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Making Programming Easier

We'll be learning how to program microcontrollers in a new way in this chat. Bring your Arduino!

Friday, May 25, 2018 12:00 pm PDT Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Boian Mitov will be hosting the Hack Chat on Friday, May 25, 2018.

LINK TO CHAT ROOM

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Connecting hardware modules to Arduino and similar microcontrollers is easy and most makers have no problems doing it. Programming the controller to control those modules however has proven to be a challenge to many makers, and as result too many projects get abandoned.

A different approach to programing the modules in a very similar manner to connecting them to the hardware can help overcome this hurdle, and bring those projects to life.

In this chat, we'll be discussing methods to help make programing micro-controllers easier. Bring your Arduino! We'll do some examples.

@Boian Mitov is a software developer and founder of Mitov Software and Visuino. He  specialized in the areas of video, audio, Digital Signal Processing, data acquisition, industrial automation, communications, computer vision, artificial intelligence, parallel and distributed computing. He is a regular contributor to the Blaise Pascal Magazine.

Boian is the author of the OpenWire open source technology, the IGDI+ open source library, the VideoLab, SignalLab, AudioLab, PlotLab, InstrumentLab, VisionLab, IntelligenceLab, AnimationLab, LogicLab, CommunicationLab, and ControlLab libraries, OpenWire Studio, Visuino, and author of the “VCL for Visual C++” technology.

  • Transcript

    Lindy05/25/2018 at 20:13 0 comments

    Boian Mitov

    3:01 PM

    Hello @Lindy Thank you for organizing this :-)

    In the meantime, you can all put your questions here > https://hackaday.io/event/158266-making-programming-easier and @Boian Mitov could give us an introduction?

    Stephen Tranovich

    3:02 PM

    Yeah, thanks for hosting this one, Lindy!

    Tx_Flashjoined the room.

    3:02 PM

    Boian Mitov

    3:02 PM

    Well... to make the story short... I am very lazy person :-D

    Boian Mitov

    3:03 PM

    So I don't like to spend a lot of time writing code if I can do it easier :-D

    Boian Mitov

    3:03 PM

    So I have this constant drive to find ways to program stuff easier, faster and with less maintenance

    RoGeorge

    3:03 PM

    Making programming easier: Breed better humans!

    :o)

    Boian Mitov

    3:03 PM

    :-D

    Boian Mitov

    3:04 PM

    I mean I am very frustrated with the general state of the SW industry

    Andrew Davisjoined the room.

    3:04 PM

    Boian Mitov

    3:04 PM

    We are still using programming methods that are now I think over 200 years old

    Boian Mitov

    3:05 PM

    We need to find better ways, especially with the rapidly changing and evolving world of "computing"

    Christopher Bero

    3:05 PM

    Something being old doesn't make it bad

    Boian Mitov

    3:05 PM

    and when I say "computing" I do not mean only CPUs

    Boian Mitov

    3:05 PM

    but GPS, FPGAs as well as clusters, and clouds

    Non-ICE

    3:05 PM

    python code publishe

    Non-ICE

    3:05 PM

    d

    Boian Mitov

    3:06 PM

    so this is the short story :-D

    Great! We're super excited to have you. We'll get started with some questions.

    Boian Mitov

    3:07 PM

    Than you! :-)

    19-rsn-007joined the room.

    3:07 PM

    Question from @Stephen Tranovich "Are there any problems or algorithms which lend themselves more readily to visual programming versus tradition text based programming? Are there any problem or algorithm types which are more challenging to tackle with visual programming?"

    Boian Mitov

    3:08 PM

    Well... there are no problems that can't be solved easier with graphical programming, but I hate the word "algorithm"

    Boian Mitov

    3:08 PM

    algorithms are sequential by nature and very inefficient for modern computing

    Boian Mitov

    3:08 PM

    I think they should be banned at some point :-D

    Boian Mitov

    3:08 PM

    I avoid using algorithms as much as I can

    Stephen Tranovich

    3:09 PM

    hah!

    Boian Mitov

    3:09 PM

    even in text based programming I almost never use algorithms any more

    Non-ICE

    3:09 PM

    thats easy, just boss other people around to write your code

    Boian Mitov

    3:09 PM

    :-D

    Boian Mitov

    3:09 PM

    I like writing my own code ;-)

    anfractuosity

    3:10 PM

    i thought algorithm is just a fairly generic term? which would encompass serial/parallel solutions?

    Boian Mitov

    3:10 PM

    if someone else writes it with algorithm it will be slow and inefficient

    Boian Mitov

    3:10 PM

    no, algorithm is specific to sequential execution, at least in contemporary terminology

    Stephen Tranovich

    3:11 PM

    I thought it was a generic term as well, whoopsies

    anfractuosity

    3:11 PM

    are you sure, as people talk about quantum algorithms etc. too

    Boian Mitov

    ... Read more »

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Discussions

salec wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:55 point

How do you handle the process - cooperation of the development team, versions, diffs, breakdown of complex projects? How do you ensure that you don't have to repeat yourself in diagrams?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Liam Kennedy wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:54 point

Could you show a block querying a web API and then how that displays something to the OLED?

  Are you sure? yes | no

nwmaker wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:36 point

How does Visuino get the board specifics?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lutetium wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:33 point

It sounds like Visuino can support a variety of hardware. What is the process for configuring your hardware situation like?

  Are you sure? yes | no

leb9049 wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:32 point

There are many ways to achieve the same thing in programming, the “pulse generator” for example, I would implement this differently depending on other requirements and resources needed for a projects as well as how accurately I need these pulse. If I have a hardware timer available and really need some accurate pulses I'd use that. It seems like any abstraction layer, even the layer that the Arduino IDE provides allows you to gloss over some details, which can be handy, but I’ve seen many people that didn’t knowing what is going on under the hood with an arduino go to a lot of trouble to implement something when one layer down it would have been a lot easier, simpler, and quicker to solve.

Is there a way to dig deeper when it's required or are you stuck in the sandbox?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lutetium wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:31 point

Can Visuino be used for any Arduino based boards? 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Liam Kennedy wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:31 point

Just checking how Visuino supports boards/add-ons (like OLED displays).. do YOU build all the libraries to support programming for that?  If that's the way it works - how do we find out which boards/components are supported?

  Are you sure? yes | no

anfractuosity wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:25 point

Is visuino closed source, I couldn't seem to tell? 
Also I assume it generates code that is then compiled, is it using C/C++ for that?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Stephen Tranovich wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:21 point

So Visuino takes blocks, translates it into embedded C or Arduino language and uploads that info to the Arduino? I suppose my question is: Is Visuino built "on top" of the traditional coding languages and therefore has to be translated back to them before it is used?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Liam Kennedy wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:12 point

As someone who is new to the Arduino world.. who wants to get in to ESP8266 / ESP32 can you give me any "newbie" tips to getting in to that world with Visuino?  I'm looking to query web api's (JSON) and display stuff on attached OLED displays and flash "neopixel" RGBs.  I have some basics working using the OLD paradigm (Arduino IDE).. so interested how quickly I can jump to YOUR method

  Are you sure? yes | no

Stephen Tranovich wrote 05/25/2018 at 19:01 point

Are there any problems or algorithms which lend themselves more readily to visual programming versus tradition text based programming? Are there any problem or algorithm types which are more challenging to tackle with visual programming?

  Are you sure? yes | no

[SF] Pigeon Kicker -- AkA James Ryan wrote 05/24/2018 at 20:59 point

Being an "Old School" computer programmer from the 80's, I at first had a hard time making the switch to Visuino from coding C++.  I had spent countless hours of research, editing code, abandoning projects, and rewriting code to produce a feasible balancing robot.  After learning the C++, and getting it to work, I finally put my efforts into figuring out the visual programming way of things.  I literally had the robot working in about 45 minutes from the start, this was after the 6 months of code writing and learning.  Now that is what i call a worthwhile event,  Don't get me wrong, i still lean on the code sometimes to make things work, But to be able to sit down without ever putting one component into the sketch and have it done so quickly was a fabulous turn of events for not only myself, but my son.  He is learning some basic code work in school, and he also was able to do more with Visuino than he could ever even think of before.

I guess the hardest part of it was changing my way of thinking about it all, I picture it from "Inside the box" now, looking out from the micro-controller, not from the outside in.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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