AriesType

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AriesType's credits. Brian Dougher, a friend, helped out with the graphics and used his BASIC compiler to generate EXE files from the QBASIC source code
AriesType was a touch typing education program that I made while I was a freshman in high school. It tied into the local Novell NetWare network to be a multi-user application with different capabilities given to students, teachers, and system operators. AriesType also included basic local email and paging capabilities. At the time, I had penned some of my software as Aries Software or a variant, though Aries Software was simply an unregistered alter-ego of me.

I wrote AriesType in lieu of taking an introductory computer class in high school, and the work primarily occurred during class hours in the same classroom at that class. My past experience at the time with computers and software enabled that position. This project was my first network-enabled multi-user application and was worthwhile for learning about related concerns.

AriesType was completed as a working product, though its real-time student typing playback feature was never finished. The typing playback feature would have simulated what the screen looked like for a selected student's typing session, including delays and mistakes, though this likely would not have given much value to teachers. This and the email and paging features are classic examples of gold plating that less-experienced software engineers suffer from.

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Screenshots

Typing

Students touch type sentences into AriesType while the system logs the character and timing of each keystroke for later playback.

View of a student typing sentences. AriesType collects metrics on accuracy and timing as the student types
The results of a student's typing efforts, which are shown to the student after they finish. The teacher can also retrieve these results as they are stored on the network

Sentence Editor

Teachers can edit and choose the set of sentences that students type.

Sentence editor menu, which also lets a teacher import sentences from an expansion floppy disk or another directory
The sentence editor, which allows editing of one line at a time

Menus

AriesType displayed a different menu to students, teachers, and system operators.

The unfinished graphical version of AriesType. Only the teacher's menu had a graphical alternative
The student's menu. Menu item accessibility is controlled for each student by the teacher. If the exit option is disabled, then attempting to exit tells the student to reboot the computer
The text version of the teacher's menu. Real-time playback of the student's typing was not finished, which is shown as the first item in the menu. In retrospect, such a feature is likely of little or no value to teachers
The graphical version of the teacher's menu with the paging submenu shown. Students can page teachers, similar to how a mobile pager operates, but unlike instant messaging, a teacher must check for pages, and pages to not contain anything other than the name of the student who paged
The system operator's menu

Email

AriesType supported a limited form of local-only email. Users could not communicate with people outside of a network's AriesType installation using this system.

AriesType's email setup screen, which asks for the destination user and the subject line. The sender needs to get the destination name exactly correct or else risk having the recipient not seeing the message, and no warning is given to the sender if that happens
The message's contents were typed in one line at a time, and it was not possible to return to a previous line after the [Enter] key was pressed. Messages had a limit of 15 lines
The student, who was the recipient of the email in the previous screenshot, receives the message when they check for mail. Deleting a message was known as "killing" it, though it unfortunately does not work properly in the final version of AriesType
AriesType included an initial email with the installation that highlighted my ego at the time