SwiftAA 2.0

SwiftAA, the most comprehensive collection of accurate astronomical algorithms just reached v2.0! This is the first version of complete Solar System APIs with units safety and a whopping 90%+ of unit tests coverage.

I am very proud of the result. Lots of things remain in the pipe for an even more amazing v3, but here you have: a complete set of easy-to-read and documented APIs to compute everything you need about the solar system. 

New Builtin Observatories: Hundreds and Counting…

It’s been a while now that I chose to make my app iObserve free for all (both on macOS and iPad) and to support it at the basic level (I know iObserve on iPad hasn’t received yet the update it deserves). If you don’t know why, you should read this.

But of course, it keeps thriving! And a lot of people use it! And one of the best channel I have to get a sense of how often it’s being used is the mails I receive to include new builtin observatories. Check this out only for this summer:

It is really warm feeling to see this. 

But if you follow this blog, you also know that I am developing arcsecond,io and that it has a dedicated observatories page, right?

Of course, the obvious thing to do is to plug arcsecond.io into iObserve to make it easier for everyone to contribute! And this is what I planned in the past to do, but in the v2.0 of iObserve… which is stalled, because I develop arcsecond.io. Arg! 

Enough cheating. This blog post is to announce I will develop an update of iObserve 1.6 to use the observatories in arcsecond.io. That is, I will not wait for v2 of iObserve. The tricky part is that the ObservatoryManager is something essential of the app, and I can’t develop this overnight. But enough said, and back to work!

 

 

Coming soon, a new Observing Sites page on arcsecond.io

I am actively working on arcsecond.io… and there is a lot going on behind the scene. One thing is new though: I start to enjoy front-end dev for the first time (you know, the mix of html, javascript and css), thanks to the excellent framework Vue.js.

Coming very soon, a brand new observing sites page! Stay tuned.

Closing sources of arcsecond.io… for now

I’ve decided to close the sources of arcsecond.io for now. It’s been quite a while since I started to think about it.

Two main reasons. First, the opening of the sources had strictly none of the expected effects, that is, to gather people around the project, even just a few. None. Second, arcsecond.io is a fairly large project, some said too much. And before I find a satisfactory plan of splitting / simplification / whatever, I prefer to make my business on my own.

However, if anyone is interested to really participate, I’ll be happy to include him as a member of the GitHub project.

The master plan of iObserve 2

I’ve read somewhere that good software takes 10 years. Ah yes, here, from someone who knows a fair bit about it. As you have read here, iObserve is 6 years old. And despite recent 1.5 update series (to finally release Sky Maps), the code definitely reaches a level where any true new feature is immediately flooded by the amount of work of refactoring, additional bug fixing, not talking about the weaknesses revealed by the new feature… 

 The new Sky Maps view.
The new Sky Maps view.

But iObserve is a master piece I don’t want to just let go (some people are good at letting it go, at some stage in their life – I trust my fear of getting bored to continue creating lots of stuff…). So I prepare the version 2 of that app. 

To do so, I am working on a collection of great stuff, some of them being mine, some of them inspired by others, or by participating to other projects. Here a list:

Siesta is a great framework to consume REST APIs. It will make the access, download, cache, storage and update of data a looooooot easier than the current code in iObserve 1.

• Of course, iObserve data is of absolute central importance in the app. Nowadays, it is downloaded from the various services with custom connectors for each of them (SIMBAD, ADS, JPL Horizon…). That’s why arcsecond.io has been built!

• The arcsecond.io is being foreseen to be a whole cloud service by itself. With user accounts and all that stuff. And it will be part of iObserve 2 chain of software. There are periods of time where I put efforts on iObserve itself. And there periods where I put efforts on arcsecond.io… Depends on the direction of the wind.

• The scientific part of iObserve is based on Jean Meeus’ textbook ‘Astronomical Algorithms‘. I’ve implemented part of it (available here, but not updated since exactly a year). But a lot more complete implementation has been developed in C++ by P.J. Naughter, called AA+, who let me write a wrapper for it. Thanks to recent efforts, I managed to bring the AA+ library to the Swift playgrounds! Nice to have little Solar Systems under your fingers. I will post example and movies as soon as it is stable. SwiftAA is open-source.

• An additional (and very important) part of scientific calculations is related to dates. Current implementation in iObserve is far from satisfactory. Hence, I’m helping improving the open-source project SwiftDate.

• In addition to that, I am preparing some useful UI components (all open-source) that can be used in pro apps like iObserve: tabs, jump bars, and split panes.

That’s all it takes for the foundations… 

Happy coding!

iObserve 1.5.0 submitted to the Store!

After a year a development! I can’t believe it has been so long. Well, if you read sometimes this blog, you’ll certainly know why. Many bugfixes and improvements. And quite some nice new features. First: Sky Maps! That is, a new plot where Equatorial, Galactic and Celestial coordinates can be plotted against each other. This is a feature originally requested by Thomas P. (so sorry for the lonnnng time it took to implement it). 

 An example of Sky Map with multiple objects selected.
An example of Sky Map with multiple objects selected.

Moreover, I’ve also added the Exoplanet Transits! Indeed, some of the exoplanets haveenough transit informations not only to indicate when it occurs, but also their duration. This is what I’ve added. And it is very easy to observe new transits since a list of the coming ones is provided. Click on one to automatically jump into the right night setup.

Many other improvements were made, among which the famous missing factor 15 in manual coordinates, and a brand new Coordinates converter.

First Release of KPCJumpBarControl

While working on iObserve 1.5 (I know, it has been more than 6 months! but you certainly know why), I prepare some small OSX libraries for the future… for instance, iObserve 2. Everything is going slowly, but very nicely. As usual, development at onekilopars.ec follows mostly my interest of the day. If it is web, it’s arcsecond.io. If it is app, it’s iObserve ans everything’s around.

Enough said: today’s release is about KPCJumpBarControl. A small UI component verrrry very useful, inspired from Xcode’s. 

Every component of the path is clickable, and reveal a menu giving access to other items of the same level, allowing therefore to explore and navigate across a tree of objects.

It’s open-source, and available on GitHub.

 

A world-wide community-curated list of all observing sites #arcsecond.io

Readers of this blog already know this page. But this time, it’s been a lot more interesting! Observing sites in arcsecond.io just got upgraded: you can now edit existing sites, and freely enter new ones yourself! It will be automatically be part of arcsecond.io data. Soon it will be used by iObserve, and will be completed with a lot more information. Our ambition it to follow the hierarchy down to the detectors… See what I mean? Observing Site > Telescopes > Instruments > Detectors… all available here, for everyone to share. Stay tuned!

 To create a new site, simply enter its name in the search field. Sites of similar names will be automatically appeared  as the others are filtered out. Then zoom the map to the right coordinates, and press the Create button!
To create a new site, simply enter its name in the search field. Sites of similar names will be automatically appeared  as the others are filtered out. Then zoom the map to the right coordinates, and press the Create button!
 The page of a single observing site. Every field is editable. It remains quite some work for quite some sites, as this one exemplifies! But it is very easy, and no worries to have, as every operation is recorded and can be reverted in case of a mistake. 
The page of a single observing site. Every field is editable. It remains quite some work for quite some sites, as this one exemplifies! But it is very easy, and no worries to have, as every operation is recorded and can be reverted in case of a mistake. 

P.S. Happy anniversary to the ISS! 15 years, you’re a young lady.

New website…

… for a better identity in this infinite space called Internet.

The old website wasn’t really satisfactory to me anyway. I intend to collect here not only the portfolio of apps I have developed, but also those I am developing, along with the open sources project I am involved in. 

I have tons of things in preparation (including things that are not software), but for now, that’s enough to show only what’s available. I am happy to start over, again. The framework offered by Squarespace looks pretty good for me to spend more time on content, and much less on configuration.

I know I’ve posted many picture of the La Silla Observatory, but here is another one, because I was there again just a month ago. Still a magic place.