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SocialCalc on Sugar Version #5 Release

By manjotpahwa ·
SocialCalc is a spreadsheet activity developed in JavaScript for functioning in the Sugar environment, OLPC?s software paradigm. The Javascript code was initially coded by Dan Bricklin of Software Garden Inc., for Socialtext Inc. The OLPC part of the project was started by Manusheel Gupta, Managing Director of SEETA (Software for Education, Entertainment and Training Activities) with friends, K.S. Preeti, community friend of SEETA and alumnus from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, University of Delhi and Luke Closs from Socialtext Inc. under the able guidance from Walter Bender, Oversight Board Member at Sugar Labs. The OLPC part of the project is presently coordinated by Manusheel Gupta, Managing Director of SEETA and Vijit Singh, Software Engineer, Products and Services at SEETA.


Features and Design Goals

The main idea of the Spreadsheet activity for the Sugar environment is to include features that would enable children to make easy use of the typical features of Spreadsheet activities such as Organization, Tabulation, Graphing and simple Calculations.
The Tabulation feature enables the user to enter data in a tabular format and edit the data using the various edit features. The Organization feature enables the user to organize the tabular matter in several forms. The program supports a wide variety of formats through its custom format functionality.
The activity also facilitates sorting of numeric data, comments to increase ease of understanding of data, names to access data in different modalities, clipboard function to load and save data, etc. that make the activity even more useful. Graphs are an important tool for visually analysing data. SocialCalc supports graphic features, giving us the ability to represent any data in the for of Histograms. The Calculations feature enables the user to perform mathematical calculations on the numeric data.
The most unique feature of SocialCalc is Collaboration, the ability to support sharing of data over the network and multi-user editing. SocialCalc on Sugar is the first spreadsheet that supports collaboration over the mesh network.
Interoperability is another features that distinguishes SocialCalc. It supports interoperability between SocialCalc on Sugar and Excel (.xls format) and SocialCalc on Sugar and Lotus Notes (.wk3 and .wk4 format). Guides have been developed to help understand the interoperability between SocialCalc on Sugar and Excel and SocialCalc on Sugar and Lotus Notes.


Features of Version #5 of SocialCalc activity on Sugar

A number of features have been introduced in SocialCalc on Sugar since the last community release:
1.Localization in different languages like Spanish, Afrikaans, Hindi, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Chinese (simplified), French, German and Portuguese has been achieved.
2.Ability to read and edit single sheet Excel .xls files has been incorporated.
3.Sharing of activity over the mesh network can be done.
4.Ability to read and edit single sheet Lotus notes has also been introduced.
5.Optimization feature of the save files has been introduced. The sheet extents will include just the part that has the data. This feature also "canonicalizes" the saved data in other ways, such as removing no longer used formats and color definitions from the save file.
6.Localization has been made easy, especially of text in the user interface. All of the text that is normally seen during operation is now easily localizable by changing a single file, socialcalcconstants.js.


Features and Activities in Progress

Development of numerous features and research is currently in progress. Vijit Singh is developing a feature to share SocialCalc activity over the mesh network under the guidance of Manusheel Gupta. Swarandeep Singh is writing a research paper on using SocialCalc activity for implementing Microfinance in rural areas. Audrey Tang is working on developing the multi-user editing, via visualizing peer's e-cells with colored borders.


Opportunity for Developers and Content Creators

SocialCalc offers several opportunities to developers and content creators for contributing to developing it further and participating in a number of initiatives:
1.Develop teacher training videos for SocialCalc on Sugar in their local languages;
2.Develop interoperability between SocialCalc on Sugar and Excel (from MS Office 2007 - xlsx format), Apple iwork Numbers, Google Spreadsheet, Gnumeric, Open Spreadsheet format and Kspread
3.Engineer features to modify the charts (like colors, fonts, scale etc.)
4.Integration of SocialCalc with Paint, Write, Arithmetic, Physics, Turtle Art and E-Toys and other Sugar activities
5.Development of 2-D and 3-D area charts and surface charts
6.Creation of shapes like rectangles, block arrows, equation shapes
7.Creation of templates that could be used as teacher tools (example - income task problem sums)
8.Localization of SocialCalc on Sugar

If you are interested in contributing, please write to at socialcalc.sugar@seeta.in.


Version #5 has been possible due to the sincere efforts of Dan Bricklin, whose invaluable support and guidance has been integral to develop SocialCalc for the Sugar environment; Vijit Singh, Software Engineer at SEETA ; Luke Closs and K.S. Preeti, developers' of the JS-Python communication through XOCOM package; Nicholas Doiron, the author of the graphing features; Mahesh Sharma from SEETA, who developed interoperability between SocialCalc on Sugar and Excel (.xls format); Claudia Urrea and Reuben Caron, responsible for localizing SocialCalc on Sugar to Spanish; Diksha Khatri and Lakky Rawat, who localized SocialCalc on Sugar to Hindi, Chinese (simplified), French, German and Portuguese and Sakshi, who localized SocialCalc on Sugar to Afrikaans, Japanese, Arabic and Russian.

SocialCalc on Sugar has a group for educators, content engineers, developers, translators, curriculum developers, testers and graphic designers on ScalableC (www.scalablec.com) to share ideas, collaborate and engineer curriculum materials and develop case-studies on using SocialCalc on Sugar at schools. If you want to give your feedback about your experience with SocialCalc on Sugar, please join the group if you are a member at ScalableC. If you are not a member, please ask for an invitation at http://www.scalablec.com/register.php with the message "Interested in joining SocialCalc on Sugar group".

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