Apollo (2008)

Apollo logo

Apollo was a software tool for musicians developed for research purposes. The research was for my Honors thesis in 2008. Apollo is an environment for musicians to capture, enrich, organize their musical ideas. The environment is built upon a free-form hypermedia system called Expeditee. Expeditee was in development in 2008 (a Google funded project), created and owned by Rob Akscyn, it is a modern spin off of it’s predecessor KMS. Apollo (the Greek god of music and other things) exploited its free-form environment and its ease of “getting things done quickly” to aid musicians in expressing their musical ideas.

An extract of my thesis illustrates an analogy I like to use to describe Apollo is: “with a painter and their notebook, ideas are quickly sketched out to the page, so why not look to achieve the equivalent experience for a
musician? The process with a painter is quick to transfer their ideas to the page so their thought processes are not lost. The sketches are rough, but conveyed in sufficient detail so that they know exactly how the polished picture will look like, even if they later come back to it years afterward. The artist’s sketches even may not be what they want first time round, they might augment it later, or flip the page to take a different perspective”.

A typical frame in Apollo (bad quality capture sorry)

A typical frame in Apollo (bad quality capture sorry)

Content can be created with ease on the fly. Users can create content on a frame, which is similar to a web page. Content includes text, vector graphics, images or raw audio. Frames can contain links to other frames (i.e. a hypermedia environment). This is like URL’s on web pages.

There was so much work invested in this project that I cannot be bother listing all the features or outlining the work to support malleable widgets in a free-form environment. One feature that participants found interesting was the melody search feature: when musicians had stored their musical ideas (as raw audio and other mixed media) they could query their idea collection by singing (or humming) into their microphone. Apollo presents a list of ranked results from best matching to worse of their melody query and the raw audio of their ideas.

The thesis covers most of the features I developed, and is an interesting read (in my opinion!).

Read the thesis: PDF version | Online version

Apollo's Diary Study logo

This project involved many people. It was difficult writing on top of a evolving system, sure SVN can helpful with collaboration – but Apollo was more of a modified version of Expeditee rather than a plugin (Expeditee did not have a plugin system). I made a lot of contributions to the Expeditee core – providing a widget system for which most of Apollo builds upon (Apollo can be since as a widget pack for Expeditee). There were many participants who helped with deciding the designs/feature of Apollo, as well as evaluating them (see thesis).

It is written in Java and has been tested on Linux, MS Windows and Mac. I cannot release the application since it is based on a system (Expeditee) that is currently in development. It will be open source and freely available to the world at some stage. I will release it as soon as Expeditee goes public.

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