Hector Jimenez Blanco and Faculty Mentor: Daniel Zappala, Computer Science Department
In response to the lack of study materials available for advanced Spanish, Tumbaburros was created to allow its users to understand the different meanings of one word across all Spanish-speaking countries. This reference application aims to help intermediate and advanced Spanish students master the language.
In order to create a service resilient enough to the high demand from all of its potential users, google cloud services were utilized in the making of this application. The structure of this web service is based on the google app engine (GAE) framework using the python 2.7 version. In addition, this application stores all of its data on a NoSQL database also provided by GAE. For the client side of the application AngularJS is the framework used. This dynamic library has proved to be robust enough to support all modern browsers in both desktop and mobile devices. Google and Bing standards where used in the html structure in order to provide meaningful data from both search engines.
www.tumbaburros.com is a dictionary of the spoken Spanish available not only to the Senior Missionary Training Center (SMTC) but to everyone. With an administrator page, editing content does not require any programing experience for any future administrator. Thanks to the contribution of the ORCA grant this application has enough resources to stay running for the next three years. After such period, an evaluation of all of its users will be made to determine if the application should continue in the public domain or be modified to become a private learning resource of the SMTC. In the case where there is a large demand from both SMTC and non-SMTC users where both very dramatically in needs, there is the possibility of hosting two versions of the application. One version will be responsible for the needs of the SMTC and the other will focus on the general public. Such a decision will be made at the end of the three-year trial period. Meanwhile, a greater priority will be given to the SMTC users when it comes to modifying any part of the application and its content.
The main purpose of the first phase of this project was the design and development of the application. This required several meetings with the SMTC Spanish coordinator to understand missionary needs, Professor Knapp (Spanish Department) for content validation and Dr. Zappala for consultation about the implementation of the application. This will make possible the release of the beta version of the application on January 1st 2016. Although, this application will be completely finished in its coding implementation, it will be presented as a beta version for two reasons. First, the application does not yet contain word definitions for all Spanishspeaking countries. It is the purpose of this stage to increase its content with the help of the Spanish translation students and other volunteers. The current content of the application is 400 unique words with more than 800 examples and their translations. It is expected that these numbers will change by the end of the 6-month beta period. Second, as the users of the application increase unforeseen changes might be required. It is also the purpose of this phase to fix any type of bugs found by users or make adjustment or changes to the application based on users’ feedback.
Although this application is currently in a beta version, it has received great feedback from some of its users and the SMTC Spanish Coordinator. This project allowed me to put into practice many of the principles learned in my computer science classes and exposed me to technology I was not very familiar with. Moreover, being able to apply what I have learned at BYU and help senior missionaries and many other people learning Spanish has been a very rewarding experience.