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toddobryan 11-05-2005 01:33 PM

Saving files
My class has just finished working through Chapter 1 of the textbook and some students have already developed pretty impressive animations. The problem is, they're huge; one is 7.1 MB.

Since they need to transfer these back and forth to their home machines, we're going to start having problems with them using too much space in their online folder that's web accessible, and kids with dial-up connections are going to get frustrated.

Since it appears that most of the size is the objects, and the objects are already installed with Alice, is it possible/feasible to get a smaller file size by just including the information you need that's not already internal to the objects? When someone tries to open it in Alice, it could say "You're missing _______ from your object gallery. Please download it before trying to open this file."

In my view, this should be the default file format, with another option to save all the objects as well. Otherwise it seems we're wasting a whole lot of bandwidth.


gabe 11-07-2005 01:31 AM

Thank you for the suggestion. I'm sure the developers will have something to say on this, but there are a few issues that I see with not packaging referenced objects in the a2w files.

- If custom objects are used which are not accessible through the web gallery, it would make it impossible to view a file.

- In order to view worlds utilizing objects from the web gallery, an internet connection would be needed.

- If the objects are large and many, a fast internet connection would be needed.

- When the objects are downloaded, to where should they be downloaded? Should they go to a temp directory or to the Alice local gallery, which may or may not be write-accessible?

- If they are downloaded to a temp directory, does that mean every time a world is loaded, the objects have to be downloaded?

Now, given these reservations, I do see some positives in providing such a save option, namely if user space on a server is at a premium. However, the benefits of transferring smaller worlds over a dialup connection would be negated if the objects needed to be downloaded from the web as well. And with the prices of usb flash drives continually dropping, I'm not sure I see that big of a benefit shrinking file size at the expense of not including objects.

But I am not in your situation and don't know how common the problem you are facing is within schools, so my appraisal could be very off base. Again, I will let the others in the group respond on this issue, as they may have more insight than I.

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