Status of Lazarus

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Status of Lazarus

David Chandler-5
Thank you all who responded to my initial inquiry.  Your responses were
helpful.

I am starting to get into Lazarus, as recommended by others on this
list, but I wonder about its limitations, given that it is still in Beta
release.  I have a large DOS era shareware astronomy program written in
Borland Pascal I want to port to a Windows and possibly also a cross
platform environment.  (There are a lot of other astronomy programs out
there, but this one still has some unique features.)  Are there major
unresolved issues or unsupported features in Lazarus that would likely
throw up road blocks if I take the plunge with a real project?  Is
printing to network and high res color printers in a Windows environment
transparent and problem free?  I also need serial communications support
to interface with telescopes.  The DOS version communicates over an
RS232 port, but I would like to add/substitute USB support.  How about
file transfer across the internet from within the program?  I don't have
this feature in the DOS version, but I would like to add it.  Would
these kinds of issues be barriers to cross platform development?    
--David Chandler

(By the way, is there anyone out there who would like to collaborate on
the project?  If so, contact me individually <[hidden email]>.  
It is a star mapping program called Deep Space that does a lot with
multiple map projections, comet and asteroid computations, multiple
databases, telescope pointing control, and more.)
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Re: Status of Lazarus

Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho
Hello,

On 10/15/05, David Chandler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I am starting to get into Lazarus, as recommended by others on this
> list, but I wonder about its limitations, given that it is still in Beta
> release.

I wouldn't say it is in Beta. The latest lazarus (0.9.10) is very
stable. I recommend this version.

> Are there major
> unresolved issues or unsupported features in Lazarus that would likely
> throw up road blocks if I take the plunge with a real project?
.....
> I also need serial communications support to interface with telescopes.  The DOS version communicates over an RS232 port, but I would like to add/substitute USB support.

I am developing a digital osciloscope on an ISA card and with a
graphical interface created on Lazarus. It is already able to
communicate wonderfully with out ISA card both on Windows and on
Linux, with the same source code (using some IFDEFs of course) and
draw really fast graphics without any custom library (we are running
the app on a 233Mhz computer). The project will be finished on 1 to 2
months and is quite software intensive. We are implementing the
trigger, Fourier Analisys, a fast custom drawing component, precision
timers (we need less then 1 microsecond precision) and many other
things on this program, so I really would say it is ready.

After strip and upx my graphical interface for the osciloscope is
700kb heavy on linux and 400kb on windows. It works wonderfully on
both.

For me the worse problem is button glyphs being problematic on Windows
... but this should be fixed still this year. Aside from that only
small anoyances, but nothing that really blocks me.

>  How about file transfer across the internet from within the program?

There is a package for sockets. Also you can talk directy to the
correct APIs to implement this. My app talks directly to glibc to
implement access to the ISA Card while our device driver is not ready.
You can also talk directly to Windows API (on a IFDEF of course) or
any other library.

> these kinds of issues be barriers to cross platform development?

Yes .... so you need a package or unit that already implements it on a
multi-platform way or simply put:

{$IFDEF Win32}
     Call Windows API ....
{$ENDIF}
{$IFDEF Linux}
    Call glibc .....
{$ENDIF}

> (By the way, is there anyone out there who would like to collaborate on
> the project?

At this time I have a imense amount of tasks to do already, but I am
really interested on knowing how to access USB on lazarus code and,
even better, how to create the USB hardware interface. How is your
software licensed?

I am thinking about starting a "Hardware Access" section on the wiki.

--
Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho
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Re: Status of Lazarus

Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho
> At this time I have a imense amount of tasks to do already, but I am
> really interested on knowing how to access USB on lazarus code and,
> even better, how to create the USB hardware interface. How is your
> software licensed?
>
> I am thinking about starting a "Hardware Access" section on the wiki.

Now we have a "Hardware Access" tutorial on
http://wiki.lazarus.freepascal.org/index.php/Hardware_Access

--
Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho
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Re: Status of Lazarus

L505
In reply to this post by Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho


>  How about file transfer across the internet from within the program?

At least, there are plenty of units for this one ;-).

Synapse is cross platform, and the main FPC sockets unit is crossplatform. Synapse and any
synapse wrappers out there, are a bit higher level than programming with the FPC sockets
unit directly. Synapse is a bit lower level than something like Indy internet components. I
think from what you have said, you would prefer synapse or fpc sockets unit, since it is not
visual, and probably more reliable than Indy.

--
Regards
 Lars (L505)
 http://z505.com/fakeme.htm

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Re: Status of Lazarus

Lukas Gebauer
> >  How about file transfer across the internet from within the program?
>
> At least, there are plenty of units for this one ;-).
>
> Synapse is cross platform, and the main FPC sockets unit is crossplatform.
> Synapse and any synapse wrappers out there, are a bit higher level than
> programming with the FPC sockets unit directly. Synapse is a bit lower
> level than something like Indy internet components. I think from what you
> have said, you would prefer synapse or fpc sockets unit, since it is not
> visual, and probably more reliable than Indy.

And Synapse have sister's project called SynaSer... yes, it is for serial
port communication.

But be carefull, Synapse and Synaser is for Windows and Linux targets
only.


--
Lukas Gebauer.

E-mail: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.ararat.cz/synapse - Synapse Delphi and Kylix TCP/IP
Library


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Re: Status of Lazarus

David Chandler-5
In reply to this post by Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho

>...I am really interested on knowing how to access USB on lazarus code and,
>even better, how to create the USB hardware interface.
>
I don't have a USB interface in the DOS version--just RS232.  I was
hoping I could find others who could point the way on the USB issue.

> How is your software licensed?
>  
>
The DOS version was shareware.  I have friends who are urging me to go
open source on a new version.  I haven't made up my mind.

--David Chandler
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Re: Status of Lazarus

Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho
On 10/17/05, David Chandler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I don't have a USB interface in the DOS version--just RS232.  I was
> hoping I could find others who could point the way on the USB issue.

What is RS232??

Well, if you are already good at other hardware interfaces you may
even learn how to create the USB one by googling. I found quite a bit
of information about ISA Cards, including PCB schematics on google.

--
Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho
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Re: Status of Lazarus

Daniel Franzini
RS232 is a standard for serial communications. It sets up voltage levels for logical 0 and 1, timming and waveforms that devices should provide to receive/transmit data. A few weeks ago i built up and got worked a simple RS232 device: a (old) terminal connected to the pc just for sending and receiving chars. It was for college classes of digital circuits.

On 10/17/05, Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 10/17/05, David Chandler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I don't have a USB interface in the DOS version--just RS232.  I was
> hoping I could find others who could point the way on the USB issue.

What is RS232??

Well, if you are already good at other hardware interfaces you may
even learn how to create the USB one by googling. I found quite a bit
of information about ISA Cards, including PCB schematics on google.

--
Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho
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--
Daniel

"(...) one learns how to write code by reading code. One doesn't learn how to
ride a bike by reading a book, either." (Theo de Raadt)

"Man is driven to create; I know I really love to create things. And while I'm not good at painting, drawing, or music, I can write software." (Yukihiro Matsumoto, a.k.a. ``Matz'')
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Re[2]: Status of Lazarus

Alexey Pavluchenko
In reply to this post by Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho
Hello Felipe,

Monday, October 17, 2005, 1:08:00 PM, you wrote:

FMdC> On 10/17/05, David Chandler <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I don't have a USB interface in the DOS version--just RS232.  I was
>> hoping I could find others who could point the way on the USB issue.

FMdC> What is RS232??

Standard point-to-point serial link (the thing called "COM Port" on
PC). "RS232" is the name of an EIA standard which specifies electrical
characteristics and other interface details.

FMdC> Well, if you are already good at other hardware interfaces you may
FMdC> even learn how to create the USB one by googling. I found quite a bit
FMdC> of information about ISA Cards, including PCB schematics on google.

USB is much more complex than ISA, especially on software side.
Fortunately, due to its popularity there is quite a lot of
out-of-the-box solutions. Most of them are not for free though. Check
e.g. http://www.lvr.com/usb.htm.

--
Best regards,
 Alexey


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