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New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers
http://www.robotc.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=876
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Author:  JamesD [ Sat Nov 01, 2008 6:11 pm ]
Post subject:  New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

Hi,

Even better would be a vetted repository of the best of breed drivers (read fully featured & easy to implement) currently out there. There are so many clever people creating great drivers for the different sensors. Sensors are being released more regularly, and so often without proper RobotC support, it would be good to have drivers centrally and logically stored rather than searching through various forums.

Thanks
James

Author:  mightor [ Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

James,

I think it would be a good idea to make a Google Code site or something like that to host this code. I am currently working on a suite of HiTechnic drivers which will include:
* HT IR Seeker (sensor is in the mail, driver will follow quickly)
* MS NXTCam2 (sensor is in the mail, I will evaluate the current driver and see if any improvs are necessary)
* HT IR Link (done)
* HT ProtoBoard (done)
* MAX127
* MCP23008/MCP23016
* PCF8574a

I will also be writing a nice wrapper for the Mindsensors NXTCam2 when I get (this coming Saturday). The idea is to group all the common functionality together in deeper header files, such as the lower level I2C wrapper functions (that do proper error handling) and other bit/byte manipulation functions. That way those functions can be re-used in other drivers at some point in the future.

I have created http://code.google.com/p/robotc-drivers/ and all the drivers could be hosted there.

I think it is important to set a few goals and guidelines regarding code quality, etc. I think it is vital that the code should not sacrifice readability for speed. It should be well spaced and have plenty of comments to make it possible for others to understand what is going on without having to decipher the code. These are standard commercial coding practices.

Regards,
Xander

Author:  vnguyen [ Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

That seems like a reasonable request :) We'll think about how to organize it and where to place the forum, and this could happen pretty soon. Thanks for the suggestion!

Author:  mightor [ Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

That sounds like a great idea to put it on the forums. Just make sure it is easy to do file management, ie uploading, deleting, etc of the attached driver files.

Xander

Author:  JamesD [ Sat Nov 08, 2008 4:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

Hi Xander & Vu,

Glad to see you guys are of a similar mindset. It will be great to get this up and running. Unfortunately my ability to write code at the bit/byte level is virtually non existant. (Something to learn when I've got a week to spare.) Anyway it would be great to see people building on each others work.

Xander, (as stated on your site) I was very impressed with your PowerFunctions Driver. Really looking forward to your review/work on Gordon Wyeth's NXTCam drivers.

An example indicating that it is not written as well as he'd like, he commented in his code:
Quote:
// Put data into global variables.
// Casting to unsigned int throws a warning BUT casting a byte to int is quite
// different to casting to unsigned int, as the former performs sign extension
// (copies first bit of byte to higher bits to make it negative) and latter
// does not. Not sure what Robot C is doing now, but leave it for when they
// fix it. :)


Not sure what he means, but it may be, there are improvements/simplifications/enhancements to be made. (And Xander you may be just the man to do it!)

It has been really great to see robust drivers for the HiTechnic (and Mindsensor) compass incorporated into the RobotC platform. Hopefully a best of breed repository for drivers will accelerate the incorporation of 3rd party sensors into the RobotC IDE. This will make them far more accessible to non experts and the students I teach.

Xander, good suggestions regarding guide lines for drivers ie Proper commenting, Maybe it will cut my week above down to 1/2 a week.

Thanks
James

Author:  vnguyen [ Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

What do you think about a sub-forum under the NXT Programming forum?

Author:  Ford Prefect [ Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

hi,
maybe you wish to have a look at the organization and architecture of "our" NXT forum:

http://www.mindstormsforum.de/

Author:  mightor [ Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

Ford,
Nah, there are waaaaaay too many sub forums there. I would definately lose track. And on top of that, we'd have to start typing German! My German is vay too rusty for zat!

Vu,
That would be fine with me :)

Regards,
Xander

Author:  Ford Prefect [ Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

sure we have more subforums!

but we have 4 differnet hardware (NXT, RCX, Spybotics, WeDo),
and for each one
9 different programming languages,
3 different OS (Windows, Linux, MacOS),

and moreover
a showcase
digital designers,
education/school robotics
and much more topics.

Though RobotC is only 1 language that is supported here, you'll only have 1 forums group instead of 9,
but especially at our forum the nxt Sensors Subforum is very high frequented.

That's the way it can be organized here, too:

Quote:
Lego Sensors

Mindsensors

HiTechnic

Vernier

Home brewed/I2C

Bluetooth

Author:  JamesD [ Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

Hi,

Here is my 2cents worth:

Vu, I agree with putting the sensor driver forum under the NXT Programming section. Could you then have further drop down sub-sections relating to the manufacturers as per Ford's suggestion, (begrudgingly I have to admit, occasionally he does seem to have good ideas :wink: ).

And then, to ease some of Xander's concern about too many sections, we could amalgamate this forum with the suggestions/comments forum at the bottom of the forums page. Currently, the distinction between suggestions for the website and RobotC isn't needed nor justified based on their usage. In my opinion, they overlap too much to justify two separate forums. As an example of this, I was unsure where to post this thread. (In hindsight, it is probably the wrong forum.)

Xander, how are you going with the IRSeeker drivers? (He says with bated breath :) )

Author:  Ford Prefect [ Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

JamesD wrote:
(begrudgingly I have to admit, occasionally he does seem to have good ideas :wink: ).

ey, james dean, I guess you're real a nice guy :?

Author:  vnguyen [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Forum section specifically for 3rd party sensor drivers

I will make a general "Third-party Sensors" subforum. If there is enough action that we need to create even more sub-forums then we will do so.

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