Ideas list for Google Summer of Code 2014

Managana is a free (LGPL3) cross-platform software for digital publication (www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM5Zs32N5MY), and we are always very excited about its development. We currently use Javascript (HTML5), Apache Flex SDK, PHP and MySQL for it. Interested users can learn more about Managana by checking our “Getting started with Managana” document.

Until now we’ve been developing the software to fit day-by-day needs, but it’s time to think ahead and imagine what would make a difference for general usage. Of course this would make the list infinite, but we focused on five different goals:


1. Increased audience
task level: medium (using the current Managana HTML5 code as basis)

The Managana development started aiming the publishing system at the Adobe Flash platform (Flash Player and Adobe AIR). While this technology is still very relevant, the current advances on web standards provides us a more reliable set of tools to work with. That’s why Managana creations can now be exported to be displayed using HTML5. A lot of work has been done on this area but ther’s still so much to do to have a fully free digital publishing system capable of taking full advantage of what HTML5 has to offer.

An example of a Managana creation working on HTML5 can be found here:

http://www.managana.org/editor/?community=aglomeradodaserra&render=5

For comparison, the same publication (the very same files), now using the old Flash Player solution:

http://www.managana.org/editor/?community=aglomeradodaserra

A guide to Managana HTML5 creation can be found at http://www.managana.org/files/Managana-1-6-0-html5.pdf. This document also talks about the limitation our HTML5 player still have compared to the Flash Player one.

The specific goal for this idea is:

  • from the current HTML5 source code, create a more advanced version capable of taking users creations to as many devices as possible by using their web browsers


2. We are not alone!
task level: medium (some research on web services will be needed)

Currently Managana can export sharing information to social networks (FB, Twitter and G+) and also read data from them at runtime (to create “living” publications). We are able to read Twitter, RSS and basic Facebook feeds, and we had also developed a WordPress plugin to use this blog tool as an input interface for Managana.

We are now thinking about improving data exchange with othe web services/software. What about getting pictures from a Flickr or Picasa account? List and access YouTube or Vimeo videos?

The specific goals for this idea are:

  • develop a consistent communication layer with common web services/data providers
  • build current inputs – we call them external feeds – (RSS, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress) into this standarized layer
  • select and add new services (like Picasa or Vimeo) to this communication layer


3. Sign services
task level: high (lots of researching work)

Managana is being developed with freely available content in mind, but we know it can also be used to deploy content based on subscriptions. This would enable people to be small publishers of their own work or the work of small groups.

In order to do that, we would need to find a way to encrypt Managana content. We would also need to improve user management and find a way to charge for the subscriptions.

The specific goals for this idea are:

  • develop an ecryption solution for Managana content to make it unaccessible to unauthorized users
  • improve the user management with increased security and handling
  • create bounds to web payment systems like PayPal to enable transparent and secure transactions


4. Create anywhere
task level: high (very time consumming)

Managana provides full content access on mobile devices, but for now you can only create using a standard computer web browser. We intend to make even the creation available to everyone, everywhere. We think of a limited but still powerfull editor mobile app that can be used for small pieces of content like pictures slideshows, video cards and so on, with media get from the device itself (like its camera).

This “small” editor could be used together with the “full” one to improve mobile-created content on a later time if the user wants it. This is a long term goal, we know, but we need to start it!

The specific goals for this idea are:

  • define a limited set of editing possibilities give the limitation of mobile devices
  • prepare a layout suitable to the devices screen
  • code this interface, considering the current “full” editor 😉
  • create an offline storage system so users can upload their content later to the server

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