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

Christian Ambros May 25, 2015


I, too, think that there will be many coders who would love to join in taking Guide to the next level, because we all know that is worth the effort. Software and especially those behind it change. But what remains is the spirit.
Setting the code free as it is, with or without documentation, which doesn't really matter for the one's who can program, sometime is the right thing, when the time has come to switch to other things. Had to go through this myself. Letting go really is the hardest lesson to learn. There always is a way back!

I realized that, there were just three things that got me, when I had to face some severe illness to deal with. The astronomy magazines I got in hospital, Guide 5.0 which helped me visualize where all those objects are I found in the magazines and Iraf/MIDAS which got me into contact with Linux, coding and ccd.
So one could say, Bill, you take one third share in my life of becoming an astronomer as a profession.
I assume that there must be others who might find such an impact to their own lives.

That's why I hope there will be a solution for the upcoming changes.
For my further work it could help, if I could fix or alter some of the code on my own.

"A little learning never caused anyone's head to explode!"

"Ein wenig Lernen hat noch niemandens Kopf zum Explodieren gebracht!"

On Friday, May 22, 2015 5:31 AM, "Arild Moland astralscooter@... [guide-user]" <> wrote:


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] <> 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 :

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