[aprssig] Rant - Cross platform portability

Joel Maslak jmaslak-aprs at antelope.net
Wed Sep 20 11:49:52 CDT 2006

On Sep 20, 2006, at 9:20 AM, Gregg Wonderly wrote:

> Yep, many people doing software development in the HAM community  
> don't have enough training or information, or motivation to get it  
> right.  That's a real problem for many people.  Some argue that  
> HAMs ought to be smart enough to figure it out.  I think it's  
> important to not waste unneeded time in peoples lives just because  
> you can.

Your definition of "get it right" and mine differ.  Portability  
appears to be near #1 in priority for you.  That's fine, and I  
respect it.  To be honest, it's not near #1 for me - for me, writing  
code to solve *my* needs is #1 in priority, and #2 is to do it as  
quick as possible.

I know Java, and have written enterprise apps in Java.  I've done the  
same thing in at least 5 other languages.  I pick the language that  
(A) fits my team, (B) has the features I need, and (C) results in the  
least work for me.  Portability is usually not a concern to me.  I  
know you disagree with my view on that, but that's fine.  You can do  
it your way, but that doesn't mean you get it right while I get it  
wrong.  It means you focus on something different than I do, and  
hopefully you achieve your goal.

If I write software in, say, Microsoft .NET, you don't have to use  
it, and I haven't wasted your time by writing it (because if I didn't  
write it at all, you would be no better off).  Sure, I could have  
saved you work by using Java, if you are going to recode in Java  
later, but not trying to save you work is hardly the same as costing  
you time.

I've tried to stay out of this argument, because IMHO, it has no  
place on a group dedicated to APRS.  It's about software development  
methodology.  I've been in the software business long enough to know  
that there is no "right way" to do this development.

I'd be all for someone starting an APRS GUI client project that is  
designed to be cross platform capable.  I'd probably even run their  
software.  But I'm not going to write it, nor am I going to criticize  
others who write non-cross-platform apps.  Instead, if it bothers me,  
I'll do it myself.  Otherwise I'll let other people make  
contributions to APRS that are different from the ones I might want  
to see in an ideal world.

Besides, a good chunk of APRS development is - by necessity - non- 
cross-platform.  For instance, I doubt I could load the HAM-HUD code  
on Windows, or use SmartPalm on a TinyTrack - nor can I see any  
circumstance where Java would run on many of our platforms (including  
the DOS platform that Bob still supports and apparently feels enough  
people use to continue his support).

Once again, I think cross-platform support is a Good Thing, but I'm  
not in favor of saying that non-cross-platform software is hurting  
APRS.  It is not preventing likeminded people from writing cross- 
platform software.

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