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                                       OpenTemplot - where next?
     
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1st message | this message only posted: 4 Sep 2018 06:04
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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It is now 3 months since I released Templot as open source. I spent a lot of time preparing the code to make it suitable for publication, and capable of being compiled in a readily available compiler.

Then when there was some disagreement about the actual form of publication I spent more time splitting it into two options -- a conventional collaborative open source project (OpenTemplot), and a "home" version for users to tinker with for their own use (TemplotMEC).

For a long time I had been reluctant to publish the code for Templot, fearing that it would create a flood of questions about the workings of the code, and requests for help in modifying and compiling it. Which on top of the usual help requests from users would be just too much to cope with.

In the event I was completely wrong, and the actual result has been almost total silence. I know of no-one working on or with the code, or at least if they are doing so they are keeping very quiet about it.

Which leaves me wondering where we go from here? There is still a lot missing from the open source version, including the PDF exports and the entire sketchboard function. Should I be spending time on solving these issues? They are no 5-minute tasks. Or just leave the existing open source where it is for anyone who wants it and otherwise forget it?

There is also the question of open sourcing my more recent work on Templot2. I am in the middle of a big update to the DXF exports for the 3D rendering and possible 3D printing of bullhead chairing. The code for that will need a lot of explanation and commenting to make it sensible for others to read, and I have not yet done a user interface for all the many settings or any user help notes.

It seems that open sourcing everything creates a lot of extra work, and from the level of interest so far I'm not sure that it's really worth it.

cheers,

Martin.

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2nd message | this message only posted: 4 Sep 2018 13:19
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from:
Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Hi Martin,

Sorry you feel a little frustrated with the lack of interest in OpenTemplot :( Despite my programming experience in an earlier life there is virtually no hope of me delving into the code and making changes ( for me or for others )... there is too much else to do with modelling related subjects. It is anyway highly unlikely I could produce anything that improved on your monumental efforts with the code :)

My thoughts over the past years has been that damn bus that charges round the country looking for innocent targets. Now we have a ( non internet checking ) downloadable version of Templot all we have to worry about is that the Windows platform doesn't change. We would all like you to take care near the roads though.....

Others may have different views of course.

Rob


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3rd message | this message only posted: 4 Sep 2018 19:39
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from:
Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello Martin,
                  I think you releasing an open version of Templot that does not require an internet connection has provided a fallback for everyone should you find that bus that people keep mentioning.
We will all continue to use your Templot2 till such times as it is no longer available. The reason for that is because Templot2 is one of a kind and if we want to do track planning their are no alternatives.
Also I believe anyone doing anything with OpenTemplot would not care to burden you with their efforts as you made clear that users would be on their own. People will always use the best option available to do something and at the moment that is you and Templot2. It is maybe a good thing you are left in peace to do as you like when you like with Templot2 without being burdened by OpenTemplot as well. I think you answered your own question as below.
Best regards
Trevor.:)
Or just leave the existing open source where it is for anyone who wants it and otherwise forget it?

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4th message | this message only posted: 4 Sep 2018 22:12
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Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Martin
For me, the main interest was in having the possibility of running Templot without having the internet check.  In the event that for whatever reason that gets switched off, all our work is made useless at a stroke.  Whatever the software, I feel nervous about relying on something outside of my control to be able to continue using it.  Even with my reluctant switch to the subscription model of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop I can still fall back on an older standalone copy if necessary, and I have an XP box squirelled away as a last resort for when Microsoft do something stupid to stop my ALPS printer working, or parallel printer ports on PCs disappear completely.

The idea of being able to tweak things to make my own version does appeal, although it’s been a long time since I’ve done any programming.  Regarding the work you’ve done to split it into two versions, I do feel you were bullied into that to some extent, but obviously you could have said “no”!

To be honest, in your shoes I wouldn’t spend any further time on it, having released it so it’s available if necessary.  You may like to do the occasional big update now and then though!  I would hate you to think you’ve wasted your time though - as a way of being able to continue using Templot in the event of the proverbial bus changing its timetable, or nuclear Armageddon wiping out the servers, it would be reassuring to know that we can still access all our work!

Cheers,

Paul

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5th message | this message only posted: 5 Sep 2018 00:24
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email or PM.

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
Hi Rob, Trevor, Paul,

Thanks for your thoughts. I did say at the start that I would open-source Templot and then leave it to others, while I get on with Templot2 in my own way. So in theory I have no reason to be frustrated by any lack of feedback.

But the point I'm making here is that I haven't yet finished the first part of that. There are still significant chunks of Templot2 not yet included in OpenTemplot. The fact that none of you picked up on that, and that there has been total silence about it, makes me wonder if it is worth spending my time on the significant amount of work still needed.

The biggest task is in open-sourcing the sketchboard. Apart from licensing issues, the sketchboard is based almost entirely on Windows metafiles -- which are not supported in Lazarus. So open-sourcing the sketchboard means either completely rewriting it to use other mechanisms, or creating TMetafile support in Lazarus. Either way is a massive amount of work, at least it would be for me. I'm assuming that those already working on Linux or other platforms may have solutions, but no-one has popped up to say so.

Likewise the PDF export. To find an open-source replacement ought to be easy. But I haven't found one. Writing one from scratch would be another major task. There is the option of using a virtual printer application instead of the dedicated export, but they are all focused on standard paper sizes and can't produce the large single page PDFs which Templot's dedicated PDF export can create for wide-format long-roll printing.

The alternative approach to both these issues would be a half-way house in which OpenTemplot makes use of a pre-compiled Windows helper executable. I have already adopted that approach for the screenshot maps, there apparently being no other easy-to-use embeddable browser other than the Windows I.E. control. In that case I have open-sourced the (Delphi) code for the helper exe, but that wouldn't be possible for the PDF or sketchboard. The big disadvantage with this method is that it will always be Windows/Wine only, and it might stop working in future versions of Windows and/or Wine.

So I have to decide whether to try to get the full Templot2 functionality into OpenTemplot, or whether to leave it as it is now? The total silence about any of this, or offers to assist with it, leaves me assuming that no-one is much bothered?

cheers,

Martin.   

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6th message | this message only posted: 5 Sep 2018 16:50
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from:
Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello Martin,
                  I think as long as it is possible to print the actual Templot track images for building track with OpenTemplot all the other stuff in Templot2 is not really needed. The extra work you would make for yourself if you felt obliged to do so would end up taking all your time. We all appreciate what you have provided for already without adding to more work for yourself. I think your enjoyment developing Templot would become an unwelcome ordeal if you ventured down that path.
Best regards.
Trevor.:)

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7th message | this message only posted: 6 Sep 2018 10:01
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Publish it all on GitHub. Then leave it into the wild , no support After all you can’t take it with you !

Dave
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8th message | this message only posted: 6 Sep 2018 11:00
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email or PM.

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
madscientist wrote: Publish it all on GitHub. Then leave it into the wild , no support After all you can’t take it with you !Hi Dave,

It is already on Sourceforge:

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

However, the latest release is not on there, it's here, please use this zip file instead:
 
 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=3292&forum_id=26

(waiting for Adrian to update the Sourceforge repository with this).

For instructions on what to do with it, see:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=3283&forum_id=26

Martin.

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