[aprssig] APRS Open Spec

Jeff N0JUH jefflists08 at corrt.com
Thu Sep 25 23:09:06 CDT 2008

I really like the idea of the community-maintained "open spec"! (as 
suggested by Ron McCoy in "Re: [aprssig] Proper DIGI Path")

A bazillion people (including myself) have asked BobAPR if and when the 
spec will be updated and consolidated.  Maybe he doesn't have time, or 
maybe he just doesn't want to - but it is clear that he's not going to 
do it.  I think the community just needs to step up to the plate and get 
it done.

I would be glad to help with any "APRS Open Spec" initiative. I've 
appended some more detailed thoughts below.

   -- Jeff n0juh


  - Is there some software out there (maybe a wiki sort of thing) for 
collaborating on specifications?  Anyone with such software and some 
server space willing to share?

  - Can anyone here spell UML? :)  I've used it a bit to model and 
develop software systems.  But I was surprised to hear that it is 
actually used for standards documents.  (A cousin who sits some ISO 
standards committees assures me it is true.)  It's a "specification" 
that actually models the system, and can even be used to generate code! 
  Plain text specs seem so lame in comparison :)  UML would be ideal for 
specifying a system like APRS - but it may be too far out-of-the-box for 
most hams.  Here's an easy introduction to UML: 

  - What if, while we were working on the spec, we ALSO developed code 
that implemented the specification as written?  I'm thinking of a 
low-level platform-independent C library that could be used by hardware 
and software developers alike to build APRS products that conform to the 
spec.  Industrial-strength, of course, with integrated testing and 
verification.  I'm not talking about an APRS application - just a core 
(or "kernel") library that implements the specification with a 
well-defined API.

  - My dream scenario: A consolidated and up-to-date spec with a aprs 
core library that implements the spec as written.  An end to the 
balkanized mass-confusion state of aprs of today!  (Of course, someone 
once told me that this would be impossible, because the only people left 
in aprs-world actually *like* it the way it is. Say it ain't so!)


Ron McCoy wrote in "Re: [aprssig] Proper DIGI Path":
> Perhaps, since the community here "discusses, argues and debates" the 
> spec, the community should start an open spec of APRS so that all of the 
> developers will be working form a known starting point.
> This would certainly help interoperability and provide a forum to hash 
> out the current ambiguities in the various standards documents.
> Stephen H. Smith wrote:
>> Robert Bruninga wrote:
>>> Yes, everything that goes into the addendums is proposed,
>>> discussed, argued, debated ad nauseum and finalized here on the
>>> APRSSIG.  Then it is documented in the addendums.  The 1.1
>>> addendum was solidified in 2004.  The 1.2 contains additional
>>> items since then.

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