University of Nottingham Xerte

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University of Nottingham Xerte

University of Nottingham Xerte

The Xerte Project

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Welcome to the Xerte Project!

Welcome to The Xerte Project! The Xerte Project is an initiative to provide high quality free software to educators all over the world, and to build a global community of users and developers around our tools.

The project began in 2004 at the University of Nottingham, when work began to create a Flash-based runtime engine that would help the in-house multimedia development team speed up the development of interactive learning materials, and provide a platform for re-using good solutions to common problems that developers were typically solving every time they began a new project. Accessibility, in particular, can be a difficult issue for content developers, and an early goal was to provide the very best support for high levels of native accessibility.

To begin with, the tools were aimed at technical users: essentially the engine provided a library of useful classes that developers could access by writing XML to structure content, and writing code to develop interactivity. Early projects were created by hand using tools like notepad. Soon an editor was developed to make this much easier, and the tools were released under a free license in 2006: the Xerte community was born.

We began to discover that many of our users, attracted by the software’s features, were struggling with some of the more technical aspects of developing content. Many did not write code and consequently found development difficult. Nevertheless, a community of users and developers began to put the tools to real use in institutions and organisations around the world. These efforts provided invaluable real world use cases which have alway informed ongoing developments, and to this day the project has a very strong base in addressing real world problems.

It was clear that there was a huge number of potential users who found the technical nature of development too difficult. To address this, an additional layer of templates were developed that allowed non-technical users to assemble content using simple forms, and the user community began to grow very quickly. Tools were developed that made it very easy for developers to create additional templates and soon a suite of some 30 templates provided a fairly comprehensive set of tools for authoring rich, interactive and highly accessible content.