One of the parts of CommuniKate 20 that turned out to be very popular is the live demo (you can view a video of it in action here).
It’s time to talk a little bit about that live demo and how it works. This is one of those posts that’s only focused on the technical reader. It will have very little value to the non-coders among you I’m afraid.
The live demo software is called AzuleJoe, it’s entirely open-source and, like almost all the code presented on this site, it’s available to download from github.
When you view the live demo, what you are actually looking at is the CommuniKate 20 pageset running on the AzuleJoe software. The software that became AzuleJoe dates back to 2009 when I built a system for my little brother. When we started to prepare CommuniKate 20 for public release in 2014, the software was significantly overhauled into something that developed it’s own identity
The name ‘AzuleJoe’…
In case you are wondering, the name ‘AzuleJoe is pronounced A-fo-lec-oy, AzuleJoe is a Basque word meaning Tiles. I Apologise for the ‘out there’ nature of the word but when you are trying to find a word that sounds like it might be something to do with an AAC device and also includes “Joe” as the last three letters (“CommuniKate” rather painted me into a corner) you are pretty happy with a short word that means Tiles.
Why is it separate?
Of course, we could have folded AzuleJoe in with CommuniKate and left it as a simple online demo. The reason we that we separated out the projects should be obvious to anyone browsing the repository: AzuleJoe can demonstrate any pageset, not just CommuniKate 20. CommuniKate 20 is the first openly licensed pageset, we have no intention that it should be the only.
If you’ve got a pageset that you would like to see running online easily, then the AzuleJoe code will help out, and indeed, Joe will probably help out if you ask.
Some of AzuleJoe’s design features might be a little unexpected on first viewing, but they are generally part of a reasoned view. Let’s look at one in particular.
Full page images
You might expect that the images that AzuleJoe works on to look like this:
Instead they look like this:
You can see how simple this is to build, one image for every page and one very simple file to go with each one.
Why is this useful?
We think that pageset design should be as simple as possible for users. If it’s PowerPoint it can be a communication book as quickly as it can be a working AAC demo. We want to be able to say to people “Here is a PowerPoint Template, now you can build a pageset concentrating on the language rather than the buggy interface some programmer threw together. When you are finished. We’ll expand it out for you.”
I like open source things, how can I get involved?
We love the idea of people helping out with the code. Because AzuleJoe is currently such a simple project, it’s there are a lot of easy things that people can do to help. So if you’d like to fork the repo to, for example:
- provide scanning
- use native TTS on android (or any other format)
- retarget AzuleJoe to a different pageset
- import from (hard) or export to (medium) the openboardformat
- precompute utterances
Then we’d love to see what you can do. I’d also love to hear from people who are used to working with the Microsoft Office file formats.