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41st message | this message only posted: 21 Feb 2018 21:57
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Thanks Rob.

I did go for a nice walk yesterday:



But today has been grey and gloomy all day here, not much encouragement to go out. :(

I've been working on the synchronised rotation for Godders, but interrupted several times by other stuff and emails.

If it's better tomorrow I shall definitely go out. A famous old oak tree has fallen down, I may go and take a look:

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-43084088

cheers,

Martin.

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42nd message | this message only posted: 22 Feb 2018 16:03
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Trevor Walling
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Hello,
        I'm feeling a bit like that with my grandchildren at the moment. They gave me some bug which seems to be going on forever while they are all fully recovered. I wouldn't change them for anything in reality though. Still need to do the pickup run despite feeling close to death. :roll:
Regards.:)

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43rd message | this message only posted: 24 Feb 2018 22:36
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Trevor Walling wrote: I'm feeling a bit like that with my grandchildren at the moment. They gave me some bug which seems to be going on forever while they are all fully recovered. I wouldn't change them for anything in reality though. Still need to do the pickup run despite feeling close to death. :roll:Hi Trevor,

I hope you are feeling a bit better now.

There's a lot of bugs about recently. I blame Brexit. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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44th message | this message only posted: 26 May 2018 01:36
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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madscientist wrote: It is a serious topic, primarily because unlike the multitude of set-track 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 lostI'm returning to this topic because I have been giving it some serious thought in recent weeks.

I mentioned earlier that I shall be 70 this year, and as the actual date of reaching my biblical "three score years and ten" draws nearer it does focus the mind on "what happens next?".

For the last 20 years Templot has been a significant part of my life, and I'm not sure that I want it to play such a dominant part from now on. I would like to get back to the situation which existed in the 20 years before that, when it was no more than an occasional hobby interest.

The program is now quite widely used across the hobby and there are some modellers relying on it as part of their lifetime modelling project. I'm not entirely happy to be in the position that they are relying on me alone to keep Templot working and available. It's not just the risk from the proverbial bus. Or from Microsoft. I'm getting very forgetful nowadays and easily distracted. I do fear that one day I will start tinkering with the Templot code and end up wrecking it, and be unable to repair the damage.

What to do about it? The situation I'm minded to work towards is:

1. an OpenTemplot version (or versions) which is being developed and supported by others*, taking it in whichever direction they want to go. Templot for trams? Templot on Android tablets? Templot Lite for beginners? A Templot plug-in for AnyRail? It would start from the current version of Templot2, minus the functions which can't be open-sourced such as the PDF export.

and

2. a non-open MartinTemplot version which I would continue to tinker with as the mood takes me. There are several things I might want to try -- make outside-slip say, or full chairing detail. An updated DXF export for 3D printing perhaps. But without any obligation to provide a fully developed user interface for such functions or write detailed Help notes. A version of Templot for those who know what they are doing and don't need such assistance. Who don't mind the odd bug if there is a way round it. If it all gets in a muddle they could swap back to the OpenTemplot version (assuming the files are still compatible).

But getting from here to there is not so simple. There is no "open source now" button which I can click. I have to decide which of several possible licences to adopt. The licence terms would require that anyone else developing new code would be required to open-source it on the same terms. But that would not apply to me as the original copyright holder -- so it needs to be carefully written. I then have to make sure all the files have the correct copyright notices and links to the licence. I have to remove the functions which can't be open-sourced, without breaking anything else. I have to make sure that the published code will compile without errors on a currently available compiler, almost certainly Lazarus. There is also the issue of the paid-for subscriptions for the NLS tiled maps API.

So not much is likely to happen in the short term. And I may yet change my mind. But if there are any software professionals reading this I would be grateful for any advice.    

*and which others would that be, I hear you ask. I've no idea. Anyone here interested?

regards,

Martin.

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45th message | this message only posted: 26 May 2018 02:27
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Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello Martin,
I hope I was not the instigator of this recent consideration of yours.I am sure that many wish/hope that your wonderful contribution toward prototype track construction continues long after all our own personal demises. Not wishing to sound morbid or anything but my own personal experiences have brought such things into close focus. If we all leave some thing after we have passed at least we have made an impression of the future that will follow. What more could we hope for? Maybe I should refrain from posting after a good night out with old friends?
This was possibly not a quick reply. Nice Shiraz though.




:)
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46th message | this message only posted: 26 May 2018 09:41
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Nigel Brown
 

 

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Hi Martin

This seems to me an entirely sensible way to go. A frozen open-source version which can be used or taken on by others, and a version which you can continue develop in whatever direction you are inclined to. I suspect that once you've achieved the former it'll be a weight from your shoulders. It might be worth while seeing if there's an open-source repository where the open-source version can be lodged. But I imagine it'll take some work to get there.

Cheers
Nigel

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47th message | this message only posted: 26 May 2018 19:52
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Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Hi Martin,
I think every experienced user on here would value a 'lifetime' version of Templot that could be downloaded and run without having to worry about your availability to develop or support it. There would be a huge hole in many peoples lives without Templot and whilst the 'old' ways with cut-up templates, long straight edges and a keen eye certainly work it would be a step back from the ease and ( relative ) simplicity of Templot.

Personally I don't think working towards a version that can run on phones and tablets is worthwhile, who wants to work on a trackplan on a diddy little screen while sitting in the coffee shop or the carpark. Desktop PC's with large monitors or conventional laptops will be around a good while yet. Dumming down features to make a lite version probably isn't going to be a help if you don't grasp the concept of Templot and which features do you leave out .

Having a version which people can take and develop is fine, providing somebody doesn't try to alter Templot into something it wasn't designed to be. Also providing that it doesn't take huge amounts of your personal time to provide and that it is as an extra bonus to the availability of the standard version.

Chair details, outside slips and other additions would be very nice but at a cost to your time. I suspect there may be a bit of head scratching to provide all the possible types and uses of chair types :(

Rob

P.S. Keep the bus timetable handy, hopefully you haven't got 20+ buses and hour in each direction like urban Manchester :D

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48th message | this message only posted: 26 May 2018 20:23
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Rob Manchester wrote:Personally I don't think working towards a version that can run on phones and tablets is worthwhile, who wants to work on a trackplan on a diddy little screen while sitting in the coffee shop or the car park. Desktop PC's with large monitors or conventional laptops will be around a good while yet. Dumbing down features to make a lite version probably isn't going to be a help if you don't grasp the concept of Templot and which features do you leave out.

Having a version which people can take and develop is fine, providing somebody doesn't try to alter Templot into something it wasn't designed to be.
Thanks Rob.

I was thinking of using a tablet to "broadcast" to a SmartTV for home use. I can do that with my Android tablet. Or at least I did once, I can't remember how I did it. Also I don't know how you would print templates from such a system.

But the whole point of open source software is that anyone can run with it and make it whatever they want. If one person makes a version going one way, someone else can make a version going a different way. Others can join in and help with either as they wish.

Perhaps the real mystery is who all these people are? I suspect there won't be many. Until the proverbial bus does its worst, and then someone somewhere will have to do something if they want Templot to remain available.

I've been reading up on open source licences. There are dozens of them, all with slightly differing terms. The most popular seems to be the GNU/GPL licence:

  https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html

So if I decide to go ahead, it will probably be with that.

cheers,

Martin.

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49th message | this message only posted: 27 May 2018 11:46
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Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Rob Manchester wrote: Hi Martin,
I think every experienced user on here would value a 'lifetime' version of Templot that could be downloaded and run without having to worry about your availability to develop or support it. There would be a huge hole in many peoples lives without Templot and whilst the 'old' ways with cut-up templates, long straight edges and a keen eye certainly work it would be a step back from the ease and ( relative ) simplicity of Templot.
I’d certainly go along with that, with the assumption that if you (Martin) ever did call it a day then the internet check would be disabled so that we truly have that lifetime version. I’d hate to think that all my existing work would suddenly become unusable, or that I wouldn’t be able to do any new work in the future.
I know that Microsoft might scupper things, but I’m already keeping XP going for my Alps printer so I’d be happy to keep whatever is needed to run Templot.

Open Source - maybe someone will compile Templot to run on a Mac!!

Cheers,
Paul


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50th message | this message only posted: 27 May 2018 11:52
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Thanks Paul.

I have now created a hosting account on SourceForge.net for OpenTemplot:

 https://sourceforge.net/projects/opentemplot/

There is nothing on there yet, and may never be if I change my mind about it.

Please be aware -- that site is supported by advertising. Someone has to pay for it if it is to remain available after the bus gets me. There are and will be numerous "download" links on there which are advertising and nothing to do with Templot or me. Please don't click such links unless you know what you are doing.

There is nothing related to Templot on there yet.

The existing Templot2 downloads won't be on there, because that site is restricted to hosting open-source software.

cheers,

Martin.

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51st message | this message only posted: 27 May 2018 17:49
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Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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I sincerely hope that things work out for the best, I really don't have the time and I've successfully managed to forget all the Pascal I ever learned.

I still do have a copy but it's on multiple diskettes and I don't currently have a computer that can deal with these. As for Delphi forget it.
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Stephen Freeman wrote: I sincerely hope that things work out for the bestThanks Stephen.

There isn't actually any problem at present. Templot2 remains available, and there will be program updates in the usual way for the foreseeable future.

I'm just thinking ahead to the time when I shall want to take more of a back seat, and trying to ensure that a version of Templot in some form will still be available if I am no longer able to take any sort of seat.

An open source version is just one of several options, and I haven't yet made up my mind.

cheers,

Martin.

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53rd message | this message only posted: 29 May 2018 20:43
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Martin Wynne
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Well there's good news and bad news.

The good news is that after a couple of days work I have a first bare-bones version of OpenTemplot compiled in Lazarus and working. There are still a lot of rough edges, and quite a lot of stuff is missing*. But the basic design and printing of track templates is working. I'm not yet ready to release the files as open source, but that's the aim. Other contributors could take over smoothing the rough edges and finding open source equivalents for the missing stuff.

The bad news is that the box files from OpenTemplot are not compatible with existing box files from Templot2. Which is an essential requirement.

With hindsight it was of course a mistake to use binary files, but I never expected when I first roughed out a file format all those years ago that it would still be in use by now.

So I'm going to have to write some sort of file conversion utility to get round this. Which is doable. What's not doable is supporting it, and having to explain over and over again to folks how to get their files from one to the other, and why they keep getting error messages. Even if I write detailed instructions, no-one will ever read them. :(

But if the bus has done its worst, it will be somebody else's problem. :)

*currently missing:

sketchboard
PDF export
file viewer
metafiles
maps
direct scanning

Just to repeat, none of this has any bearing on the current Templot2 program, which will continue unchanged.

cheers,

Martin.

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54th message | this message only posted: 29 May 2018 23:01
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d827kelly
Coventry, United Kingdom

 

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There are pros and cons of each type of open source license, pick which suits your use of your work best. GPL doesn't prevent others making commercial versions of your software, but means they have to provide the source code and contribute their changes for instance.

One short term option is to switch to a templot 2.x/3.x model, with templot 2.x being the current version, with no more features to be added and a sort of 'legacy version' that people can continue to use without needing your efforts to maintain further other than bug fixes. With 3.x being the open source and future features version perhaps.


In the end it is your decision on what is right for you. It would be great though to have templot protected for the future as it is the best for what it does I've found.
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55th message | this message only posted: 30 May 2018 00:23
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Martin Wynne
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d827kelly wrote: One short term option is to switch to a templot 2.x/3.x model, with templot 2.x being the current version, with no more features to be added and a sort of 'legacy version' that people can continue to use without needing your efforts to maintain further other than bug fixes. With 3.x being the open source and future features version perhaps.Hi Kelly,

Templot2 and OpenTemplot will be two different programs.

Templot2 is the current and future version which I shall continue to develop as now. It won't be open source.

OpenTemplot will be a downgrade from Templot2 because Templot2 includes some copyright code which can't be open-sourced (the PDF export for example).

OpenTemplot will be open source under the GNU/GPL licence:

 https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html

Once I have released the files I don't anticipate doing much with OpenTemplot myself. It will come into its own if and when Templot2 is no longer available for any reason.

In the meantime if others want to work with or develop something from OpenTemplot that's fine by me (providing they stick to the GNU/GPL of course).

Who these "others" might be is something of a mystery so far.

There is no point my releasing the files if no-one has the means to use them. That's why I have been modifying them to be usable with Lazarus (itself open-source software). Details of how to get started with Lazarus are here:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=2956&forum_id=5#p21508

cheers,

Martin.

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Martin Wynne
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After a bit of sweat I have finally got the file conversion working in Templot2:



And this is the result, running in OpenTemplot (compiled in Lazarus):



Part of Gordon's Eastwood Town project, saved from Templot2.

There are still some cosmetic screen issues to resolve, but the basic track design functions are all working.

The change of file format is needed because Lazarus doesn't support the extended 80-bit data format used in Templot2.

The file extensions for OpenTemplot format will .otbox , .otbgs , .otcal

I have created a new section here on Templot Club for OpenTemplot discussions:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_forum.php?id=25

If you want to receive emails from that section you will need to add it to your emailed messages at:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/my_account.php?watched_forums=1

cheers,

Martin.

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Martin Wynne
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I have now released the first ever open source version of Templot.

It's here:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=3282&forum_id=25

:)

Martin.

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