richdale & friends and Active Content AG
The open source rich media framework Xical is a result of a long time of work, cooperation and expertise in e-learning, web based knowlege management and content syndication.
'Active Content AG' is one of Germany's leading providers of professional e-learning solutions and e-learning project management.
'richdale & friends' is a small group of e-lancers (Gee, look, Buzzword!), with, amongst other things, a track record of successful, sophisticated web and data-migration applications, e-learning projects and a thourough focus and dedication towards open source software.
The origins of Xical
Xical is based on core components and implementations of various e-learning solutions developed by richdale & friends and Active Content AG throughout the the year 2000. Mostly for various clients in the field of professional training.
Usually e-learning frameworks are built almost entirely from scratch for each project. On top of that, collaboration on a professional scale is next to impossible for media designers and programmers in the field. Often this is also due to the strong proprietary nature of multimedia developement enviroments. All these disadvantages are even stronger if the resulting e-learning enviroment is supposed to provide media rich presentations of it's content.
With Xical, Active Content AG and richdale & friends aim to provide a framework that puts an end to all these constraints. An end to constantly reinventing the wheel also ending the long, expensive, tedious and staff-intense task of handcrafting rich media applications. Applications that, once finally finished and shipped, can no longer be modified for new requirements or necessary changes to the content.
For example, in the past translating a flash based, media rich e-learning application to a different language usually was a long and resource hungry task to acomplish. And often required the designers and programmers to do such work themselves, as core components essential to the behaviour of such applications and the actual language were closely entangled.
With Xical translating a flash e-learning tutorial is not much more difficult than updating HTML-documents on a modern web-oriented content management system.
Why build something groundbreaking like Xical and then release it as open source?
The people and companies who provided the first production grade version of Xical always have been strong believers in a service oriented approach to IT related business. Some people involved in Xical are strong open source advocates, while others strive to push the envelope in technologies that provide a better end-user experience without getting in the way of developement and the extension of business fields.
All together we believe that Xical can unfold it's full potential as an open source product and that an open sourced Xical also has the strength to provide means of standardization in the rich media and e-learning field. Standards which are desperately needed in order for the wide area of media-intense content to finally grow up and mature.