Notes from the Aloha Barcamp

Aloha offices, poster and life-size doll-man wearing Aloha shirt
A few weeks ago, I attended an Aloha editor barcamp in Vienna, Austria. I know you are feeling sorry for me, right now. It was actually during the recent floods in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Germany, but due to extensive flood control and regulation of the Danube, Vienna was completely spared and the weather was gorgeous for us.

I posted what I was planning to show earlier, and that is basically what transpired. I demonstrated the OERPUB editor built on Aloha. I demonstrated the new mathematics editing, as well as adaptations to the image, table, and link plugins. I also showed transformation tools that bring content from web pages, office documents, Google Docs etc, into the editor. Marvin Reimer and Tom Woodward showed more detail focusing on the way the original Aloha editor code was adapted.
(or see presentation in Google Drive)

I had never been to a barcamp, so I had no idea what to expect. I still don’t know if this one was typical or atypical. There were about 30 participants, most from the Vienna area. Sourcefabric, Connexions, and OERPUB traveled to the event. Petro, of Aloha, was our MC of sorts and had everyone introduce themselves and pick something to present on. Phil Schatz of Connexions presented on github-book, which we will be using in South Africa later this summer. It uses github to store books written with the Aloha editor. Gentic’s (Aloha’s sponsor company) blog features it.

Only a few of the presentations were directly related to Aloha, because about half the participants were not yet using Aloha, but rather were evaluating and  learning. I was the only person with a presentation in hand, but then again, almost everyone was a developer. Actually, I was expecting more coding and less presenting. There were presentations on general purpose technologies like like AngularJS, Marionnette.js, d3.js and CSS3. Aloha presented about real-time collaboration for Aloha, developed by a partner company. Aloha also had hands-on workshops on creating an Aloha plugin and adding youtube videos using content change handlers that notice youtube links inserted into text.

My team and Connexions spent an extra day working with the Aloha team on ‘undo’ and handling ‘cut-and-paste’ of structured elements. Those are both really critical in a document editor. We needed some relatively simple ways to improve those so that textbook sprints will be successful. More on what we decided in another post.

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