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Old 06-10-2016, 09:12   #31
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

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Originally Posted by teppokurki View Post
By being an open source project.

The current Signal K JSON over HTTP/WebSocket is not the right tool for low latency high bandwidth applications. It was never designed for that.

So what should we do? Let's devise a way to use the common Signal K data model for this!

Hmm let's pick an existing technology fit for this purpose, like Protobuf. Then let's define the way Signal K abstract data model keys and values (mostly floats and ints, some enums, some structs) are used with Protobuf. File an RFC, let's discuss & revise, then somebody writes a reference implementation, the RFC makes it to the Signal K spec and ... we have a way to transmit marine data in high bandwidth applications - with a shared vocabulary for mapping the data to different formats and purposes.

(Please don't pick on Protobuf here, I picked it as an example. I claim absolutely no expertise in this area.)
(Not everything needs to be Signal K for that matter. I don't see how or why radar data would fit in for example.)


You can go on writing your own stuff and publicly wonder "why Signal K does not do X".

Or you can help make it better.

This summer I needed the Signal K node server to do stuff that it could not do. I implemented the extensions that I needed in my own fork, quickly adding just what I needed.

But I have firm plans to share those extensions and at the same time add a generic extension mechanism to the server.
I looked at Signal maybe a year ago. It seemed aimed at web level communication. I didn't see where it was focused on the original creation of the data, eg GPS, speed, depth... That end of the system is more interesting to me as a boat system. Looking at the sk web site it looks like the current solution is to use the legacy busses and drive them into an SK server. It's a bit of a chicken and egg issue. It will be interesting to see if SK can gain some traction or will OneNet be the next predominate protocol.
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:59   #32
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

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I looked at Signal maybe a year ago. It seemed aimed at web level communication. (...)
+1!

Have things changed over the year?

No.

Thus mixing up discussions on n182 / n2k with musings on K is all talk.

This does not make K a bad thing at all. Just possibly usable at a different level of infrastructure. This will explain why K people make very little to no effort at selling the idea to us crowds.

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Old 06-10-2016, 10:44   #33
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

LOL, I burst out laughing while reading your comment about the "Linux support forums I have been in Linux community since 1994ish and I totally understand what you mean.

All the points and questions you are raising are valid I think. I have developed software for a very long time mostly for fun (and for fun projects, almost always open source). I have led engineering teams for developing commercial software packages and solutions. Now in my startup, we are developing solutions obviously for commercial reasons. I am the primary product designer but also a coder in the project (welcome to the startup world ;-) ). I won't claim to have all the answers but I will throw in my 2 cents based on my experience that is now more than two decades.

You are absolutely right about the ego issue. I don't think it is any secret that this whole industry is full of egos (starting with Linus himself, in the case of Linux example). I do agree it can be irritating at times. On the other hand, people do need a motivation to do stuff. In the case of open software, I tend to think that part of that motivation could be to fulfill their ego, which is somewhat understandable (Disclaimer, I am no psychologist ;-) ).

Regarding point of ecosystems, let's take the Signal K example. I am not part of the Signal K group. I recently became a liveaboard on my boat and that got me close to my beloved boat and marine electronics. And I tend to relax from work by tinkering (I know it is an oxymoron). To do stuff, I needed to pick a protocol. NMEA was there, I had the pain of dealing with it in the past with its limitations. I am not talking about technical side of the things necessarily, but NMEA 2k is closed and my boat doesn't have it on top. You need to pay the get the spec then you can't disclose details. I can understand it for commercial projects but not suitable for what I am trying to do. Then there was Signal K, code was there, spec was there, it was licensed under a model with which I could do whatever I want to do with. I didn't need anyone's permission. I started playing with it, put out an app then another, also starting asking questions on the Signal K forum. Teppo and Rob responded, and Teppo responded to further follow-ups and he has been responding on this forum as well. It is working for me so far. I am not talking about the limitations of the protocol, but the good part is, if I come across limitations, I have the option to extend it in the way I want.

I do agree that in general open source communities need to do better for getting end users involved without looking arrogant. I believe long term viability of the project is correlated to user involvement. This is not easy.

On the flip side of things, there is something that is irritating for open source developers as well. Sometimes they are seen as free development resources, and I have observed it over and over to be frustrating for them and I would say rightly so. Open source development is not the same as free development for others. This is I think, where they differ from commercial projects. In commercial projects users' role is to give feedback and ask and the developer is incentivized to do it. In open source projects this balance is much more delicate. When you see a user having an attitude of 'I need this this and that and without it this is useless, now you should go back and do this because [....]', this is usually a showstopper from the developer's perspective. It is obviously not this clear cut, I am making it so to make my point.

All in all, complex dynamics!

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Thank you again!

I build small custom things for our own boat or for the friends and only for fun. I do not write my code but rather pick up pieces from varied sources and combine them to get what works.

I am still trying to wrap my head round the Signal K thing. This is also where I differ from your opinion on rapid development. My take is that for projects like K support to the external world is nil to minimal - people in the circles have resolved to speak their own hermetic lingo and this practically cuts away input and output towards third parties. Ergo: such developers write beautiful pieces of code. But they end up very far from where their market is.

This reminds me very much "support" for Linuks users. 'Your question has been already answered', 'Your question is ill formed', 'Fire up the terminal and try ...'. ;-)

This does not push things forward. This creates an artificial ego barrier between the feedback guy / user and the coder.

One cannot rapidly develop useful hardware and software without rapid feedback from the end users. And such feedback is not possible without speaking a human language. How silly Signal K people talk about 'human readable' data flow meanwhile remaining themselves hardly human readable.

Having participated in big building teams that developed software for the banking industry I look at the open source world and I wonder. Why the adjective 'open'? It does not feel any more open than the things we built with proprietary software, for proprietary platforms. It is an oxymoron, like free beer and healthy fast food.

There must be an easier and better way to build open source hardware and software. Maybe it is yet to come.

Apologies for the rant.

Thanks again, I stay tuned.

barnakiel
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:50   #34
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

BTW, v0.0.2 of Signal K Mobile app (the original theme of this thread ;-) ) just hit the app stores. The big change is the support for temperature, pressure and humidity sensors (and here is a tutorial to make your own sensors for $10 on a Raspbbery Pi).

It also solves an issue for entering a Signal K server address manually. In v0.0.1 it could cause application hangs depending on the state of the server, I fixed it in this version.

On Apple App Store, Google Play Store and GitHub.

As always, user feedback is welcome!
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Old 06-10-2016, 13:17   #35
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

@ Tenedos,

Thank you very much for your post. And for the patience you had to read thru mine.

Indeed, you addressed my neurotic concerns as seen from your standpoint and in doing so you give me a broader and better view of things.

We are in Canary Islands now and hoping to be in the Caribbean. We normally roam the Windwards. If there is any chance you are heading for the West Indies too, it will be my pleasure to have you over for a glass of good rum and a chat.

Best regards,
b.
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Old 06-10-2016, 15:57   #36
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

Thank you, I am anchored in San Francisco Bay for the foreseeable future (at least until I can get my startup business settled) but I would love to take you up on that offer one day!

If you don't mind, you can do me a quick favor. Today, I got the very sad news of losing an older friend, who was very dear and special to me. That has saddened me deeply. Please have a toast to him with a glass of rum at sunset from the Canary islands and send it to the universe, wherever he may be right now. He had just the spirit to appreciate that...

Quote:
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We are in Canary Islands now and hoping to be in the Caribbean. We normally roam the Windwards. If there is any chance you are heading for the West Indies too, it will be my pleasure to have you over for a glass of good rum and a chat.
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Old 06-10-2016, 16:13   #37
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

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Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post
Thank you, I am anchored in San Francisco Bay for the foreseeable future (at least until I can get my startup business settled) but I would love to take you up on that offer one day!

If you don't mind, you can do me a quick favor. Today, I got the very sad news of losing an older friend, who was very dear and special to me. That has saddened me deeply. Please have a toast to him with a glass of rum at sunset from the Canary islands and send it to the universe, wherever he may be right now. He had just the spirit to appreciate that...
I will do so. I promise. Sorry about your friend.

Regards,
b.
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