solution.

Regarding the install problems - the installer really does nothing but copying files to the default folder (Program Files) or to any user selected folder, then setting some basic registry keys (mainly, to be able to run .mam files with double click).
It does sound like a security problem, are other software installations work fine for you? can you simply write a file under "Program Files"?

x2495iiii
01-23-2010, 05:12 AM
Surprisingly, yes. I've never had any problems with any other installers before now, and I don't recall putting any special restrictions (or ever running into such restrictions) on my Program Files folder.

x2495iiii
01-23-2010, 05:36 AM
I believe your fantastic efforts deserve that the Room open a new thread so we can help you 'tweak' a fantastic product. However, it would be very helpful if the x2495iiii, blah, blah'-person making models of guns and stuff that KILL could be encouraged to redirect HIS energy to more positive ideas.

I want to use this with my students, and can't go the violence route.

So far, only 16 people will not wake up tomorrow in my city, . . . but it is still early.

And thank God only 4 of them were below the age of 12!.

Fantastic work !!

Based on this post, I've gathered two observations.

First, you don't have any respect for me, my work, or even my username. Ironic that my name is based off of a kid's-movie robot, whereas yours means "spear" in Latin. Who's the violent one?

Second, this kind of mid-paragraph topic shift would only be done by someone with a mental disorder. I'll be sure to be more sensitive to your special needs in the future.

lanceA
01-23-2010, 08:05 PM
Regarding the import problems, as I said, I will give it a more careful look and try to find a solution.

Regarding the install problems - the installer really does nothing but copying files to the default folder (Program Files) or to any user selected folder, then setting some basic registry keys (mainly, to be able to run .mam files with double click).
It does sound like a security problem, are other software installations work fine for you? can you simply write a file under "Program Files"?

meirs
I just tried importing an Alice 2.0 file which uses Events into Moma and it works fine (this is on a Win 7 machine). I have not imported an Alice 2.2. world yet. I used the English version when importing.

I did notice a strange occurance though. . . . the application I imported begins with a 3D text screen. After the program loads, but before I play the imported program, the 3D text appears in "mirror image" in the World Viewer window. However when I play the application it displays normally and the up-arrow, down-arrow, etc. keys work fine.

Definitely not a major problem, just wanted to share it. Also, I used the English version when importing the Alice 2.0 world with Events.

G-R-E-A-T transformation of Alice!

lanceA
01-23-2010, 08:18 PM
Based on this post, I've gathered two observations.

First, you don't have any respect for me, my work, or even my username. Ironic that my name is based off of a kid's-movie robot, wheres yours means "spear" in Latin. Who's the violent one?

Second, this kind of mid-paragraph topic shift would only be done by someone with a mental disorder. I'll be sure to be more sensitive to your special needs in the future.

I apologize if I offended you. But there are more important issues out there then killing things. . . .

meirs
01-24-2010, 04:07 AM
lanceA and x2495iiii,

Thanks again for your important feedback.
I tried importing several samples, with 3D text, with both "say" bubbles and "think" bubbles, and it worked fine for me (also importing into Hebrew version!). Could you please send me the world files that caused those errors? My email is my user name at eytam.com.

BTW, you deserve free licenses for you copies :) please send me your registration URL - you'll find it at "Help"/"Purchase License" - and I'll be able to make it registered.

x2495iiii
01-24-2010, 07:31 AM
Thank you very much, meirs!

As for the worlds I tried to import, they can be found and downloaded in this post.

http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?t=3205

I tried importing Resident Penguin 1, 3.1, and 3.5. None of them have any speech bubbles or thought bubbles, but all three are somewhat complex. RP1 imported, but the controls didn't work properly. The other two threw an error message halfway through loading.

Please tell me if they import for you so I know if the issue is with my computer.

Thanks again!

meirs
01-24-2010, 02:24 PM
x2495iiii,
I found the transformation bug that caused RP2 and higher to fail, I will put the fix in the very next version. The other problem, where the gun sometimes doesn't shoot when you press the mouse, exists for me with RP1 and RP2 in Alice 2.2 too. But with the fixed version version 3.5 works perfectly. Great game!
BTW, as you probably noticed, Mama supports directly scenes, so the camera dummies you set where translated into scenes. That is a very convenient for creating multi-level games.
When you send me email, I will reply and attach the translated RP3.5

regards,
Meir

lanceA
01-25-2010, 09:17 PM
Let me know if you have problems with the two ALICE 2.0 worlds that I sent you, meirs.

martina-r
01-26-2010, 03:52 AM
Hi,
I have been working with young students (10-14 years old), programming with Alice2.2 and struggling with the language.
Please let me know, when a German version is available (or if you need help with the translation).
I translated a part of an online tutorial (by Richard Baldwin; waiting for his permission to publish the text) and a German version of the program would be perfect:D

Please contact me :
office: mro (at) informatik.uni-bremen.de
private: martina (at) rosenboom.de

Martina

meirs
01-26-2010, 04:16 AM
Martina,

I sure will inform you once I have a German translation, and will be glad to have you reviewed it.

Thank you for the feedback,
Meir

meirs
01-26-2010, 11:06 AM
Hi
I have fixed the import errors, the problem was with the compiled resources, I only had to recompile and attach the resources. I put a new build for Mama, available for download (it has the same version number).

Simply uninstall your current Mama version and install the new one (this does not affect license status).

x2495iiii - with this new fix you should be able to import and run RP3.5.

Let me know if you encounter any other issues,
regards,
Meir

x2495iiii
01-26-2010, 11:22 AM
Excellent, I'll give it a shot now!

lanceA
01-26-2010, 07:03 PM
Hi
I have fixed the import errors, the problem was with the compiled resources, I only had to recompile and attach the resources. I put a new build for Mama, available for download (it has the same version number).

Simply uninstall your current Mama version and install the new one (this does not affect license status).

x2495iiii - with this new fix you should be able to import and run RP3.5.

Let me know if you encounter any other issues,
regards,
Meir

Meir,
To insure I have the latest version I wanted to download new copies of both the English and Hebrew version. Using Win-7's Uninstall Programs application I uninstalled the Hebrew version. However, for some reason the English version is not listed in the Uninstall Programs application.

Is it safe to assume that I can simply delete the folder and any Desktop icons and then download again and install?

Thanks for your input,

meirs
01-27-2010, 12:09 AM
Is it safe to assume that I can simply delete the folder and any Desktop icons and then download again and install?

Thanks for your input,

Sure, there should be no problem (actually even reinstalling Mama without first uninstalling old version should work fine), although it is a little weird: did you have a separate folder for the English and Hebrew versions? if so, inside the English version, under the root folder (e.g. "Program Files/MamaEn") do you see the uninstall.exe file? if you do, simply click on it. Otherwise, a simple delete and reinstall should work fine.

lanceA
01-30-2010, 06:15 PM
Let me know if you have problems with the two ALICE 2.0 worlds that I sent you, meirs.

Meir in response to your request, you have permission to post Ajax on your web site. I'm sending you a separate email with the particulars.

Good luck,
lanceA

larslem
02-03-2010, 04:51 AM
Is it possible for me to translate the english version to norwegian after I have downloaded it? I don't expect you to translate it, ever.:)

Lars

meirs
02-03-2010, 05:16 AM
Is it possible for me to translate the english version to norwegian after I have downloaded it? I don't expect you to translate it, ever.:)

Lars

Hi Lars
Why not? my intention was from the first place to translate it to any language existing on earth, though it won't be among the first ones. And regarding your propose to do the translation - it is not that simple, a translation to another language requires rebuilding the compiler (the Mama compiler), and for that the source files are needed (actually, also needed are the JavaCC - the compiler-compiler - source files). However, I'll be glad to use your help once it will be relevant, if that's OK with you.
thank you,
Meir

larslem
02-03-2010, 05:56 AM
Could you send me the source files for me to translate them and I could return the for you to recompile? Or have you put some restrictions on distributing the source? Norwegian is a language spoken by very few(5 million), and should probably not be prioritized.

Lars

jediaction
02-03-2010, 07:27 AM
SO many people are commenting. I am like backing away from this thread, is this about the translating. I remember like 2 months ago when this thread was not full of comments

meirs
02-03-2010, 09:24 AM
Could you send me the source files for me to translate them and I could return the for you to recompile? Or have you put some restrictions on distributing the source? Norwegian is a language spoken by very few(5 million), and should probably not be prioritized.

Lars
This is just little less than the population of Israel, and still there's a Hebrew version, so don't loose hope :)
I can't send the sources from two reasons: a commercial one (to protect the source) and a complication one (the build process is quite complex). BTW, how many Alice users you estimate are in Norway?

larslem
02-03-2010, 11:39 AM
I have no idea. There aren't any community for Alice here.
Maybe 90% of the kids have a computer at home and all schools do, so there are at least potensials.

meirs
03-22-2010, 08:39 AM
Mama version 1.5.3 is out! this version has some magnificent improvements:
* enabled Python scripting, in addition to Mama scripting (a configuration parameter, see the documentation at http://en.eytam.com/mama/doc for details)
* added support for encrypted standalone (a configuration parameter) - encrypted standalones cannot be edited by any IDE
* improved the Mama scripting integration with the IDE objects - the documentation contains scripting help and samples.

Also, it contains some bug fixes (3D text layout bug, script tiles bug).

Enjoy!

x2495iiii
03-22-2010, 09:39 AM
Excellent! Mama is rapidly becoming the perfect program Alice was supposed to be, great work meirs!

jediaction
03-22-2010, 10:09 AM
I dont wanna buy it so i cant use it. My trial is up and i cant get another

meirs
03-28-2010, 05:25 PM
In addition to the already known improvements, there are some other time & annoyance saving tips while working with Mama. One of those is the conditional instructions drag-n-drop: when you drag a conditional - that is an 'if/else' or a 'while' - and drop it over the editing area, all the possible available boolean expressions are collected and displayed in a popup menu.

For example, suppose you have a world property n1(number), and you want to run a while loop while n1 is positive, you can select from the popup menu the appropriate logic operator (in Alice you'd have to set it first to either 'true' or 'false', then you'd open the World math functions, and drag-n-drop the appropriate logic operator). Also, if you have in the current scope a boolean property, it will show up right in the conditional popup menu (no need to scroll into another 'expressions' menu).

The same holds for array logical and numerical operations - you can drag-n-drop arrays of any type into a boolean expression tile - a popup menu will let you compare the array with another, or compare any of its elements with other values. in Alice it's quite cumbersome, and in some cases impossible - I couldn't figure out how to compare a non-numerical array (e.g. string array) length with any numerical value.

I found these improvements very helpful for myself, and rather natural.

meirs
05-10-2010, 02:06 AM
A new version of Mama, 1.5.4, is available for download from
http://en.eytam.com/mama

This version includes many improvements for scripting - better integration with the world's objects and with the 3D scene, and with intellisense support.

Also, within this version a free IDE is bundled, for developing Mama language scripts and programs, with intellisense and debugging support.

jediaction
05-10-2010, 08:58 AM
Hey meirs, i never got that code for Mama, i still cant use it because i need to buy it you said i would get a code in pm a month ago but i never did

King Gamer(gorit)
05-10-2010, 03:12 PM
Hey meirs I want to ask you about trial software. Is the trial info stored in thw windows registry or do programs store it in a file. I have never been able to figure that out and was trying to cheat sony(to be honest). I figured it was a stupid idea because it would take forever to finaly delete the right entry or file but I would like to know where it is actualy stored.

meirs
05-10-2010, 05:00 PM
I guess the cheapest way to break a license is by purchasing it :) well that's true at least for Mama.
Typically, applications use a combination of registry, file system and network information for license protection.

King Gamer(gorit)
05-10-2010, 05:25 PM
I guess the cheapest way to break a license is by purchasing it :) well that's true at least for Mama.
Typically, applications use a combination of registry, file system and network information for license protection.

Thanks for the info. I was just wondering. I typicly like deleting all files from a trial install too, because I try many products and the are starting to clog my laptop after 6 months(got it for christmas).

jediaction
05-10-2010, 05:49 PM
I guess the cheapest way to break a license is by purchasing it :) well that's true at least for Mama.
Typically, applications use a combination of registry, file system and network information for license protection.

Hey thanks meirs. I just opened up mama, and it worked, i dont know how you did it, but thanks

King Gamer(gorit)
05-10-2010, 08:00 PM
Meirs for some reason mama will not install. I am running a windows 7 laptop with the 64 bit of my os.

meirs
05-11-2010, 01:37 PM
Could you please specify what exact error you get?

King Gamer(gorit)
05-11-2010, 02:22 PM
The error says failure opening file to write.

Watsamax1
05-15-2010, 03:52 PM
NNNNOOOO ... not for macs. why does this always happen.... Could you make it work for mac please or crossover games?

meirs
05-16-2010, 01:58 AM
Sorry, but currently porting to Mac is not in plan :(

meirs
05-16-2010, 05:52 AM
A Yiddish version of Mama was released!
You can download and read about it here:
http://en.eytam.com/mama/yiddishe_mama

King Gamer(gorit)
05-16-2010, 05:29 PM
Meirs, do you have any thought of my error.

meirs
05-17-2010, 01:38 AM
Meirs, do you have any thought of my error.

I'm sorry king gamer, Mama was not tested on Windows 7, and I don't know this OS well. However, I recall x2495iiii installed Mama on Windows 7, have you X? didn't you have the same file/write access error?

King Gamer(gorit)
05-17-2010, 01:46 PM
Well, I geus I could install it on my xp cpu then copy the directory.

meirs
05-17-2010, 02:21 PM
Go ahead, there should be no problem installing Mama by just copying the root installation folder.

larslem
05-19-2010, 04:23 AM
Well, I geus I could install it on my xp cpu then copy the directory.
Try install it on an other partition than C:

Lars

King Gamer(gorit)
05-19-2010, 06:08 PM
I only have 2 partitions. My second partition is recovery files so I dn't edit that one.

larslem
05-24-2010, 10:58 AM
A pity. I run Windows 7 and on my computer I got the same message as you when I tried to install on C:. When I installed on D: everything went fine. That has also happened with some other applications.

If you open disk management under control panel > Computer management, may be you have some unallocated space where you can create one more partition.

Lars

King Gamer(gorit)
05-24-2010, 02:10 PM
Thanks, I have never known how to make partitions.

litomd
06-01-2010, 10:55 PM
Meirs,
I am surprised that no one has asked here about a version of Mama in Spanish. So I am formally asking: do you have plans to translate Mama to Spanish?
I also have other questions to ask. What do you mean by a translation into any language? Does it mean that all characters’ names are translated along with their standard methods, properties and functions? All the documentation? The tutorials? Menus? User interface messages and texts? The standard instructions? If-then-else, DoTogether, DoInOrder, Loop, etc.
I would love to have tutorials and documentation in Spanish but I am not sure about the user interface and definitely would not like to have objects’ names, methods and functions, and the instructions in Spanish.
There is no technical or theoretical obstacle to translate the full language instructions into any language but for decades in Latin America we have been programming with languages that have instructions in English, and we are very used to it. I remember very few cases where the instructions were actually written in Spanish.
Nevertheless for every respectable language there is full documentation in Spanish along with language references, tutorials, and learning materials, and they are very usable.
For Alice I think anyone wishing to learn the language has to learn and understand actually very few words in English, so even for those that have never received instruction on the English language it is quite easy to start programming and understanding what is the logic behind the instructions and method names.
I often find myself mixing English and Spanish in my programs (not only in Alice) for variable names, method names, etc., whatever fits best in each case and it works well.
The point is that I don’t see a strong need to translate the instructions, object names, method names, etc. into Spanish. Even the user interface can remain in English. What we really need is tutorials, documentation, teaching material, exercises, homeworks, etc. in Spanish.
All that material should not be so difficult to translate, I mean, there is no need to recompile to source code to produce a language reference in Spanish provided that you are not translating the instructions, just the explanations for each one. I remember seeing a tutorial XML file in your site that was supposed to allow teachers to build new tutorials. Having that XML file as a resource for the code, it should not be necessary to recompile, just replace the XML file and the tutorial would be there.
I don’t know if that is the case for the rest of languages but for Spanish I feel it is.
Finally if you plan to start working in a translation into Spanish keep in mind that there are differences between the Spanish that people speak in Spain and in Europe and that that we speak in Latin America, we understand each other quite well but we know when someone is speaking the way Europeans do.
I have some comments to your work but I will post them in a new reply.
And congratulations for a great product!
Great Job!
Leonel

litomd
06-02-2010, 12:08 AM
Meirs,
I think I am going to try Mama. According to all the comments I have read I may be missing something big if I don’t.
I have been an Alice enthusiast for some years now. I have promoted its use in schools here in Guatemala, and I have even taught short curses to teachers on how to use it in class. I have also noticed its shortcomings so when I read about your version I couldn’t but think that finally someone has taken Alice to the next level.
Anyway, I don’t think it is a product that can be widely promoted in schools as a learning tool or better be adopted by a government body (like our education ministry here in Guatemala) as part of a strategy for promoting computer science among students.
The reason is because it is not free as Alice is. I have seen other tools with the same handicap. There is Dark Basic for example. Not too expensive, with a long trial period suitable for a semester long course, easy to use and attractive for students, but not open and not free. It doesn’t matter that its price is not high. The question is how readily available will it be for students that are not sure they want to use it and explore it. If you are not a person that has decided that the animation industry is what they want to do for a living then even those $10 are a high price, because it is not the price of a software, it is the price to see if animation is fun or worthy.
For those students that try Alice and find it interesting and want to make a living out of animation, Mama could be a natural next step, something like a “Pro” version of Alice.
Animation studios may want it to train new hires but Alice could do that too as well as some other free and open programs.
Mama seems to have all those nice features of modern IDEs like intellisense, debbuging tools, and others. I have been a programming teacher and sometimes I just don’t like those features. They are very useful for the professional programmer, but for the beginners the teacher may prefer the raw nature of a simple text editor that forces the student to be careful with syntax, variable definitions, indentation and to invent ways of finding bugs, at least for some time, just to make sure the student understands that programming is not magic and that it is not made by computers but by humans that have to think.
These two points – the not-open, not-free nature of Mama, and its advanced features – make it less suitable for wide use in schools.
Well, these are my first impressions after finding Mama and reading about it.

meirs
06-02-2010, 02:19 PM
Hey Leonel,

First, thanks for the detailed feedback!

Translation status: We have just completed the Chinese translation (see http://zh.eytam.com), and we are in process of Spanish translation. We hope to complete it very soon. I'm aware of the differences between Spain's and LATAM's Spanish, but we're not going to make two versions - we're making a unified Spanish version.

About the translation: Answer is yes, everything is translated - all GUI(menus, dialogs, commands), variable/function names, all standard names and reserved words, all world fields, all gallery objects, tutorials, documentation - everything (see Chinese (http://zh.eytam.com) or Hebrew (http://he.eytam.com) versions as examples). (Unicode support was added for that, and world/object storage model changed completely).

Regarding mother tongue vs. English: Interestingly this issue keeps coming up in many discussions I have with CS teachers. There's a document explaining the considerations in designing educational programming languages ('http://en.eytam.com/educational_programming_language'), and, more specifically, why it was decided to have all programming language components in the student's mother tongue. In short, the main purpose of Mama, just like Alice's, is to lower the barrier[1] towards learning computer programming.
I don't know what age are your students, but think of 9 to 13 year old kid who is a non English speaker - that doubles the difficulty (and worse than Spanish, think of Chinese, Hebrew and Arabic which use different character sets and/or RTL read & write direction).

About Mama's price: I released the first version of Mama in 2005, as a simplified programming language for teaching young students computer science. I charged for it nothing, and made it publicly available. It's syntax is quite similar to Python's (I liked very much the indention based structuring), but much more simple, real object oriented with own OO event model and with built in GUI library. In the last year I've worked hard on integrating Mama language with an improved Alice2.2 version, because of it's awesome 3D and drag&drop programming environment. Since I am not paid by anyone for this work, I had to set Mama's price for the minimum of 10 US$. Though, the original Mama's typing based IDE is till available for free, with many helpful tools included.
Also note, that while Alice is free, it's documentation is not: books are somewhere between 30 and 60 USD. Mama's documentation is all free.


[1] Lowering the barriers to programming: A taxonomy of programming environments and languages for novice programmers, Kelleher, C. and Pausch, R., ACM Comput. Surv. 37, 2 (2005)

litomd
06-02-2010, 10:05 PM
Thanks for your quick answer.

I will start trying Mama ASAP. I will also post my comments.

There is a lot of interesting projects around Alice now, and your is one of them. One of the others is Alice 3.0, but there is more. I hope we hear from them soon.

Regards,

meirs
07-31-2010, 01:14 PM
Thanks for your quick answer.

I will start trying Mama ASAP. I will also post my comments.

There is a lot of interesting projects around Alice now, and your is one of them. One of the others is Alice 3.0, but there is more. I hope we hear from them soon.


In case you liked it, hurry up cause today is the last day for the Mama's special discount price (http://en.eytam.com/purchase-license)..