A few recent and big life events have inspired/motivated me to be force for good in the world. I have many ideas (I think everybody on this forum does), but one idea in particular has persisted stronger and longer than any of the others and it`s the one idea that were I to pass away without having achieved it would cause me the greatest regret.
The idea is for a "drill/test processor" or what others may refer to as a "flashcard application". You can see my application designs at http://www.blawblawblog.com/FlipSpecsQ3_06.doc. I am hesitant to use the term flashcard application, because there is a pre-conceived notion out there about what a flashcard application is (and it falls terribly short of what I want to create). I know that there are flashcard applications out there. I used to have a link to a list of about 100 applications, but it is no longer available. So I am familiar with applications that are out there. There are a couple critical elements with the application I want to develop versus what is currently available.
- The application will adhere to commonly recognized interface design standards (particularly Microsoft Office compatibility design guidelines). Not sure why, but there seems to be an anti-MS bias in this software arena despite it being some of the most used and best recognized software in the world. And MS even encourages you to model their Office interface (it helps their software sell more, plus when they take you over, it makes the transition easier).
- The application will model real world interface (among other things, a flash card that actually acts and behaves like a real flashcard).
- The application will exploit the advantages of the computer by allowing more than one response to be associated with a cue (ie. For this painting identify the artist, the period, the style, the value, etc. VS. For this painting identify the artist, for this painting identify the period, For this painting...). It can greatly facilitate organization of the deck and tests as well.
- Other things as well (I`m trying to keep it brief - really)
I want the application available not just for the teachers and institutions (where most applications of this type are marketed to), but to students as well so they can use it to prepare for exams. I have wrestled with whether to develop the application as a stand-alone application or as a Software as a Service (aka ASP or online) model. I settled on a hybrid that I think does the most good and would work the best. Develop the application as a free (-$) stand alone for students (so it can be used anywhere in the world by anyone) with a standardized file format that allows the files to be uploaded to an online service where institutions can deliver tests and exams and get reports for a reasonable hosting fee.
So my kimono is wide open and I stand in my full monty glory. My problem is I am not a developer (I try, but I have to be realistic) and I have limited resources ($$) to commit to the endeavor. I have already thrown the idea out to OpenOffice (an open source office suite) as a possible add-on to their suite, but it was met with an underwhelming response. I imagine if I want it developed I am going to have to pay to get it don, at least initially. Once it develops a following, getting a community of open source developers to continue the development might be easier, but it has a lot of inertia and it needs a large force to get it started. It`s like I am pushing a locomotive and not getting anywhere and what I need is to jump on board and start stoking the engine. Anybody have any ideas/suggestions/resources they can point me to on how to stoke the engine?