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1st message | this message only posted: 19 Jan 2018 01:28
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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sadly Martin your recent cleanup , broke documentation links , mostly published by you in loads of forum posts all over the net 
That's a pity as finding docs is more difficult 


Is the section you wrote " real tracks " still available , is there a valid link 

Thanks 

Dave 

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2nd message | this message only posted: 19 Jan 2018 01:50
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Hi Dave,

Some of that page is temporarily at:

 http://templot.com/companion/prototype.php

I'm sorry a lot of stuff is not available at present.

It will all come back as I get round to updating it for Templot2, and I will put re-directs to mend the broken links.

I removed it because I got tired of writing "here's a link, oh by the way it's all out of date".

I'm 70 this year. I'm not going to be pushed into doing anything faster or sooner than I choose to do it.

p.s. We are moving to a new server in the next few weeks. The disk in the present one has been spinning continuously for 6 years and Jim feels it's time to move to SSD.

cheers,

Martin.

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3rd message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 09:42
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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70!, succession planning martin ?


" Documentation is like Sex,
When its good , its really really good
when its bad, its better then nothing "


and heres ` compiler puzzle" to tax your approaching 70 brain , what does the last line  return ?



 constexpr auto auto​()
{
return 1;
}
typedef decltype(auto​()) auto​​;
const auto​​ auto​​​ = auto​();
template <typename auto​​​​>
constexpr auto auto​​​​​() {
return auto​​​;
}
template <typename auto​​​​, typename auto​​​​​​, typename... auto​​​​​​​>
constexpr auto auto​​​​​() {
return auto​​​ + auto​​​​​<auto​​​​​​, auto​​​​​​​...>();
}
int main()
{
constexpr auto auto​​​​​​​ = auto​​​​​<auto​​,auto​​,auto​​,auto​​,auto​​,auto​​>();
constexpr auto auto​​​​ = auto​​​​​<auto​​,auto​​,auto​​,auto​​,auto​​,auto​​,auto​​>();
return auto​​​​​​​*auto​​​​;


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4th message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 20:43
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from:
Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello Martin,
                   I'm 70 this year. I'm not going to be pushed into doing anything faster or sooner than I choose to do it.We are all running out of time and it seems to pass ever quicker the more years we clock up. :D
I hope you have many more years to go. :)
But have you considered the future of Templot when you can no longer manage to do it?
It would be a heck of a legacy to leave behind after all the years of effort you have put into it.
It would be a real shame if it was lost upon your demise. :(

Regards.
Trevor. :)

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5th message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 21:40
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Trevor Walling wrote:But have you considered the future of Templot when you can no longer manage to do it?Hi Trevor,

My master plan was that by now someone half my age would have produced a far superior "son of Templot" program, and I could put my feet up. :)

But at present I don't see any sign of that.

As I've mentioned before, Templot is a very old program. A large chunk of the code was written in 1980 -- that's nearly 40 years ago. The compiler which I use is also a very old program. How long it will all go on working on Windows is a worry. Assuming Windows still exists in its present form, even.

Surprisingly, at present it is working better on Windows10 than it has ever done before.

I have no plans to shuffle off stage just yet :), but if the proverbial bus runs me over tomorrow, I have arranged that Templot in its present form and this web site would continue to be available for at least 5 years -- assuming someone keeps clicking the donations button of course.

But there is no-one else to continue developing it or to answer questions about it. I have been wondering what to do about that. The task of explaining all the code to someone else is just too awful to contemplate -- it would put updating the Templot Companion completely in the shade. In fact there are some sections of the code which are now a bit of a mystery even to me, I would need to study them long and hard to remember how I made it work. :?

cheers,

Martin.   

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6th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 20:00
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from:
Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello,
      My master plan was that by now someone half my age would have produced a far superior "son of Templot" program,
I do not think that is possible. When you consider the length of time you have been doing this and the breadth of knowledge you have accumulated and shared. The skills and the knowledge base is very unlikely to be available in years to come. A lot of knowledge of past times and skills are lost with each generation.
I would think the changes between the engineering related to track of the 1900's and stuff done now and in the future  is without precedent. I doubt there are many nowadays who can cross over from engineering to programming and computers with the knowledge required.
Do they still teach how to file a rectangle of metal to 0.5 thou of an inch tolerance by hand in workshop practice apprenticeships? I very much doubt it. :( Then again computers do it for you now. :)
Regards :)

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7th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 10:39
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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It is a serious topic, primarily because unlike the multitude of settrack planning apps, Templot is unique .

One thing to seriously consider Martin , is to open source the code , that way at least the code base isn't lost
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8th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 11:15
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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madscientist wrote: One thing to seriously consider Martin, is to open source the code, that way at least the code base isn't lostHi Dave,

I'm not going to do that while there is the slightest risk that it will produce an avalanche of questions about what this routine does or what that variable is for.

I just couldn't cope with that, it makes me shake just thinking about it. One-line questions taking 30 seconds to write, and 2 hours at the keyboard trying to reply.

When Dave Bullis open-sourced XTrackCAD he turned his back on it entirely and left it to others. I don't feel ready to do that with Templot.

Templot also includes some paid-for components which are copyright of their owners (the PDF engine, Sergey's RichView editor for formatted text on the sketchboard), so I can't publish the source for those. The same applied to Nils's source for the sketchboard engine, but he has since open-sourced that. Likewise David Baldwin's HTML viewer.

The best solution is for a youngster with a proper background in IT to create a modern up-to-date replacement for Templot. I'm a toolmaker, programming was only ever a hobby thing.

regards,

Martin.

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9th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 11:55
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from:
rodney_hills
United Kingdom

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote: One thing to seriously consider Martin, is to open source the code, that way at least the code base isn't lostHi Dave,

I'm not going to do that while there is the slightest risk that it will produce an avalanche of questions about what this routine does or what that variable is for.

I just couldn't cope with that, it makes me shake just thinking about it. One-line questions taking 30 seconds to write, and 2 hours at the keyboard trying to reply.
[SNIPPED] The best solution is for a youngster with a proper background in IT to create a modern up-to-date replacement for Templot. I'm a toolmaker, programming was only ever a hobby thing.

regards,

Martin.
Hello,
Hands up any "professional programmer(s)" inhabiting this club/forum.

Do YOU think a pro programmer is the solution? Or even part of the solution?
Who would write the specs?

I'm only a dinosaur carer retired [ex mainframe systems programmer to be precise], so I have never crafted a complete substantial application program in my life.

Regards,
Rodney Hills


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10th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 12:20
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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rodney_hills wrote:

Hello,
Hands up any "professional programmer(s)" inhabiting this club/forum.

Do YOU think a pro programmer is the solution? Or even part of the solution?
Who would write the specs?

I'm only a dinosaur carer retired [ex mainframe systems programmer to be precise], so I have never crafted a complete substantial application program in my life.

Regards,
Rodney Hills

I had a career partly as a software developer. However, I suspect Martin will still be going strong after I finally get shunted into those sidings in the sky. :(

Nigel


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11th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 12:29
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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at the right time , open sourcing the code base ( as much as practical ) is the ONLY practical way to ensure , at the very least the code continues , i.e. Can be recompiled to more modern platforms. 
no one is going to come along and singlehandily take on a code base of that size and longevity, it's far too onerous a task to dig through others code of this nature. 


The issue of supporting open source is easily handled , you announce " no support " and that's what you do , after a few attempts , people get the hint. 


The advantage of open sourcing is that there it exposes , the code to a very large ( or larger ) audience of programmers , and encourages incremental development 

I think you should consider it , at the appropriate time ,  mean there will be a point when you " have " to turn your back on it. 

Dave 

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12th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 12:36
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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rodney_hills wrote: Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote: One thing to seriously consider Martin, is to open source the code, that way at least the code base isn't lostHi Dave,

I'm not going to do that while there is the slightest risk that it will produce an avalanche of questions about what this routine does or what that variable is for.

I just couldn't cope with that, it makes me shake just thinking about it. One-line questions taking 30 seconds to write, and 2 hours at the keyboard trying to reply.
[SNIPPED] The best solution is for a youngster with a proper background in IT to create a modern up-to-date replacement for Templot. I'm a toolmaker, programming was only ever a hobby thing.

regards,

Martin.
Hello,
Hands up any "professional programmer(s)" inhabiting this club/forum.

Do YOU think a pro programmer is the solution? Or even part of the solution?
Who would write the specs?

I'm only a dinosaur carer retired [ex mainframe systems programmer to be precise], so I have never crafted a complete substantial application program in my life.

Regards,
Rodney Hills

I am a professional programmer ,. But Martin is dreaming if he thinks , " someone " will come along and recreate Templot. the niche is far too small and were it bigger we would have seen a competitor before now. 
Even the planning apps are poor , underspeced and have a fraction of the capability of Templot , Traxx is at a dead end, Anyrail seems to have stalled , Xtrakcad is effectively an orphan , SCARM is so basic it's a joke ( it can't even do transitions ) 

Out of that , wishing a, white knight programmer , is going to appear , and recreate Templot functionality ( for free !! , or a meagre license ) must be the ultimate in wishful thinking , sorry Martin 

Regards 

Dave 

Ps , it's far more likely we'll see hand built track becoming a rarity ( perhaps supported by paper templates )  , then see a " son of templot " 



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13th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 12:50
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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madscientist wrote:The issue of supporting open source is easily handled, you announce "no support"  and that's what you do, after a few attempts, people get the hint.And then I sit quiet and watch as folks make a mess of it or release multiple forked versions to confuse users?

I may publish the code rather than open-source it. That way it is preserved but remains my copyright and can't be used to create derivatives without my permission.

But even that would likely produce a flood of emails, questions and suggestions. I just couldn't handle it. I'm spending far more time in front of the computer than is good for me as it is.

Now staring at the Templot Companion, but thinking of going for a walk instead.

Martin.

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14th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 13:02
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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madscientist wrote:I am a professional programmer. But Martin is dreaming if he thinks, "someone" will come along and recreate Templot. The niche is far too small and were it bigger we would have seen a competitor before now.Well yes, I do a lot of dreaming. :)

I wasn't thinking of a commercial replacement. Just a hobby interest. If I can do it I don't see what is so unlikely about someone else doing the same?

Have you seen S-21 from Bernd Steimann and Christian Sender:

  http://www.s21-modellgleis.de

Martin.

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15th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 13:05
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from:
Phil O
Plymouth, United Kingdom



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Martin,

I hope it's drier in Stourport,than it is down here in Plymouth.

Phil.

PS, I will be on the east side of the river at the weekend.
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16th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 14:28
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Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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An interesting discussion, and I assume Martin is hoping not to shuffle off just yet! Personally, in that event if Templot just remained frozen, that would do me. Either with a way of disabling the internet check or ensuring that the internet check will always work.  I’ve had one piece of software, I think it was Quicken, where I couldn’t reinstall it because they’d removed the necessary online bit!
Cheers,

Paul

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17th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 14:53
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Martin Wynne
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Paul Boyd wrote: if Templot just remained frozen, that would do me.Hi Paul,

It really depends on Windows.

It's most likely that the installer would fail first.

The actual templot_2.exe program file will run by itself from any location, it doesn't need to be installed. That's just a convenience for the file associations, video viewer, dpi-awareness, etc.

Try copying it somewhere else just by itself and see how much functionality is lost. 

with a way of disabling the internet check There is a way of doing that. No doubt if I tell someone about it, it would eventually make its way round the hobby.

I'm not going to do that while there is the slightest risk of getting help requests from users not using the latest update. But that won't always apply -- especially if I am past answering them. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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18th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 15:03
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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Martin
It really depends on Windows.
with a way of disabling the internet check There is a way of doing that. No doubt if I tell someone about it, it would eventually make its way round the hobby.

Ah yes, Windows unpredictability!
Now you've said there's a way round the internet check, I bet people will start looking!  Don't make that secret your last words though, there must be more important things to say!

Cheers,
Paul

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19th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 22:54
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Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello Martin,
I don't use windows.:D
Regards.:)
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20th message | this message only posted: 24 Jan 2018 01:14
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Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote: Paul Boyd wrote: if Templot just remained frozen, that would do me.Hi Paul,

It really depends on Windows.

It's most likely that the installer would fail first.

The actual templot_2.exe program file will run by itself from any location, it doesn't need to be installed. That's just a convenience for the file associations, video viewer, dpi-awareness, etc.

Try copying it somewhere else just by itself and see how much functionality is lost. 

with a way of disabling the internet check There is a way of doing that. No doubt if I tell someone about it, it would eventually make its way round the hobby.

I'm not going to do that while there is the slightest risk of getting help requests from users not using the latest update. But that won't always apply -- especially if I am past answering them. :)

cheers,

Martin.

Hi Martin,

Templot is perfectly fine just the way it is. The problem is that MS and the rest will keep trying to make it redundant to maintain their cash-flow.

At some point in the distant future you might want to announce that Templot only runs up to a certain version of Windows (or whatever OS dominates by then). Templot users might have to maintain a dedicated system just to run Templot, but considering how inexpensive hardware is these days that's hardly going to be a problem, and if they don't like that they can probably install a virtual Windows environment to run Templot.

Cheers!
Andy

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21st message | this message only posted: 25 Jan 2018 18:41
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madscientist
 

 

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Andrew Barrowman wrote: Martin Wynne wrote: Paul Boyd wrote: if Templot just remained frozen, that would do me.Hi Paul,

It really depends on Windows.

It's most likely that the installer would fail first.

The actual templot_2.exe program file will run by itself from any location, it doesn't need to be installed. That's just a convenience for the file associations, video viewer, dpi-awareness, etc.

Try copying it somewhere else just by itself and see how much functionality is lost. 

with a way of disabling the internet check There is a way of doing that. No doubt if I tell someone about it, it would eventually make its way round the hobby.

I'm not going to do that while there is the slightest risk of getting help requests from users not using the latest update. But that won't always apply -- especially if I am past answering them. :)

cheers,

Martin.

Hi Martin,

Templot is perfectly fine just the way it is. The problem is that MS and the rest will keep trying to make it redundant to maintain their cash-flow.

At some point in the distant future you might want to announce that Templot only runs up to a certain version of Windows (or whatever OS dominates by then). Templot users might have to maintain a dedicated system just to run Templot, but considering how inexpensive hardware is these days that's hardly going to be a problem, and if they don't like that they can probably install a virtual Windows environment to run Templot.

Cheers!
Andy
by definition, if the developer stops developing and the source isnt accessible , then the result is " stasis " . This will work , for a while , the " while " can be a decidedly variable amount of time, depending on what happens 
Maintaining dedicated installations/hardware is a huge pain and  is largely shunned, I have an old XP machine for this reason and is a complete dog to maintain , hardware tends to fails and older OPSYS systems on new hardware is a source of all sorts of issues 


heres to Martin living to 100  :D
Dave 

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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Dave, I know all about the pain of maintaining old machines! I have an Alps printer for which I keep an XP machine, and also use that for a perfectly good film scanner for which the manufacturer would rather have you buy a new one than update the drivers. 
Paul

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from:
Andrew Barrowman
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Yes Dave, but do you have a better solution?
Rgds,
Andy
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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I look at some of the old code and I refuse to believe that someone couldn't now do far better. They might even have the wit to include split deflections in the switch generator from the start.

It's going beyond reason to suggest that Templot is indispensable or should go on for ever. Sooner or later someone will come along with something far superior, and then Templot will fade away and die. That's what happens with everything else, so it's not likely Templot will be any different.

I just wish they would get a move on. :)

Martin.

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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Andrew Barrowman wrote: Yes Dave, but do you have a better solution?
Rgds,
Andy
I am as supporter of the open source movement, so you can see my argument. 
lots of software on the net changed " ownership " when the original developer walked away for one reason or another , if there is interest the software community will pick up the cudgel etc 

at the very least with an open source system , someone will ensure it can be compiled on later hardware/software 

but Ive said all this before 

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madscientist
 

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: I look at some of the old code and I refuse to believe that someone couldn't now do far better. They might even have the wit to include split deflections in the switch generator from the start.

It's going beyond reason to suggest that Templot is indispensable or should go on for ever. Sooner or later someone will come along with something far superior, and then Templot will fade away and die. That's what happens with everything else, so it's not likely Templot will be any different.

I just wish they would get a move on. :)

Martin.
any programmer will tell you Martin that getting your hands around old code is very difficult , especially when its written in a form alien to the developer considering it , so for example , non-OOP , or uncommon languages ( like Pascal derivatives :D) etc .  
Then add in the size of  the intended audience , most of whom are not programmers  and you have a very very ( vanishingly small ) interest group 

Of course " someone " could do it better, thats always the case , but would anyone want to, thats the key question 


dave 

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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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madscientist wrote:at the very least with an open source system, someone will ensure it can be compiled on later hardware/softwareI wouldn't bet on that if I was you.

Bear in mind that Templot started life on a 1970s programmable calculator. Some of the variable names and routines are still the same.

Martin.

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madscientist
 

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote:at the very least with an open source system, someone will ensure it can be compiled on later hardware/softwareI wouldn't bet on that if I was you.

Bear in mind that Templot started life on a 1970s programmable calculator. Some of the variable names and routines are still the same.

Martin.
if theres a demand , someone will recompile it , but taking on the codebase , thats a whole different issue 
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Martin Wynne
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madscientist wrote:Then add in the size of  the intended audience, most of whom are not programmers  and you have a very very (vanishingly small) interest groupWhen I started the audience was zero, and the interest group was 1. I was doing it for myself, partly because I enjoyed doing it, and partly because I needed it.

It's not reasonable to suggest that no-one else would ever want to do the same.

regards,

Martin.

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Nigel Brown
 

 

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Think the issues are characteristic of the hobby as a whole. What would happen if Martin found a way of Templot being supported indefinitely, but all the firms such as C&L making important goodies for track building dropped out? It's the nature of the beast.

I wouldn't worry too much. Predictions of doom are rife but quite often something pops up to keep the good work going. Occasionally something does leave a big gap; the successors to Blacksmiths Models and Coopercraft seem to have effectively hit the buffers. But by no means always.

Nigel
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Nigel Brown wrote: Think the issues are characteristic of the hobby as a whole. What would happen if Martin found a way of Templot being supported indefinitely, but all the firms such as C&L making important goodies for track building dropped out? It's the nature of the beast.

I wouldn't worry too much. Predictions of doom are rife but quite often something pops up to keep the good work going. Occasionally something does leave a big gap; the successors to Blacksmiths Models and Coopercraft seem to have effectively hit the buffers. But by no means always.

Nigel
indeed, sure we're just shooting the breeze here anyway. Martin is going to live forever , or certainly longer then I intend to build track !!! :D
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Paul Boyd
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Nigel Brown wrote: the successors to Blacksmiths Models and Coopercraft seem to have effectively hit the buffers.
Funny you should mention those two. I’ve just bought a couple of Blacksmith detailing etches from the Coopercraft website. They arrived very promptly - not really hit the buffers!
Paul

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Paul Boyd wrote: Nigel Brown wrote: the successors to Blacksmiths Models and Coopercraft seem to have effectively hit the buffers.
Funny you should mention those two. I’ve just bought a couple of Blacksmith detailing etches from the Coopercraft website. They arrived very promptly - not really hit the buffers!
Paul
I was one of those who put in an order for a Coopercraft kit, had the money deducted, and then found out his machine was broken and with no idea whatsoever when it would be fixed. Got nowhere with a phone call. It wasn't much and I just left it.

Blacksmiths used to do some useful 3mm coaches but they seem to have disappeared under the previous owner to Coopercraft.

Nigel


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Phil O
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I don't wish to get involved in another round of endless debates, which have been done to death on other forums.

But, I think Blacksmiths etched brass kits and bits is all that is left, anything else on the stand is what's left from when the current owner bought them up. I have seen him at shows doing the artwork for etches. There is certainly no white metal or lost wax castings to go with them.

Phil.
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Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Nigel Brown wrote: Think the issues are characteristic of the hobby as a whole. What would happen if Martin found a way of Templot being supported indefinitely, but all the firms such as C&L making important goodies for track building dropped out? It's the nature of the beast.

I wouldn't worry too much. Predictions of doom are rife but quite often something pops up to keep the good work going. Occasionally something does leave a big gap; the successors to Blacksmiths Models and Coopercraft seem to have effectively hit the buffers. But by no means always.

Nigel
Hello,
       Well Templot would continue and people who wanted to build track would have to use the  Brook-Smith method or use 3D printing to make their own stuff. Things progress despite the odds and new methods appear over the horizon whatever people may say or think.
Regards,:)

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Nigel Brown
 

 

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Trevor Walling wrote: Nigel Brown wrote: Think the issues are characteristic of the hobby as a whole. What would happen if Martin found a way of Templot being supported indefinitely, but all the firms such as C&L making important goodies for track building dropped out? It's the nature of the beast.

I wouldn't worry too much. Predictions of doom are rife but quite often something pops up to keep the good work going. Occasionally something does leave a big gap; the successors to Blacksmiths Models and Coopercraft seem to have effectively hit the buffers. But by no means always.

Nigel
Hello,
       Well Templot would continue and people who wanted to build track would have to use the  Brook-Smith method or use 3D printing to make their own stuff. Things progress despite the odds and new methods appear over the horizon whatever people may say or think.
Regards,:)
Hi Trevor
That's effectively what I was saying. :)
Nigel

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madscientist
 

 

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I don’t hold quite the same optimism. The hobby is becoming very rtr based and who knows maybe we’ll see rtr P4 track and all layouts will start looking the same.  20Years ago I could count several OO wheel suppliers. Today we have basically  2 

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madscientist wrote: I don’t hold quite the same optimism. The hobby is becoming very rtr based and who knows maybe we’ll see rtr P4 track and all layouts will start looking the same.  20Years ago I could count several OO wheel suppliers. Today we have basically  2 
We do indeed have some excellent RTR, but is this a bad thing?  A lot of skill goes into producing a quality layout and it's that which makes it distinctive, even those who use solely RTR stock.

There was an interesting layout in this months RM which used mainly Peco setrack. It looked pretty good, partly because the way the track was used, partly because the RTR stock it used was pre-grouping and therefore compact, and partly because the scenery was done to a high and consistent standard.

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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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madscientist wrote:indeed, sure we're just shooting the breeze here anyway. Martin is going to live forever, or certainly longer then I intend to build track !!! :D
I'm feeling a bit weary of Templot today. :(

I've been thinking about the comments in this topic a lot lately. I have decided to post some of the program code, so that anyone wanting to start work on a replacement for Templot might have some ideas rather than a completely blank sheet to start from. See:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=3221&forum_id=1

cheers,

Martin.

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Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Martin Wynne wrote: I'm feeling a bit weary of Templot today. :(

Martin.
Chin up Martin, nice walk out and about to recharge the batteries. Rather than plough on every day much better to take some breaks and get back to Templot when you are focussed. There isn't an obligation to be at the keyboard and answer forum posts or write the docs all the time :thumb:

Rob


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