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charting/reporting app nearing completion

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pox's picture
charting/reporting app nearing completion

The combined charting/reporting app I am working on is nearly done, barring standard error-checking procedures to 'idiot-proof' the software (noone better to try that on than myself...). What it does so far is:

  1. on first-time run, the user has to enter their aavso header details to make sure the observation file is in an acceptable format. This is a one-time only task but the generated file is a simple .txt file which can be edited if necessary.
  2. On running, the user is presented with two options: either administer the starcharts database (which is automatically created at stage 1 above, along with a folder in which your charts MUST be put, or: go to the charting/reporting screen. Features of the DB screen are:
    a) Add a new record to the charts DB
    b) Search for a star in order to see its details or edit/delete its record
    c) View all your observations. The starcharts DB consists of 2 tables, viz: charts / observations. The observations table is populated as each observation is made and is ordered according to observation date/time.
    d) View observations of a selected star (i.e., see all obs of CH Cyg)
  3. The charts screen can be seen in the attached screenshot and starts with a dropdown box listing all constellations. Clicking on a constellation populates a second DD box with all those variables in that constellation that the user has in their DB. Clicking on a star in that DD box puts that star's details (name, chart ID, current date and time) into text boxes. Hitting the 'get chart' button then displays the chart on the LH half of the screen. The chart is zoomable. Then you can enter your estimate, comp stars used and any notes.
  4. Hitting the enter button writes the observation record to both the AAVSO-format file and to the observations table in the DB. When the screen loads initially, the user-generated header is written to the top of the file, which is automatically named after the date it was created. All files are written to a dedicated folder so the user always knows where to look; and since the app is DB-based, the user always has the latest version of the file should a power outage or other disaster occur.

I am in the process of writing a simple help file in the form of an HTML page (which MUST be read first as it details the naming format for your chart files. A standardised form for these proved necessary since the app relies on this format to search for charts in the DB) - because if the app is going to be used by a wide variety of folks a one-size-fits-all approach is unavoidable. Sorry!

Attached screenshot shows an observation entered, with the chart zoomed in. Note the file name is shown in the window's title bar. I thought it best to have a night vision-friendly screen colour!

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SGEO's picture
New app

The screen shot looks pretty nice. What is the building framework: Microsoft Visual Studio VB98?

What are your plans? Will you release as shareware or as open source?


pox's picture

Hi George,

VB6 pro (I can't really afford to update to the newer versions of VS!). Just been putting some last touches, error trapping, that sort of thing. Just writing a little (essential) HTML help file. However it's released I can't with a clear conscience charge, since unbeknown to me the friend that gave me the CD didn't say the program had a tricorn hat, wooden leg and with a parrot on his shoulder... though it works perfectly. I hadn't even started to program at the time and didn;t realise you had to pay lots of money for this sort of thing!

I may contact Sara first since I understand she is a pretty hot coder. I don't want to release any software that hasn't first been okayed by HQ, but you're welcome to have a testing version for the moment. It uses some rather 'old' components that go with VB6 so I'm not sure how much windows8 et seq will treat it, though it runs on this machine which is W7.
Would that be OK?

GZN's picture
charting/reporting app nearing completion

Hi Michael.

More news about this app ?



davidjayjackson's picture


That looks great. Thanks for putting all the effort into designing this app. DJJ

GZN's picture
Any progress on this topic?

Any progress on this topic?

BSJ's picture
App is available

Hi All,

Mike's app is available from his own website:

As with other useful programs produced by our community but not supported by the AAVSO directly, a link to it can be found on our "Software Directory" page:

Any questions about its use or suggestions for improvement should be directed to the developer.

With best regards,

Amazing software. Its really

Amazing software. Its really helpful for me.

Thanks & Regards,

Mike Reiner




pox's picture
Thanks very much! Actually I

Thanks very much! Actually I need to make some changes for these reasons:

1) Are you sure the JD is calculated correctly? Because I believe that was a source of error

2) also I recently discovered a bit of a bug, which runs like this:-

if you use an error code for an observation, it seems to appear for all susequent observations. I have now corrected this, but I dont think that correction has percolated through to the supplied .exe file. I will be happy to email you the updated .exe (just overwrite your existing version) - but make sure your ISP allows single .exe files to be sent because, quite rightly, they are seen as possible sources of viruses. Otherwise I will simply update the whole package on the website.


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