The Crimeville Language Server

Our very own Jacob Sparre will be giving a presentation at The Ada Connection 2011 Conference on the spelling/language server he has developed for the Danish (soon international) childrens game Crimeville. For those of us that aren’t fortunate enough to be in Edinburgh for the conference, Jacob has made both the presentation (PDF file) and the source code (ZIP file) available on his website.

Here’s a blurb from the presentation:

When Art of Crime contacted me, their problem was simply
described as helping the players write correctly, and limit how much they insult each other. – Already at this stage the plan
was to do this at the word level. In short, every word written by a player should be categorized in one of four categories; correct, foul, misspelled or unknown. I proposed a solution with network servers checking words using Ispell compatible Open Source spell checkers.

It is an interesting read for sure, and the accompanying source code is just an added benefit for those of us who’d like to learn how to best tame Ada to do our bidding. This obviously includes me, so thanks a bunch Jacob! :o)

Spring rolls, RC toys, Crimeville and general Ada fun

So we’ve concluded yet another open Ada-DK meeting, and as usual it was both fun and interesting. The turnout was quite good, with me, Jacob Sparre Andersen, , Jørgen Bundgaard, Per Dalgas Jakobsen and Ulrik Hørlyk Hjort rocking the boat.

First order of business was getting a Windows XP computer to accept a bluetooth connection from Jacobs smartphone. It wasn’t as straightforward as could be expected, but after some fiddling around with an arcane piece of “software”, it worked. We celebrated our success with chocolates (Per had brought a big box of chocolate!), cookies and salt sticks. Yea, when programmers party, they party hard! Obviously we all agreed that Windows is just as much a solid OS as emacs is just an editor.

Next up Jacob had prepared a version of the talk he’s going to be giving at The Ada Connection. In short the talk is about a spelling/foul words module he has build for the danish browser based children MMO Crimeville. It was some pretty interesting stuff, involving POSIX, Ada, sockets and GNU Aspell. The entire project was decidedly more compact than I had originally expected, and Jacob was quite pleased to announce that almost half of the code was reused from other projects. Ada for the win!

I must say that I really feel I should learn more about POSIX and Florist – it’s some wicked powerful stuff. I plan on picking Jacob’s brain dry. As soon as I find some time. Damn you, you way too short 24 hour days….

After Jacob’s talk, it was time for some dinner. As usual we ordered from the local chinese restaurant. A bunch of delicious spring rolls with fries on the side. Yummy stuff!

Shortly after dinner, I had to handle a business-related crisis, which took some 40-45 minutes, but I did manage to hear that talk was going on about the various roles and responsibilities of software engineers and software architects. It all sounded very interesting, and I was quite sad about missing out. But hey, a guy’s got to make a living, so business had to come before pleasure.

Later Ulrik and I spent some time on the Android app he’s building for my business. It’s coming along nicely, even though I must admit I’m somewhat behind schedule with the server. We both agree that Android really needs an Ada environment.

We then talked at length about the Copenhagen Suborbitals latest rocket launch. The launch was a success, but they did have some problems with stability and the unfolding of the parachutes. Maybe these are areas where a few eager danish Ada programmers can assist with some quality software?

Per had as usual brought a case full of funny and interesting gizmos, and for the first time Jørgen got to the see early stages of what perhaps is going to end up as the future Ada-DK robot. Talk about that specific robot soon slipped into RC toys, and we saw an _awesome_ video (got a link for me Per?) of a guy who could do almost magical things with a radio controlled helicopter. I’ve never seen anything like it. The rest of the evening was spent talking about RC toys and watching cool videos of people who’ve built the most amazing things.

As a sidenote Ulrik mentioned that he’d met some guys who’ve expressed interest in both Ada and the open Ada-DK meetings. They are obviously more than welcome, as are all who’re interested in the worlds greatest programming language. :o)