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Subject: Zehava Composer II
From: mwforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Jeff Knope)
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2005 13:46:07 -0700

on 4.17 Zehava wrote:

>>Hi Jeff!
>>your project is wonderfull, exactally what I mean, I think such things can 
>>help those children that have problems with typing , and let them more
>>enjoy MicroWorlds  environment, and not to deal with hard things like 
>>typing. I have a request, can you add the commands: wait, ht ,st, clean 
>>show , replace them with conditional commands. The conditional commands 
>>subject will not be studied to those children, Maybe I can do this, but 
>>it's harder to go into the programmer head...

Hi Zehava,

Thank you.  I'm glad you like it.  As you will see in the attached project,
I've already done what you are asking, and gone some further distance as well.

I understand you have a very particular group of students in mind: ages 12-14
with learning disabilities.  I've been trying to broaden the group for which
this program might be helpful: anyone vision-impaired (within limits), anyone
lacking fine motor control, and anyone lacking keyboarding skills.  There are
people of all ages and ability levels who fit these catagories.  Somewhat to
my surprise, even though I personally fit none of these catagories (yet), I
discover I may well start composing code with this thing (or some version of
it) myself.

First, a word about filetypes.  Following Shawn's advice, I'm sending this as
a MWPro Compressed file.  This way anyone with either Pro or  EX may load and
run it.  

It's worth noting, it's much more pleasant to use this program in EX than in
Pro, for two reasons:  EX has a right-click pop-up menu.  When the cursor is
inside the Procedures Tab area, the pop-up includes a "Paste" option.  Pro
lacks this feature.  In Pro, pasting must be done from the Edit menu at the
upper-left, and only after the cursor has been clicked into the Procedures Tab
where you want the copied line of code to go.  This is much less convenient.

Also, in EX there is the "single line" option for textboxes.  This permits the
scrolling of text back-and-forth, off the right and left sides of the box,
instead of the annoying sudden appearance of vertical scroll bars as text is
pushed downward.  This makes the use of the Composer's work area much more
pleasant, especially when using a large fontsize.  However, since you are
receiving this as a MWPro .mw2 file, that textbox is not set to the
single-line mode.  To manually set it after loading into EX, right-click in
the textbox, select "edit," and check "single line."  Now, when you do a
"Save," it will be saved as a .mwx file, with that option already set for
future use.

I wanted a Configuration Wizard, allowing the program to be configured to fit
individual needs.  Since Pro lacks dialog boxes, I have made a simulation of
them that works well in either Pro or EX.  At this point, the only options
offered are selecting a fontsize that suits your vision, and a choice of
background/figure contrast levels, also a vision-related question.  Note
unlike EX's, the simulated dialog boxes allow the use of graphic icons.

If the user selects a fontsize of 16pt or larger (3 such choices), the control
buttons change to a larger size.

I have more than doubled the number of primitives available by clicking.  This
selection probably reflects my own orientation toward graphics.  If I were
composing a text document, I'd want different choices.  Such alternate
primitive groups could easily be added to the Configuration Wizard.  It might
even be possible to toggle between groups.  Of course, any desired primitive
not found on the screen may be typed out using either the keyboard or the
provided alphabets.

I've kept the selection boxes fairly large, making them as easy a target as
possible for those with limited motor skills.  Since the boxes are large, I
used a very large fontsize for easier readability.  There could be a version
not intended for people with disabilities, with smaller target boxes, which
could offer many more primitives on the screen at once.

There is a page staked-out for a help and instructions program, but I haven't
developed it yet.  There is also a Work Table page for testing your programs.

Well, I see I've rattled on just plenty... so, give it a try - and tell me
what you think.


Regards, Jeff


P.S.: I'm having a problem with the last 3 characters on the third line, the ";"  "." and "?"  So far, I'm baffled what's wrong.  I appear to have hit some limit in the allowable size of something or other. So for now, I've made a color change that disables them.



Attachment: Zehava Composer II.mwz
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