Le silence est d’or…

Dear iObserve users, not many news over here for some time. iObserve 1.5 is still downloaded quite many times every week (reaching 12.5k total downloads!). I can see that some of you send me new observatories. I’ll find some time to create an update of that bunch of new observatories.

Apart from that, I’ve been able to re-compile and re-run iObserve Touch on an iPad with iOS 9.3. And that’s nice, because it wasn’t so easy with the amount of code involved here and there. So maybe I could find some time for a little update as well. It reached almost 6k downloads by itself, wow!

On the other side, I’m a bit busy with new stuff. Most of which is the decomposition of iObserve code into little frameworks (for instance: https://github.com/onekiloparsec/KPCTabsControl). But also scientific ones!

In particular, I am preparing a Swift playground with the best astronomical algorithms in town. The code will be good for developers, for iObserve2, but the Playground could be interesting to teachers! Check it out here the on-going work: https://github.com/onekiloparsec/SwiftAA

Talking about iObserve 2, I continue to develop things in preparation of it. Among which… arcsecond.io! And its SDK (I started with Swift, but javascript will also come soon… <hum, hopefully>). I take the occasion to say that arcsecond.io is open-source, and you can contribute!

Interestingly, this all-code activity is a kind of rest for me. At my startup job, I spend the day interacting with tons of new people (and it’s really great!). So it’s nice to interact with computers a bit. 🙂 

Ongoing projects status…

Too much heat these days here… (it’s midnight, and I am coding in my terrasse…). And I need to make a quick summary of what’s going on @ onekilopars.ec… 

First, and foremost, iObserve. An update version in the 1.4 serie is in preparation. It will include some usual small fixes, one clear usability fix for the Fluxes converter, and more importantly an important improvement to the Coordinates converter. No more loading the full DB. An import/export will replace it. Since it is not the most fun to write, it takes a bit of time. Thanks however to some recent input from a user, I’ll try to also include exoplanets transit times in Airmass and Visibility Plots.

Some of the fixes of iObserve will probably need to be ported to iObserve Touch on iPad. The problem here is that the whole app needs to be updated (again). Apple is always moving forward, and I made a choice for that app long ago that prevent me to go a lot further today (buhhh). Yes, MultiTasking won’t be possible with the current configuration (with that super-cool-awesome-but-very-custom split view controller allowing you to have a master table – with tabs! – in the left, the detail on the right, a top times bar, and the whole master thing wrapped up in a popover when being in portrait). The planning for this is: Undefined, unfortunately, even if it is fun to adopt more recent technologies.

Next, the iObserve 2 story… The Desktop client is well underway. I have multiple-windows, and a lot more power features for big screens. But I wanted 2 major stuff for iObserve 2: a dedicated backend, and some advanced algorithms for planets (and not only Moon as I have today).

The backend is in preparation… but guess what, along the way, I found it very interesting and it opens tons of new possibilities. It is in a very pre-alpha state, and it will be called … arcsecond.io. It is very unstable, as I am struggling a bit with the Django-Python-HTML-Bootstrap-Heroku-Postgres stack. But I am actually pushing code now and then into the repo.

As for the algorithms, the obvious reference is Jean Meeus’ Astronomical Algorithms textbook. I have a copy of the book. And I implemented some of it. But there is an existing implementation that is a lot more complete than mine, and a lot more tested. It’s called AA+, by P.J. Naughter. After some discussion he agreed for letting me put hist code into a GitHub open-source repo, for me to write an Objective-C wrapper… which became actually a Swift wrapper! It’s open-source, so have a look!

Of course, putting my hands into Swift, I thought I could do some interesting stuff with it. And one very nice ESO guy suggested me to write an app for monitoring the ESO archive live, every night. That’s a great occasion to start a new app with all the amazing new stuff iOS8 introduced. So here it will be: SkyDataFlows.

Of course, to read correctly the ESO DB, one must parse the VOTable output. And there is no VOTable parser written in Swift… so here it is! SwiftVOTable, open-source, boum.

And beside this, waiting, is my iTiunes-For-FITS file app (which benefits from the progress of the development of iObserve 2), and some other web projects with a friend of mine. Dev is a lifestyle, a mental life with ups and down! #yeah

Enable App Analytics on your iPad!

The good news of the day is of course the release of iObserve for iPad version 1.1. And it brought me back to iTunesConnect, the service by Apple that is used by developers to submit and manage their apps. Below some screenshots to see what it is looking like.

And I noticed that for iObserve on iPad, I couldn’t get any analytics (which are totally anonymous by the way, and needless to say). The little popup indicates that only 19% of users actually opt-in for analytics in their device. It would be nice if you do so! It helps a lot for understanding the usage of the app. As usual, feedback is of tremendous importance for a developer. And this is a kind of (tech) feedback, free of efforts for you. So next time you are asked to choose, consider answering yes! Thanks in advance!