The first idea to make a program for learning German came into my mind at the university, when I was studying pedagogy of German and fine arts. I had a lot of time, but only a little money. At that time, everything what was moving on the Internet or on a desktop was made in Macromedia Flash program. Everyone wanted to have a cool Flash moving intro or an interactive web page with videos. We had some computers with Flash in our computer classroom. I learned all the basics really fast, so I decided to make my textbook in this program. For this, I needed my own Flash at home, which meant I had to buy a new computer, because the old one was too slow.
I found some student jobs - I translated German texts, designed web pages and at last, after a year or two, I bought a new fast computer with Flash. Meanwhile, I used to draw some pictures for the Moritz project on the old computer, can you imagine - the screen was only 15" small with 800x600 resolution. Sometimes I lost a lot of work, because the computer was freezing. The only defence was to keep saving the project as often as I could, which worked only manually, so when I sometimes forgot to save it, I lost for example one or two hours of work, sometimes more.
Once my hard disk broke. I found out what was the problem: the reader head was not moving. I bought a special tool to open the bloody thing, I nudged the reader and for a short while I was able to copy most of the data, but not all of it. It was a very hard time but I did not give up.
I was very happy with the new computer, but another thing happened - I graduated, so unfortunately I had to go to work regularly. And I wanted to make the program complete with exercises, games, with a native speaker and so on. I learned Action Script and worked very often after work at night.
Unfortunately, when I had the whole nice program almost ready, one day I ran into problems with Flash - my program was made in one file, but it was too big - too much data to cash for Flash. And one day the program could not be exported. It meant I had to rework the whole program into more files, which cooperated with each other through Action Script. For example, the main file loaded more files like lesson, dictionary, games, categories and so on, on its timeline.
I had almost everything done, a beautiful program which checked automatically yours errors, full of nice pictures, games and lots of interesting lessons, when two things happened. Adobe bought Macromedia and stopped supporting my Action Script 2.0. Instead they released Action Script 3.0, which I did not know. Ok, I learned AS3, god damn - a new programming language could not stop me. Meanwhile, Apple became the leader, and because of the competition it forbid Flash on its devices. Every Flash fan was hit hard. It was the death of Flash and it broke the neck of my first program.
But if a man has a dream, nothing can stop him. I was searching for new ways how to make a desktop program from flash files fast, when of my wife's brother said: "Make it for tablets!" Actually, it was a brilliant idea, because tablets suited my program much better than a usual desktop. Finally, I did what I had to do at the beginning - we saved some money with my wife and made it professionally. We paid a studio to record the original native speaker sound and a proofreader to go through the texts. We found nice small company, who had experience with apps.
I had to work after work at night once again, because all graphics had to be adapted for Apple iPad, which did not support vectors such as Flash. But I exported all at nights (more than 2000 pictures) and my wife prepared all the texts. Everything was nicem but the company had a huge delay and after more than half a year we realised, that the company was not able to finish our complex project. I was very sad and my nerves jangled. Even though they were professionals, in 6 months they were not able to complete what I alone made in two years. We canceled the contract and found Juicymo, a leading company in the Czech Republic. With them we will soon introduce the German with Moritz app!:)
Michal KratochvílPrague, Czech Republic