Last modified 11 years ago Last modified on 02/27/09 16:48:06

Sophie 2.0

Sophie is software for writing and reading rich media documents in a networked environment.

Sophie’s goal is to open up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of people and institutions.

Sophie runs on Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems.

Sophie's Provenance

Sophie's either sixteen years in the making or about four depending on whether you go back to the beginning or not. The beginning was at The Voyager Company, an early electronic publisher (The Criterion Collection, Robert Winter's CD-Companion Series, Who Built America, Pedro Meyer's I Photograph to Remember and Laurie Anderson's Puppet Motel etc.). Back in 1992 Voyager released the Expanded Books Toolkit (explained by Douglas Adams) which enabled people to make simple e-books without any programming. The first three titles were Martin Gardner's Annotated Alice, Douglas Adams' trilogy Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Jurassic Park (before it came out in paperback). The second three were Marge Piercy's Gone to Soldiers, Susan Faludi's Backlash and perhaps the first text-based "double-feature" which paired Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death with Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Shortly thereafter, Voyager Japan released T-2 which has gone on to become the leading ebook software in its home country. In 1996 a group of Voyager employees formed Night Kitchen with the intent of creating an authoring/reading environment that would extend the Expanded Books Toolkit concept to include rich media. The result TK3 never officially came to market, but teachers in high schools and colleges used it in their classrooms and with their students created some remarkable projects.

The Mellon Foundation approached some of the TK3 team and asked them to build a new multimedia authoring program which would be open-source and would extend TK3 by enabling time-based events (e.g. a timed, narrated slide show or embedding links at specific points in video clips). That became Sophie.

Funded over time by grants from the Mellon Foundation, McArthur Foundation and the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Sophie is now an OpenSource community project with the support currently coming from the Institute for the Future of the Book and the OpenSource community. Astea Solutions is the main company involved in the development of Sophie 2.0.

About Astea Solutions

Astea Solutions AD was formed in 2007 to leverage its founders’ deep experience with Bulgaria and access to well trained software developers working with the most advanced technologies to create a high growth software development company.

Astea designs and develops proprietary and open source software products with global market potential in the electronic publishing field. The company works closely with Sofia University’s Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics and Laboratory for Interactive Multimedia. The oldest higher education institution in Bulgaria, Sofia University is also the country’s largest with 14,000 students. Additionally, Astea provides a full spectrum of bespoke software development services including custom programming, testing, graphic design, technical documentation and turnkey systems. Much of its service work involves companies and projects in the online publishing domain.

Bulgaria is now internationally recognized as an exceptional source of highly qualified technical talent and many of the United States and Europe’s leading technology companies have opened substantial research and development centers in Bulgaria. Astea’s founders see a rare opportunity to engage Bulgaria’s best and brightest to establish a market beachhead in certain emerging technologies that will provide major global sales opportunities. Astea has focused its initial activities on the open source market segment with a special focus on university, publishing, and research-oriented applications.