Characteristics of JClic
The JClic project is an evolution of the programme Clic
3.0, a tool for the creation of multimedia educational applications
with more than 10 years of history. Throughout this time many educators
have been using it to design interactive activities which work on procedures
of diverse curricular areas, from kindergarten up to secondary education.
The main goals of the project are:
- Allow the use of Clic applications online.
- Retain compatibility with the existing Clic 3.0 applications.
- Make possible the use of Clic in different platforms and operating
systems, like Windows, Linux, Solaris or Mac OS X.
- To use open standards for the storage of the activities data, in
order to facilitate its integration into databases of educational
- To extend the area of cooperation and exchange of materials among
schools and educators of different countries and cultures, facilitating
the translation and adaptation of the programme as well as of the
- To integrate both the suggestions for improvement and new features
sent in by users.
- To start a community of development around the project, extending
the cooperative work among different teams of programmers, designers,
translators and other volunteers.
The programming tool chosen was Java,
and the format selected to store the data of the activities is
JClic is formed by four applications:
- JClic applet
An applet that allows the embedding of JClic activities on a web page.
- JClic player
An independent programme that, once installed, allows the activities
to be played from the local disk (or from the local network) without
the necessity of being connected to the Internet.
- JClic author
The authoring tool, that allows the creating, editing and
publishing of the activities in a simpler, more visual and intuitive
- JClic reports
Collects data and generates reports on the results of the activities
done by the students.
The first module (the applet) downloads automatically the
first time that a page which contains an inlaid project JClic is visited.
The other ones can be installed in the computer
through Java WebStart.
Compatibility and new possibilities
The development of the JClic has been done trying to respect the compatibility
with Clic 3.0, so that the packets of existing activities can be automatically
imported to the new platform.
These are some of the new features of JClic over Clic 3.0:
- Use of customizable graphic environments ("skins"), which
contain the buttons and other graphic elements that frame the activities.
- Use of BMP, GIF, JPG and PNG graphics.
- Use of multimedia resources in WAV, MP3, AVI, MPEG, QuickTime and
Flash 2.0 format, among others, as well as animated GIFs and GIFs
- Sounds of events (to click, to relate, to complete, to guess, to
fail...) configurable for every activity or project.
- Shape generators that make it possible to give different geometric
designs to the cells of the activities: with JClic they no longer
need to be always rectangular.
- Other visual improvements: HTML code inside the cells, embedding
of "TrueType" fonts, text styles, gradients and pseudo-transparent
- New characteristics of the activities: maximum time, maximum number
of attempts, ordered resolution, memory activities with two blocks
of content, etc.
You can see these characteristics in operation by having a look at
the package of
demonstration activities of JClic.
JClic has an open architecture that allows it to extend or adapt
its functionality in different ways. It is possible to
create new Java
modules that extend the operation of the programme in:
- New types of activities, extending the abstract class "Activity"
- Systems of automatic creation of contents, deriving the abstract
class "AutoContentProvider" (in these moments the only implementation
of this class is the module "Arith")
- Graphic user environments, extending the class "Skin"
or supplying new ones based on the XML schema used by "BasicSkin".
- Play machines, extending "ActivityContainer"
- Generators of shapes, extending the abstract class "Shaper"
- Reporting systems, extending the class "Reporter"
JClic is free software released by the Ministry of Education of the
Government of Catalonia under the terms of the GNU
General Public License (GPL). This allows you to freely
use, distribute and modify it whenever certain conditions,
like the persistence of the GPL license in any derived work, are respected.
The source code of JClic is available in the development
Files and data formats
The data of JClic are stored in XML format.
That allows its integration into resource banks of complex structure,
as well as the reuse of the JClic projects in other applications.
JClic works with two types of files:
Files with extension .jclic
XML documents that contain the complete description of a JClic project.
The structure of these documents is described in the XML schema
The root element of the jclic documents has the name < JClicProject
> and contains four main elements:
Information on the author/s of the project, description, revisions,
It contains elements of the type <activity> that define
the operation and the characteristics of every activity.
It describes the order in which the activities have to be presented,
and the behaviour of the advancing and moving back buttons.
- < MediaBag >
List of all the necessary elements for executing the activities:
video, images, sounds, MIDI, TTF fonts... etc.
Files with extension .jclic.zip
Are standard ZIP files with only one .jclic document
and all the elements (images, multimedia files...) necessary to execute
the activities. The use of this format allows a project to be
encapsulated in only one file.
Besides these two formats, JClic is capable also of importing Clic
3.0 PAC and PCC files.
All the texts and messages of JClic are located in external files,
in order to simplify their translation to other languages.
The texts of the programme, as well as those of the activities, are
in Unicode format.
That allows them to be used with alphabets and not occidental writing
systems. The programme also holds the representation and bi-directional
writing (right-left or left-right) when the language used requires
it. The development
project is open to the participation of all those who want to
make translations of the programme into other languages.