andym
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:10 am

Hi,
I recently had the idea of setting up an app store for the Raspberry Pi.

The main purpose of this would be:
1. Make it easy for kids to discover apps, games and content and download it.
2. Encourage learning by making the source code easily discoverable and editable.
3. Encourage sharing of apps and learning resources.

I think there is still a high learning curve with using and developing software on linux. Anything we can do to ease the learning curve for teachers and children will mean quicker adoption of the RPi in the class room.

I''ve put more information about how this would work here: http://open-app-store.org/
I''d appreciate any feedback or thoughts you might have.

- Andrew

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abishur
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:12 am

Sorry this is off topic, but how did you input the previous post to get that odd scroll bar in your post?
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

SANGER_A2
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:04 am

This seems a bit pointless. For a start, the R-Pi runs different operating systems depending on the user choice. It's not like an android phone. Different apps have to be compiled differently depending on the operating system they are to run on.

Also, Debian/Fedora and pretty much every other Linux distribution under the sun already have package managers installed that let you install/uninstall/upgrade the packages. You can even use them to install other package managers. You don't have to rely on command-line tools like yum, ipkg and apt! A nice example is one that comes with Fedora here. Lots of them let you browse software by category.

And these packages are all free and will stay that way. There is no room for commercial software or companies trying to sell it on Linux or the R-Pi. That goes against the whole ethos of both products!

Or have I misunderstood what your "app store" is for? What platform will these "apps" run on?

PS I know there are SOME commercial products for linux, but these are usually specialist ones used by businesses etc so I didn't count them!

Chris.Rowland
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:25 am

AFAIK there's no reason why commercial apps could not be sold for the Pi.  I can imagine games sold on a pre programmed SD card.  Plug it in, turn it on and the game runs.

They would be available in W H Smith, just like games cassettes for the Spectrum and BBC Micro were available - next to the Raspberry Pi magazines.

andym
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:09 am

The chosen platform at the moment is HTML/JavaScript/Node.js. That way apps can work for most OS's and it would be possible to do more than browser-based stuff with Node.js.

Of course the chosen tech stack has a big influence over the app store since it's going to turn on and off different people. I'm open to suggestions on how it could work.

Maybe part of the problem could be solved by having a good resources site providing info on tutorials and where to get the necessary applications from. But then installing the apps is never going to be a simple single click.

Abishur - not sure how the formatting screwed up. I pasted from a text editor and tried to use numbering - I think the <pre> tags are causing the issue.

Leon Brown
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:06 pm

I suggested a while ago about using a platform I created for a Raspberry Pi app store, but didn't get a response. I'd be happy to discuss more ideas if folks are interested.

SANGER_A2
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:22 pm

andym said:


The chosen platform at the moment is HTML/JavaScript/Node.js. That way apps can work for most OS's and it would be possible to do more than browser-based stuff with Node.js.

Of course the chosen tech stack has a big influence over the app store since it's going to turn on and off different people. I'm open to suggestions on how it could work.

Maybe part of the problem could be solved by having a good resources site providing info on tutorials and where to get the necessary applications from. But then installing the apps is never going to be a simple single click.


That makes a bit more sense. So it doesn't matter what OS they have. Just anything that can run a browser will work yes?

andym
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:18 pm


That makes a bit more sense. So it doesn't matter what OS they have. Just anything that can run a browser will work yes?


Yes. I see there being 2 different kinds of apps that can run, plain HTML/JS only apps (like the W3c widget standard: http://www.w3.org/TR/widgets/) and more complex apps that take advantage of what Node.js has to offer.

Mozilla has their own app store in the works (https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/apps/) so I'm keeping an eye on how that progresses. The 2 things that Mozilla are not offering are 1) a way to do anything outside of the browser and 2) an app store that can be customised with content & apps targeted for a specific users. Perhaps I should talk more with those guys since obviously they are doing a lot that I want to do too.

SANGER_A2
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:46 pm

andym said:



Mozilla has their own app store in the works (https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/apps/) so I'm keeping an eye on how that progresses. The 2 things that Mozilla are not offering are 1) a way to do anything outside of the browser and 2) an app store that can be customised with content & apps targeted for a specific users. Perhaps I should talk more with those guys since obviously they are doing a lot that I want to do too.




Chrome too. They have loads.

BrightonPi
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:07 pm

Games would be problematic in the HTML model, as HTML5 games can be resource hogs even on desktop.

Im wondering if games would be better served by some kind of direct bootloader (if this is even possible) - For example I use middleware to produce identical binary/ARM mobile apps in c++ for IOS/Android/and Playbook, which have a tiny loader in OS specific code.

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:02 pm

BrightonPi said:


Games would be problematic in the HTML model, as HTML5 games can be resource hogs even on desktop.

Im wondering if games would be better served by some kind of direct bootloader (if this is even possible) - For example I use middleware to produce identical binary/ARM mobile apps in c++ for IOS/Android/and Playbook, which have a tiny loader in OS specific code.


Agreed. Top end  games are going to need to be in C (or similar) using the OpenGL acceleration. Lower end could be Python I suppose, again would need to use HW acceleration if going 3D (if I ever get it working!). Java/HTML stuff is going to be a bit slow.
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BigPete
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:05 pm

It would be kinda cool however if there were games that you could load from an sd image.  Kinda like an old game cartridge.  Download them and write them to sd (Would require a pc or second sd reader) Then stick the card in the Pi and it boots straight to the game.

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Montala
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:07 pm

Chris Rowland said:


AFAIK there's no reason why commercial apps could not be sold for the Pi.  I can imagine games sold on a pre programmed SD card.  Plug it in, turn it on and the game runs.

They would be available in W H Smith, just like games cassettes for the Spectrum and BBC Micro were available - next to the Raspberry Pi magazines.


I wonder just how long it will be before we see a dedicated Raspberry Pi magazine on the shelves of W H Smith?

Answers on a postcard...

andym
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:11 pm


I wonder just how long it will be before we see a dedicated Raspberry Pi magazine on the shelves of W H Smith?

Answers on a postcard…


The sad fact is, the cost of print is only rising, and digital costs are dropping... so a Raspberry Pi magazine might not happen for that reason.

Content & games loaded from an SD card is a neat idea, but - who wants to use an SD card when you can easily just plugin a network cable or use wi-fi?

Back to the app store. I'm thinking that HTML5/JS apps are probably best served by Mozilla; they are launching their app store later this year. The Node.js JavaScript community has really great momentum and is innovating some really great stuff. It probably would make sense to have a Node.js app store. As for the Raspberry Pi, I guess the first step is a really good resources site / web magazine.

BrightonPi
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:31 pm

BigPete said:


It would be kinda cool however if there were games that you could load from an sd image.  Kinda like an old game cartridge.  Download them and write them to sd (Would require a pc or second sd reader) Then stick the card in the Pi and it boots straight to the game.


Yes thats exactly the sort of senario i was envisioning.  One great advantage of Pi - is that we can forget the fragmentation of OS as the hardware is standardised.  So, i can envision some very minimal loader for GL which you can strap onto any game binary.  Then you could Appstore the binaries ...

Leon Brown
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:43 pm

If you're looking at a cross platform apps format for the app store, I'm assuming you'll be interested in the jPlay format I'm developing:

http://files.nextpoint.co.uk/demo/jplay/

jPlayers will be available for multiple formats including Raspberry Pi.

Joefish
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:45 pm

Surely a generic boot loader and menu screen, something like the Wii's 'Channels' view, such that you could put multiple binaries onto the same card, and shuffle them around so your favourites come up first?

One of them then being the app store app itself...

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cnxsoft
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:46 pm

I actually consider Synaptic (or apt-get) to be an app store. It's not really user friendly however.

bitplane
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:01 pm

Doesn't Debian come with Ubuntu's Software Center nowadays? That's nice and easy to use, you'd just need to add an extra software source and provide a repository filled with games.

Then to be newbie-friendly you could just have a link on the desktop that opens Software Center on the Raspberry Pi Games section.

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grumpyoldgit
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:07 pm

Debian comes with Synaptic Package Manager, which is not the same as Ubuntu Software Centre.

andym
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:26 pm

cnxsoft said:


I actually consider Synaptic (or apt-get) to be an app store. It's not really user friendly however.


I've not seen any linux-based app store that is user friendly for discovering new apps. Most do the job of being able to find something you are looking for, but none of them making browsing a pleasant experience.

I do think another issue with the current software centres/app stores is that they don't encourage learning in any way. It's not easy to look under the hood to find out how things are made. That's the main reason why I think kids are better off learning HTML5/JavaScript because it's more accessible. You need something as simple as View > Source...

For now I'm going to concentrate more on supporting HTML5/Node.js apps. I've written some more details here:

https://groups.google.com/d/msg/open-ap ... 3k4ZS5OLkJ

kreggz
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:53 am

I thought the Raspi was being aimed at teaching programming with Python (and others too). Maybe your app store could specialise Indie/Amateur Python programs and games?

andym
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:49 pm

kreggz said:


I thought the Raspi was being aimed at teaching programming with Python (and others too). Maybe your app store could specialise Indie/Amateur Python programs and games?


The website just says "By default, we’ll be supporting Python as the educational language". No information on what that means exactly or why they've come to that decision.

The programming language that kids learn with isn't so important, it's what they learn and how it is taught that is more important.

I don't have anything against Python (I quite like it in fact), but I don't see any reason why it should be given a special treatment over other languages.

I think the first step is a really good resources site, so teachers can easily make lesson plans. Let teachers pick the best available learning resources, if that happens to be Python, then great.

Phoenix RasPi
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Re: Raspberry Pi App Store?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:12 am

The general idea is quite good, and I would think that various sections could be developed for varying levels of expertise, with the easy stuff coming up in the default mode, and more expert areas navigable with increasing amounts of work (and the default can be reconfigured to whatever level(s) you currently want).

The very beginner level would include things that you just double-click on and start playing with.  Somewhat more advanced levels would be written in Python, BASIC, Java, whatever, where the editor/IDE comes up when the source file is double-clicked.  Help would also open upon boot so it's obvious where to access it, and context-sensitive help that changes as you enter various development steps would be even better.

At the higher levels, the appropriate IDE and/or command-line windows would open with help open to the right place in a background window.  The user's experience level could be selectable, if not inferable, and provide the appropriate amount of assistance.  It can be quite a leap going from the typical scripting languages to things like C and C++, and having templates come up that require increasing levels of experience could ease users into more advanced concepts.  There is a lot more to software development than just programming, and students should be introduced to all phases of quality software work, from specs, through design, implementation, documentation, testing, debugging, and iterative improvement.

Or, stuff could just be listed in alphabetical order by height ...

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