A Teacher needs help with Open Rocket

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Peartree

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Hey folks,

The Forum Admins received the following note from a teacher who wants to use Open Rocket in his/her classroom but needs information that is beyond us. I know that there are several teachers among our forum members and I'm hoping that you understand what it is that is needed and can answer the questions that are being asked. Truthfully, not being a teacher, and not using Open Rocket, I have no idea what is being asked let alone how to go about providing the needed information. I don't want to post an email address out in the open but if you can provide a satisfactory answer please PM me and I can either forward it to the OP or send you their email address.

Thanks!

From a contact us email:


Good afternoon,

Our school system would like to use OpenRocket for instruction.

Prior to any application installation we are required to have a compliance form completed for the product so we can provide instructional alternatives as necessary.

Please contact me for the compliance checklist or you can send me a VPAT for OpenRocket if one is available. Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!
 
I'm not a teacher but I was curious about the acronym VPAT. One definition:

'The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a document that may be generated by a vendor to indicate a product's conformance with the Section 508 accessibility standards. The Template was designed to provide in formation in a consistent and comparable fashion and format. It was developed by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to assist with federal procurement practices. Complete information about the VPAT is available at the ITI website (link is external).

The purpose of the VPAT is to assist Federal contracting officials and other buyers in their market research responsibility when making preliminary assessments regarding the commercial availability of Electronic and Information Technology products and services with features that support accessibility. In general, Vendors should generate a VPAT whenever they develop EIT products or services that to be sold in the Federal market place. In each VPAT, the vendor is expected to make specific statements using simple recommended language about how the features and functional characteristics of their product or service meet the Section 508 Standards.'


https://www.section508.gov/content/sell/vpat

I agree with K'Tesh that an opensource program might not apply.
 
I had to dive through a bunch of pages before it made any sense to me, but my read of it is that it requires the program be accessible to the disabled. Effectively says that the program can't discriminate against users regardless of disability (vision impaired, etc). I don't know that OR itself has any special features towards accessibility, so I'm not sure that it meets the requirements. But I'm certainly no expert here, just my guess.
 
I have to admit that the jargon lost me pretty early and that's why I asked the hive-mind for help.

i will email them and ask for the "compliance checklist" and see if that helps us any.
 
I have to admit that the jargon lost me pretty early and that's why I asked the hive-mind for help.

i will email them and ask for the "compliance checklist" and see if that helps us any.

OpenSource community has little love for mindless CYA paperwork, which is what this school district is requesting with their VPAT form.
Nor is OpenSource a "vendor", as they will soon discover.

I wish all the luck to the teacher and his/her kids, but it sounds like it will be easier for them to buy RockSim since it has a vendor that is more likely to play paper pushing games.

*sigh*

a
 
Um. I'm not certain about VPAT forms. But you can usually run it from a personal flash drive once downloaded outside of a campus on a school computer as a student, or that's how we're doing it at college level for senior designs in competitions. Not sure how paper pushy form wise legal that is, but its a free freaking product.

Doubt the teacher gets as much liberty as an student, lol.
 
Here's a personal project and not a SEDS competition rocket flown this year, but basically after using Open Rocket we get all the CG/CP/Flight Data and basic dimension then go deeper than that with a Solidworks 3D program to manufacture it. I still can't show the competition project design files sorry, since placed third nationally. But this is how we apply Open Rocket in Academia as students.


Open Rocket
EyRzlzg.jpg


Solidworks prior to manufacturing at UTC.
vnNVnYh.jpg


And if anybody wants to whine about VPAT forms I got a disability too, but as long as the kids/college students/highschoolers aren't blind no one's gonna complain, outside of paperwork world at academia. Colorblind may have a slight issue as the colors are different, but the colors can be defined to a solid color if needed. A blind person would not be able to use the program.
 
You will not get a VPAT for this.

VPAT not needed on student end running the program from flashdrive. Not certain if that helps if a workaround is needed. The college level paperwork at academia for even the simplest processes was so overwhelming, we as senior student engineers simply wouldn't involve the professor with more forms when necessary to do our student tasks ourselves. Because the sad reality is all the academic paperwork would cause a missed deadline and take a year or more to approve nonsense. As a college student the worst another prof could say would be don't use the program anymore kid. Anyways, I'll leave this thread alone. Maybe RocSim will VPAT but that's expensive program.
 
Hi John! It looks like they are perhaps misapplying a procurement standard to the use of something where no procurement is involved. The teacher should be made aware that OR is a) completely non-commercial; and b) a useful instructional alternative (that is free, open source, and usable by secondary students) does not exist. The goal would be to somehow justify an "N/A" response to that part of the paperwork. Depending on the level of bureaucracy of the district that might or not might not be feasible. It may help that OR is just a jar file and does not require any privileged installation itself (though you do need Java installed); alternate deployment scenarios like the flash drive mentioned above could help, though I know many school computers are locked down against flash drives for good reason.
 
Her reply to my message is below, as is my attempt to attach the *.PDF file that she sent to me.

Thank you for getting back to me. The compliance checklist (see attached) is a 508 compliance requirement that ensures we have the necessary documentation to provide instructional alternatives to any student requiring them based on a hearing/visual impairment.

I typically try and have the developers or manufacturer of the product complete the form but was unable to find any specific contact information for those individuals/teams.

I appreciate any assistance you can provide. Thank you!

View attachment Compliance Descriptor Checklist.pdf

Is there a simple answer here, or should I just send her a link to this discussion and ask her to have a look at what everyone is saying?

I'm really not sure what the right answer is.
 
To the best of my knowledge there are not features within Open Rocket to support various disabilities. There is not a single developer that really owns OR so getting a definitive answer is unlikely.

John, I would have the teacher read the thread for what it is worth. I do not think the form will be able to be filled/answered.


Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
 
I'd actually like to see that .pdf and drop it on the open rocket dev list.

If we can collectively come up with a way to jump through this hoop for one district, others with similar requests should be fairly straightforward.
 
Just looked through that PDF and there is definitely a mix of "meets" and "doesn't meet" answers for OR. A few I'm not sure about, and a few I don't completely understand.

Is it necessary that the program meet *all* the requirements?
 
To the best of my knowledge there are not features within Open Rocket to support various disabilities. There is not a single developer that really owns OR so getting a definitive answer is unlikely.

John, I would have the teacher read the thread for what it is worth. I do not think the form will be able to be filled/answered.


Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum

Thanks. I did send her a link and invited her to take a look at everyone’s answers.


Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
 
It is open-sourced free software. People can choose to use it or not. Nobody is making money out of it, and people donate their time to improve the features.

If it does not meet somebody's requirements, then they are quite welcome join in with the project and modify it so it does. That would benefit other people in the future with the same requirements.

I suspect they will either use it as-is, or not use it at all. Anyone who has anything to do with developing software knows the significant time investment people have to fund somehow to make quality software. Where I work we spend $millions just to update software (new features, bug fixes, improvements) each time an upgrade is needed.
 
I certainly wasn't suggesting changes to OR, merely a stock of prepared answers for inquiries of this type.
 
I'd actually like to see that .pdf and drop it on the open rocket dev list.

If we can collectively come up with a way to jump through this hoop for one district, others with similar requests should be fairly straightforward.

Can everyone read the pdf file I posted? I can see, and open, it on my desktop but not on my mobile. But I'm the one that posted it, so I want to be sure.

As for whether or not the checklist require all positive answers, I have no idea. Hopefully the teacher who sent the request will stop in and be able to answer some of your questions.
 
Can everyone read the pdf file I posted? I can see, and open, it on my desktop but not on my mobile. But I'm the one that posted it, so I want to be sure.

As for whether or not the checklist require all positive answers, I have no idea. Hopefully the teacher who sent the request will stop in and be able to answer some of your questions.
It doesn't show up in Tapatalk, but I can see it just fine in Chrome Mobile & Firefox Mobile.
 
I can see/open the pdf file, #1 keyboard shortcuts can be used...sort of, the mouse looks to be required for some selections. OR looks to be mostly compliant.
Rex
 
OK, let's take a crack at this:
1) Keyboard shortcuts: Does not comply. Many functions have shortcuts, but many do not, or if they do they're completely hidden and I've not been able to figure them out.
2) Do not interfere with other activated accessibility features: don't know if Java plays nicely with all this sort of thing, not quite sure how to test.
3) On-screen indications of input focus: I think it complies, if I understand correctly. Maybe not 100%, but close.
4) I think it complies: most or all controls have explanatory text, only some have icons.
5) Bitmap images used to identify controls are consistent I think: complies.
6) Don't override user selected contrast and color selections or other display attributes: don't know, not sure how to test.
7) Animation information must be displayable in non-animated way: I think it complies; OR doesn't do any animation.
8) Color coding not used as sole means of conveying information: complies I think.
9) Product has variety of color and contrast settings. OR does not, but i'm not really sure whether this one is applicable.
10) No blinking stuff between 1 Hz and 55 Hz: Complies. I don't think it has any blinking anything other than the standard system text cursor.
11) Electronic forms that allow assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality: not sure.
 
I certainly wasn't suggesting changes to OR, merely a stock of prepared answers for inquiries of this type.

The question has effectively been open-sourced to the OR users. Whether it is code or documentation it is all open sourced, so by suggesting a "stock of prepared answers" you are suggesting someone puts in the time and effort to add it to the package. :wink:

neil_w has started supporting the package to this end in the post before this.
 
I was curious, so I googled this Section 508 VPAT thing, and found the Wikipedia page on it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voluntary_Product_Accessibility_Template

Interestingly, that page linked to some sample VPAT's, one of which is Firefox, another free open source program:

https://website-archive.mozilla.org/www.mozilla.org/firefox_vpat/firefox-vpat-3.html

I was curious about Java, since that is a PITA (sorry for technical terms). The first paragraph of the Firefox VPAT says:
"Firefox supports all standard keyboard operation of the user interface. Java and in-page plugins for content such as Flash cannot be used with the keyboard so they must not be installed for keyboard-only users. The tab order skips over them completely, so form controls within them cannot be used without a mouse."
 
From what I gather, basically the teacher wants to know if OR can be used with students with disabilities. Documentation is an area where volunteers are greatly needed. I think we've done about as good as we can. Accessibility features are another area where we need volunteers to contribute.

OK, let's take a crack at this:
1) Keyboard shortcuts: Does not comply. Many functions have shortcuts, but many do not, or if they do they're completely hidden and I've not been able to figure them out.
2) Do not interfere with other activated accessibility features: don't know if Java plays nicely with all this sort of thing, not quite sure how to test.
3) On-screen indications of input focus: I think it complies, if I understand correctly. Maybe not 100%, but close.
4) I think it complies: most or all controls have explanatory text, only some have icons.
5) Bitmap images used to identify controls are consistent I think: complies.
6) Don't override user selected contrast and color selections or other display attributes: don't know, not sure how to test.
7) Animation information must be displayable in non-animated way: I think it complies; OR doesn't do any animation.
8) Color coding not used as sole means of conveying information: complies I think.
9) Product has variety of color and contrast settings. OR does not, but i'm not really sure whether this one is applicable.
10) No blinking stuff between 1 Hz and 55 Hz: Complies. I don't think it has any blinking anything other than the standard system text cursor.
11) Electronic forms that allow assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality: not sure.

Thanks, Neil. I agree with your assessment but I would add the following:
#1, It can be navigated with the tab and arrow keys for where there isn't a shortcut. I've used it without a mouse before and it's cumbersome, but possible.
#6, Both meets and does not meet. Some parts will follow user selected contrast and color, and others will not. Font size remains the same. I've tested it with the high-contrast accessibility setting on my older XP machine.
#9 Uses Java's look-and-feel. No user-selectable options here. Only large-medium-small text options in the design window.
 
OK, let's take a crack at this:
1) Keyboard shortcuts: Does not comply. Many functions have shortcuts, but many do not, or if they do they're completely hidden and I've not been able to figure them out.
2) Do not interfere with other activated accessibility features: don't know if Java plays nicely with all this sort of thing, not quite sure how to test.
3) On-screen indications of input focus: I think it complies, if I understand correctly. Maybe not 100%, but close.
4) I think it complies: most or all controls have explanatory text, only some have icons.
5) Bitmap images used to identify controls are consistent I think: complies.
6) Don't override user selected contrast and color selections or other display attributes: don't know, not sure how to test.
7) Animation information must be displayable in non-animated way: I think it complies; OR doesn't do any animation.
8) Color coding not used as sole means of conveying information: complies I think.
9) Product has variety of color and contrast settings. OR does not, but i'm not really sure whether this one is applicable.
10) No blinking stuff between 1 Hz and 55 Hz: Complies. I don't think it has any blinking anything other than the standard system text cursor.
11) Electronic forms that allow assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality: not sure.

There is one minor thing conveyed by color alone- how recent a simulation is (the color of the little bubble thing). Really not an essential part of the program, but it exists nonetheless.
 
OK, let's take a crack at this:
1) Keyboard shortcuts: Does not comply. Many functions have shortcuts, but many do not, or if they do they're completely hidden and I've not been able to figure them out.
2) Do not interfere with other activated accessibility features: don't know if Java plays nicely with all this sort of thing, not quite sure how to test.
3) On-screen indications of input focus: I think it complies, if I understand correctly. Maybe not 100%, but close.
4) I think it complies: most or all controls have explanatory text, only some have icons.
5) Bitmap images used to identify controls are consistent I think: complies.
6) Don't override user selected contrast and color selections or other display attributes: don't know, not sure how to test.
7) Animation information must be displayable in non-animated way: I think it complies; OR doesn't do any animation.
8) Color coding not used as sole means of conveying information: complies I think.
9) Product has variety of color and contrast settings. OR does not, but i'm not really sure whether this one is applicable.
10) No blinking stuff between 1 Hz and 55 Hz: Complies. I don't think it has any blinking anything other than the standard system text cursor.
11) Electronic forms that allow assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality: not sure.

On 9 you CAN adjust the colors of the rocket model in OR on the schematic you create. It lets you define colors in appearance tab.
 
@Neil

Perhaps this might be a good time to make the request again about being able to change the background color/text in the build screen (or customize the GUI in general). There are times that I've had problems seeing a white part against a white background. Being able to change the text and background color would allow some visually impaired users to use OR.
 
There is one minor thing conveyed by color alone- how recent a simulation is (the color of the little bubble thing). Really not an essential part of the program, but it exists nonetheless.
If the user hovers the mouse over the list simulations a text box appears saying simulation is out of date for old sims not running.
 
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