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Interest in contributing

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David Benn
David Benn's picture
Interest in contributing

Hi all

Please use this topic to post comments about your interest in:

  • contributing to VStar development (features, bug fixes; see bug & issue tracker);
  • testing prior to a VStar release;
  • testing new plug-ins before inclusion in the plug-in library;
  • contributing to what you see as gaps in documentation (user manual, plug-ins, developer documentation, something I haven't thought of yet).

Other ways to help include:

Note that development extends to writing unit tests or writing specifications for a new plug-in that others may code and test.

Having some Java development experience is necessary for coding or unit test development of course, but  testing is always something we need more of and requires no coding experience, just a willingness to try to break software, to check that functionality you care about works or has not stopped working etc.

David

daveh
daveh's picture
Interest in contributing

Hi David,

I'd like to contribute to the VStar development effort. I would be interested in any of the above tasks except the Java coding. While I can read some Java code if I know what the application is, I'm really not a programmer or code expert. It looks like you already have some folks with that type of talent. So, let me know how I can help. Thanks.

 

Dave H.

HDHA

David Benn
David Benn's picture
Interest in contributing

Thanks Dave. There is still plenty of room for Java development skills, believe me. smiley

Do you have an interest in one or more of the items in particular, e.g. testing, documentation?

David

daveh
daveh's picture
Probably testing of the VStar

Probably testing of the VStar software would be the primary interest. I think VStar is very cool applications software. But documentation would be OK also. So I guess it really depends on what is most critical. Let me know what you consider to be the highest priority.

 

I would love to learn Java, but I just don't have the programming/coding skills. I've tried programming in the past and it wasn't pretty, so I'll leave that up to the experts!

 

Dave

clkotnik
clkotnik's picture
GAIA Plugin

David,

You will see that I have separately proposed a plugin to load GAIA DR2 photometry.  It is not clear to me whether my coding this would work to your advantage.  I'm sure I would need your help getting started.  How much time I'm not sure.  However, if you are willing to give it a shot, let me know.

I would be willing to expand my assistance with other item on your list.

best regards,

Cliff

David Benn
David Benn's picture
GAIA Plugin

Hi Cliff

Cool.

One of the things I've thought about doing is to run a CHOICE course on plugin development. I've suggested it to HQ and it was received well but I have not yet progressed the idea.

Some coding experience would be required by not necessarily Java.

Alternatively, a series of forum tutorial posts may be appropriate and then individual communication where necessary.

Thoughts?

David

clkotnik
clkotnik's picture
GAIA Plugin

David,

I will look over the resources you have posted at the bottom of the plug-in page over the next week or so.  Then I will let you know what I think and what questions I have.

I have a little programming experience with a lot of languages.  Initially, I'd think Java would be a good choice for this.

back to you soon,

Cliff

AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
VStar Project

I would like to be able to contribute to the testing and documentation side of VStar. I have close to 20 years experience in software testing, several of those being in web testing. I am experienced with editing documentation, as well. I am a new member of AAVSO and, with the help of my mentor Ken Menzies, I am getting up to speed learning how to submit observation data. I am now getting familiar with the bugs that have been reported for VStar and I look forward to learning how to use the tool itself, in the coming weeks. Thanks!

David Benn
David Benn's picture
VStar Project

Hi Matthew

Your involvement would be appreciated. I've been chatting with a couple other people who have expressed interest.

This might be a good topic to discuss possibilities/plans.

David

daveh
daveh's picture
Interest in contributing

Matthew,

It looks like we dropped the ball regarding your participation in VStar. Please accept our apologies. We would welcome your participation (as well as anybody else interested in contributing to VStar).

Right now the VStar team consists primarily of David Benn, Cliff Kotnik, and myself. David is the lead for VStar, having done most of the development. Cliff has contributed the Gaia plug-in app (coding and documentation), and I've done alot of VStar testing and documentation. David and Cliff have excellent Java skills. My software skills are pathetic, so I contribute with testing and documentation of what David and Cliff have developed.

The VStar effort is ongoing. There are peaks and valleys in the work that needs to be done, but there is usually something to do. You should probably coordinate with David initially to see what he might want you to work on. You can find his contact information on the AAVSO "Find a Member/Observer" website page.

I hope this helps, and again sorry we missed you offer to contribute to VStar.

Dave (HDHA)

lmk
lmk's picture
Too bad it's in Java. I have

Too bad it's in Java. I have been programming in C/C++ since the original K&R text in the late 70's, so pretty fluent, having created some pretty sophisticated code over the years! Though Java and C++ share a lot of commonality in style and syntax (I believe a lot of Java was copied from the C++ object-oriented, class based design) the differences in the details makes coding in Java very slow and inefficient for me, similar to a fluent Spanish speaker trying to hold a conversation in Portuguese :(

David Benn
David Benn's picture
Too bad it's in Java

Hi Mike

Thanks for the desire to help. :)

My first compiler (for the Amiga: http://aminet.net/package/dev/basic/ace24dist) was written in K&R C.

I still code in C++, mostly for work, but also for microcontrollers. I spend as much time with Python, R, JavaScript, Matlab, C++ and Java these days, although less Matlab than the others.

You'd be fine with Java after a bit of adjustment. It's a simpler language than C++ but still very capable. It gets a bad rap these days but that's a bit of a shame I think.

David

AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
VStar

Hi Dave (HDHA),
No problem at all. I am happy to be able to contribute whatever I can (at any time that I am available).

My general impression is that the VStar software is very well-written and does it's job effectively. I have only found a few small issues so far. I will submit them here as separate items.

AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
VStar Manual

On page 120 and 128 of the user manual(VStarUserManual.pdf), the Superwasp website reference is now a broken link. The website has changed recently.

David Benn
David Benn's picture
VStar Manual
AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
VStar Manual

On page 130 of the user manual, the VStar forum link no longer works:
http://www.aavso.org/forums/about-aavso/vstar
Clicking on the link results in "Page not found."

David Benn
David Benn's picture
VStar Manual
AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
VStar Manual

On page 130 of the user manual, the two links under "Southern Gems: A part of the Citizen Sky Project" no longer work. Clicking each link results in "Page not found."

David Benn
David Benn's picture
VStar Manual
AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
VStar Gaia Plug-in

I am interested in the Gaia DR2 data archive, so I loaded the Gaia plugin and found a source_id for a star.
When attempting to enter the source_id into VStar, it would be most helpful to be able to paste the text into the box, as the source-ids are extremely long strings of digits. Currently, this is not an option.
1. From the Gaia DR2 Archive, locate a source_id for any star. (Here is an example for a star: 4658898497969725952)
2. Using the mouse, select the source_id text and copy it (ctrl-c).
3. Open VStar.
4. Select File > New Star from Gaia DR2 Photometry.
5. On the Gaia Load Parameters window, paste the text into the Gaia source_id field.
Result: Nothing happens.
Expected Result: The text would be inserted into the field.

David Benn
David Benn's picture
VStar Gaia Plug-in

Hi Matthew

Is this when using VStar via WebStart or as a downloaded archive from SourceForge?

I suspect it's this bug:

https://sourceforge.net/p/vstar/bugs-and-features/638/

Does that seem right to you?

David

AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
Yes, bug 638 is the same

Yes, bug 638 is the same issue - thanks.

AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
Workaround

I found a cool workaround for the inability to copy and paste a source_id into the Gaia plug-in. I used my macro-recording software to do it for me. Now I can make a macro for any id that I want to use and it very quickly brings up the light curve. I would think most people would not want to go this route, but it works great for me.

David Benn
David Benn's picture
Workaround

Nice.

WebStart will probably be abandoned at some point in future for VStar for various reasons, but that won't be for awhile.

David

AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
VStar - Loading a new star from file

On a personal note, I would like some assistance with loading a "New Star from File." I have downloaded and tried to open several files (.fits, .csv, etc.), but all result in the "No observations for the specified period" error. This is probably a simple user error with a simple answer.

David Benn
David Benn's picture
VStar - Loading a new star from file

Hi Matthew

As per page 9 of the user manual, there's only 2 formats that can be opened by New Star from File.

Plugins for ASAS, SuperWASP, Kepler etc all have distinct File menu items.

David

AstroScience
AstroScience's picture
Ok, that helps.

Ok, that helps.

daveh
daveh's picture
VStar

Hi Matthew,

You're right... VStar is an amazing piece of software. I too have found only a few minor issues...mostly cosmetic. I believe I've already found the issues you mention in your last three posts and these are being worked. As I mentioned you should coordinate with David Benn. He can tell you in detail what needs to be done. I think he is in the process of getting ready to release some VStar updates that will need to be tested, but he can give you more info on that.

Thanks again for your interest and contributions.

 

Dave

David Benn
David Benn's picture
VStar

Thanks Dave, Matthew. Will send an email to you both.

David

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