Activity Team/Resources

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Getting started in Activity development

If you have no experience developing Sugar activities, these resources will help get you started.

Setting up a Sugar environment

If you use Linux, your best bet is to install sugar-jhbuild. You will be able to develop in your native environment, treating Sugar as just another desktop application.

If you run MacOS X or Windows, you will need to set up an emulator. For Mac OS X, see Supported_systems/Mac. For Windows, see Supported_systems/Windows.

To develop efficiently using an emulator or a secondary machine running Sugar natively (such as an OLPC XO), find an editor which supports editing files over a SFTP connection. Komodo Edit is a good example.

Python Reference & Tutorials

Python is the language Sugar is written in and is also used by most activities. If you don't already know Python well, you should familiarize yourself with it before continuing.

PyGTK Reference & Tutorials

PyGTK is the user interface toolkit used by Sugar activities. Bookmark these two links as you will reference them frequently during development.

The following sections of the PyGTK tutorial are most relevant to activity development.

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Getting Started
  • 3. Moving On
  • 4. Packing Widgets
  • 5. Widget Overview
  • 6. The Button Widget
  • 7. Adjustments
  • 8. Range Widgets
  • 9. Miscellaneous Widgets
  • 10. Container Widgets
  • 12. Drawing Area

Sugar Activities

The Sugar Almanac contains all the information you need to start writing Sugar activities, ranging from directory structure to bundle format to API reference. It also contains answers to common questions and examples of common tasks.

This automatically updated site contains the official API documentation for Sugar. Though it is currently quite sparse, the source code is included with the documentation and it's useful to have that at your fingertips.

Cairo Graphics

Cairo is the graphics library used in Sugar. The tutorial is a good introduction to the API as well as vector graphics programming in general.

Sugar Human Interface Guidelines (HIG)

Required reading before planning the user interface for your activity. These pages give a good introduction to the thought process behind the Sugar environment and will help a lot when designing your activity.

i18n (Localisation) Best Practices

Once you have strings in your Activity, here are some general tips which will make your translators happy :-)

JSON introduction

JSON is a data format commonly used to store activity data in the Journal.

Currently, the recommended JSON library is simplejson. It has also become the standard JSON library in Python 2.6+.

NOTE: There is an odd thing about simplejson - in python25 it lives in simplejson module, but in python26 it uses json module. So, use something like this to wrap it.

Git introduction

Git is the version control software used by Sugar Labs. It is a distributed version control system and is quite powerful, but requires a lot of command line use.

XML routines

There are dozens Python classes to satisfy the XML standard, but if you want just save/load parameters use "Zen of XML" in Python - ElementTree library. It's supported out of the box in Python 2.5 (xml.etree.ElementTree module). In previous versions you'll have to install library by yourself.

But if you just need a simple configuration format to read/write Python objects, check out JSON instead.

Speech synthesizing

If you want to add a speech synthesizer for English and other languages, try the gst-plugins-espeak plugin for gstreamer.

Activity Development Resources

This is an open area for posting links related to activity development.

References

Tutorials and Whitepapers

Community resources

Stuck?

If you have a question, don't hesitate to ask the activity team. We are happy to help and can often save you a lot of hunting for answers.

We hang out in #sugar on irc.freenode.net, and you can always subscribe and post questions to sugar-devel@lists.sugarlabs.org.