Re: [guide-user] As of 2015 January 6, Guide 9.0 is discontinued

Arild Moland May 21, 2015

Bill,

I trust that there is no programmer, past or present, who hasn't got a few lines or more of ugliness to his coding record. Happens to us all. I'm programming for a living, and sometimes you will just have to make do with whatever works and move on. Unless you are especially talented, effective and work for a rare bread of employers, creating nothing but code which will make you proud just won't happen.

Besides, the best software there is, is software that is being used. And Guide is used - and indeed loved! - by so many, despite its now rather dated and somewhat challenging interface, and sometimes less than intuitive ways of getting things done. But it does. Get things done. And fast!

If you feel that the code is too messy to self-document, write a few lines to explain what the classes do, and how they interact, to get interested people going in the right direction. I haven't touched C or C++ since my Uni days, and I have failing patience with maths so I won't pick it up , but my hope is still that you will release the rest of the Guide source sooner rather than later. Perhaps someone in this group could kick off an open source project to maintain or even further develop Guide.

I wish you all possible success with your future endeavours, and a great thank you for what is a unique and lasting contribution to astronomy fans around the world!

Best regards,

Arild :)



On Fri, May 22, 2015 at 3:06 AM, Bill Gray pluto@... [guide-user] <guide-user@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
 

Hello all,

I do expect to get the rest of the code posted. So far, only
a few bits and pieces have actually been "clean" enough to post :

http://www.projectpluto.com/source.htm

These are mostly underlying libraries, used in both Guide and
Find_Orb and other small astronomy projects of mine (and by a few
other people as well).

One big reason I decided to discontinue Guide was that it suffered
a fate all too common among old software projects. I started writing
it in 1992. Over time, I kept adding to it, occasionally rewriting
parts of it, and occasionally realized that I'd made some rather
dreadful decisions in the process. I also made design decisions that
_did_ make sense at the time, but then things changed.

As a result, the code gradually became more convoluted and got much
harder to maintain or improve. It got to the point where I approached
the code with a bit of dread.

There _are_ some pieces of which I am quite proud, and consider to
reflect some of my best work as a programmer. There are also pieces
that I sincerely hope would never be looked at by a potential employer.
(Though I think every working programmer has a few of those.) I expect
that I will have to swallow my reluctance to post "ugly" code, and
simply post at least some of the code in its current inelegant state.

The code, by the way, is all in C or C++, and uses the Microsoft
Foundation Classes (MFC) for the user interface. That was a good
choice back in the late 1990s, though less so today. Fortunately,
MFC is supported by the latest Microsoft compilers. I do expect to
do some work to get the code working with Microsoft Visual Studio
Community Edition 2013, the current "free" version of Visual Studio.
(With Microsoft, one must always look at "free" offers _very_
carefully. I'm not a lawyer, but I think we may be okay with this one.
I do wish there were a completely free version of MFC, though.)

Also, be advised: I am still tinkering with Guide on rare occasion.
Which will be the subject of my next post.

-- Bill