[kde-edu]: [RFC] KPhysics - Interactive physics experiments for KDE

Jure Repinc jlp at holodeck1.com
Thu Apr 27 15:00:18 CEST 2006


I'm a physics student here at University of Ljubljana and I have this
idea in my head for quite some time (it is one of the reasons I started
learning C++/Qt/KDE programming). It is an idea about new application
which would be perfect for KDE Edu. I call it KPhysics for now (if you
have a suggestion for a better name I would like to hear it).

KPhysics would be similar to some application that my father bought me
when I was in primary school and it contained videos, pictures and
explanations of physical experiments. I liked it a lot, but missed the
interactivity in it (change a parameter and see what happens).

So I decided to start learning how to program and try to make a similar,
more interactive application for KDE. Now that the summer holidays are
near I decided to write this e-mail to let you know about my plans and
to ask about some things.

So here are my plans for KPhysics.
I would like to make it as modular as possible. For example there would
be a framework with user interface. All the experiments would be in
plug-ins (so that anyone could add/remove experiments as easily as
possible). Those experiment plug-ins would contain one experiment (in
picture, interactive graphics (maybe even OpenGL), ... ) and commentary
about it (in HTML). Each plug-om would also have some properties like
what type of experiment it contains so that you can filter them from the
user interface (disable OpenGL experiments automatically if no support
is found on the system, show only experiments from certain filed of
physics, only experiments for certain level of education system...).

The interface would show the filtered experiments in a tree like
structure (in categories read from plug-in properties). Maybe something
like tree shown for folders/files or maybe using HTML hierarchy similar
to books. It would also be able to browse through experiments using big
icons view (like in Konqueror).

Well I hope the picture about my idea is clear enough. So now about my

Does it make sense to you? Is this framework/plug-ins idea the right one
for this application? Did I make any mistake when thinking about this
and do you think I should change this?

How hard is it to make this framework/plug-ins structure?
Keep in mind that I'm only a beginner C++/Qt/KDE programmer, but willing
to learn a lot this summer. But I guess I would need quite a lot of help
and answers from you guys and girls with much more experience.

I was thinking about targeting KDE4, because I guess it will take a bit
longer until this KPhysics is done and because I would like to learn how
to program for KDE4, which will also run on Mac OS and Windows and the
more people can use KPhysics the better

Is it that much harder to program for KDE4 then for KDE3. How fast are
changes in API? Is there any history/changelog of API changes that is
updated regularly and that I could easily follow?

Would anyone be willing to be my mentor for the Google Summer of Code
2006? Is this even the right kind of the project for SoC?

Well this is all for now. Sorry for a bit longer post. Thanks in advance
for all your answers and comments.

Jure Repinc

JLP's Blog - http://jlp.holodeck1.com/blog/

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