Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Progress on AstroObserver for Android

I've been doing other little Android projects, but I'm still plugging away from time to time on AstroObserver. My little demo of scrolling and zooming the stars (40,000 stars, up to mag 8) is in the Android Market. Even though it doesn't do almost anything, it has a few downloads. Maybe it's relaxing to look at stars.

I've been grabbing code from the JAT project (using the version here, because the files I wanted therefrom had GPL2+ notices--though oddly some other files have an Apache notice, which is odd), and learning about UT1/UTC/TT, leap seconds, and other fun things. To keep myself motivated in the project, I think I want to keep on adding code to AstroRender while making sure it always builds, so I always have a working app. I tried starting with AstroTools code (I'll still probably use some of it) but after I made some changes, I had about 180 errors to fix, and I was finding it overwhelming.

I think the next thing I'll do is make AstroRender render for the current time.

I've been learning Java along the way. I'm an experienced C programmer, and a moderately experienced assembly programmer, but object oriented stuff is quite new to me. C++ was just becoming hot when I was finishing my undergraduate years, but at that time the PC compilers didn't produce very good code from C++, and I stuck with C (with occasional FORTRAN77 for some numerical computing code). I kind of like what you can do with objects. I'm going to have a bunch of instances of SkyCalculator subclasses, each of them getting update signals every "tick" (maybe every second?), but updating at different intervals (e.g., outer planets only need to update fairly rarely, every 12 hours for precession/nutation is fine, but some things need to happen every tick).

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