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Senior Project - The Martini Project


Ristretto Beans: Generating Interactive Simulation Java Components

Senior Project: 1997-1998
Joshua Given, Kevin Kohn, Theron LaBounty and Elizabeth Phelps

The Center for Lifelong Learning and Design (L3D) is part of the Department of Computer Science and the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. The mission of the Center is to establish, both by theoretical work and by building prototype systems, the scientific foundations for the construction of intelligent systems that serve as amplifiers of human capabilities. Members L3D and AgentSheets Inc. have been actively engaged in end-user programming research and development for several years. AgentSheets is used internationally in projects including educational applications for kids, programming environments for computerized LEGO toys, and simulations of space shuttle experiments created by NASA scientists.

Java and Java Beans are highly promising technologies initiating a new era of software engineering in which modularized software components such as widgets, simulations, drawing tools, meters, and plotters can be produced, shared and combined by independent developers across hardware and software platforms. Unfortunately, this vision is largely aimed at hard core programmers, leaving out non-programming computer users. SunSoft is hoping to empower these so called end-users with a Visual Studio to at least combine existing Java Bean components. This project goes one step further by allowing end-users, in the domain of interactive simulations and games, to produce and market their own beans.

The goal of this project was to develop a leading edge programming environment that allows a wide range of computer users, including children, students, teachers and professionals, with no programming experience to create their own SimCity-like interactive simulation and game JavaBean components. These components can be accessed and shared via the World Wide Web. The project extends the existing AgentSheets and Ristretto systems with the Ristretto Bean generator that allows users, at the press of a single button, to create Java Beans and Visual Java Components that are ready to be combined with other components using SunSoft's Java Studio. The software was developed in Lisp and Java in a MacOS environment.

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