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Re: [Orekit Developers] [SOCIS 2011] improved specifications

Le 04/08/2011 15:06, Alexis ROBERT a écrit :
> On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 12:05 PM, Luc Maisonobe <Luc.Maisonobe@c-s.fr> wrote:
>> Hi Alexis,
> Hi,
>> Here are some improved specifications for the android application. It is
>> a work in progress and we ask you to review them, help defining the
>> right choices and organize them in a few work packages, hopefully with
>> some estimated schedule.
> Thanks :)
> I'm currently thinking on how I can architect the whole thing without
> duplicating code and making sure it will work both on tablets and
> phones (which is what I understood you want), and how I can make the
> UI.

Yes, this is what we want.

> I may have some troubles to test things on the tablet emulator
> currently since the Android 3.0 emulator runs veryyyyyy sloooooow on
> my computer and almost unusable, but I will try to get one when I
> receive the first payment (even if I sell it after the SOCIS). But in
> the meantime I can still work on the smartphone version and design it
> to make it adaptable for tablets, it will be only some minor code to
> write :)

Don't worry about Android 3.0 yet. Many existing tablets (and the one we
have available now) do run Android 2.2 despite it was designed for
phones and not tablets. So the main difference is screen size.

>> From a functional point of view, the application should allow the user
>> to select between a few separate functions:
>>  - orbits conversions
>>     (Keplerian, circular, equinoctial, Cartesian)
>>  - frames conversions
>>     (position/velocity, with Orekit predefined frames)
>>  - dates conversions
>>     (Orekit predefined time scales)
>>  - events detection
>>     (ground stations, eclipses, apogee/perigee, node ...)
>>  - impulse maneuver computation
>>     (velocity increment in any frame, including local orbital frames)
>>  - orbit visualizing
>>     (2D on a map, with ground track and sensors footprints)
>>  - attitude visualizing
>>     (3D-wireframe unit sphere with axes, planes and angles toggling)
> That seems ok for me, except maybe the attitude visualizing part
> because I never used OpenGL or did 3D on Android, and orbit
> visualizing because I didn't do any custom 2D drawing too on Android
> but if I have spare time at the end I could try :) (and I know where
> to find the resources to learn)
> I think I would group this in :
> 1. Frames + Dates conversions (in order to put the basics of the
> Android app -- I've explained how I planned to architect it in the end
> of the mail)
> 2. Orbit conversion + Impulse maneuver computation + events detection
> 3. Adapt it on tablets
> 4. Other tasks (like all the dataset management and so on)
> 5. If they apply, running time optimizations tasks would be nice to do
> here (as I put this in my original proposition, it would not be nice
> to forget this :) )

Yes, sorry about that. It is important and you were right to raise this

> 6. Orbit visualizing + Attitude visualizing
> I'm totally certain that if I put a time schedule, it would be wrong
> :)

Welcome to the real world of wrong estimates ;-)
We know this ...

> But I think I will be able to finish the 1st task in 2-3 days, and
> I think the second task could take a week. The 3rd task could take 1
> to 2 days. I don't currently know about the others.

Lets start with this three first tasks.

>> From a data point of view, the application should be able to use updated
>> data sets (copying files to SD-card is fine). For first users setup,
>> having a default initial set of data installed when the application is
>> installed is mandatory.
> So you mean that you prefer to embed a dataset in the final .apk and
> let the user select a custom apk if he wants. Ok :)

I'm not sure it's an apk. As I understand, the application is in an apk
and it can read files (or zip archives). So as the user installs the
application, he/she installs an apk and "magically" get an initial data
set. this initial set may be embedded in the apk, but then it would be
cumbersome if later one the user wants to customize this data set.
Another point is that customization should be simple, i.e. user should
simply drop the files on the sdcard without fancy packaging.

Is it possible to split the application as one apk for the code and a
separate data set and have both installed automatically ? Another
possibility would be to have the application without data but a button
"download initial data set from Orekit web site" that the user would
need to press. This is less than ideal (I would prefer the user to be
able to start immediately after application installation), but could be

>> If some functions can process TLE data, then
>> downloading TLE from the net should be possible. User should also be
>> able to store some data they use frequently (typically station
>> coordinates or orbits) and select them from drop lists. Users should be
>> able to manually edit the parameters and store them for later reuse.
>> When setting up an orbit, users should be able to use any supported type
>> (i.e. they can input an orbit in Keplerian, circular, equinoctial or
>> Cartesian parameters at will). For ground point definition, if the
>> device supports it the current rough location should be available for use.
> That's ok. I thought about how I could make the parameters forms
> without duplicating code and so on and that's what I currently aim to
> do :
> In Android if you want to open a window you don't instanciate the
> class and make instance.show(). You tell that this class (which
> extends Activity) will be in charge of an Intent. An Intent is
> basically a query, you can add parameters, and even Serializable
> objects, and it can return a value.
> So if you want to open the window, you tell the Android API you want
> somebody to answer the intent "org.orekit.SELECT_FRAME" (you can force
> the class too if you want) and the Android system will browse all the
> installed application to see if there is a program which accepts this
> intent, instanciates the class, give it the query by a RPC mechanism,
> and return the result using RPCs. That method is very powerful because
> a user can build an app listening for "org.orekit.SELECT_FRAME" and
> build its own frame selector and the Android system will show a dialog
> box asking the user which one he wants. That's how you can change a
> lot of parts of the Android platform with your custom program.

If I understand correctly, it is a highly modularized system were
applications are themselves split in different modules launched
independently and automatically by the OS as request are made. Did I
understand correctly ?

> The idea is to port the idea of what has been done in the testapp with
> promptFrame() and promptDate() and make it separate Activities in the
> Android app, listening to "org.orekit.SELECT_FRAME" for instance. This
> would launch a window where the user can select a frame, this window
> will be in charge of reading saved settings and so on, and this window
> will return the Frame (as Frame implements serializable) through the
> Android RPC system to the original window. Doing so with the other
> part of the settings which reduce the amount of code duplicated
> between the different part of the app.

OK. Beware of serialization for Frame, as some frame involve huge
amounts of data. Earth frames for example come with tremendous series of
small harmonic effects, plus reference to correction data that are
precisely what is in the data set mentioned above.

Perhaps the select frame should simply return a proxy object, or even
simply the "Predefined" enum, so the application get the frame from this
key thanks to the Frames factory.

For AbsoluteDates, there are no problems, they are simple objects.

Orbits may be difficult too, as orbits contain references to frames ...
Here again, we may need some custom proxy object.

> So, when these promptFrame, promptDate, ...-like activities will be
> done, it will be very easy to enable the user to choose a parameter.

As I understand, it will also allow smooth evolution of the application,
with simple UI first and enhanced UI if needed later.

> For instance a promptTLE-like activity could be in charge of
> downloading TLE from the Internet, let the user choose and so on, and
> would be called by a promptOrbit-like activity which would be called
> by the parameter window the event definition for instance, etc...
> It would be the same idea to pass the data from the parameters
> activity to the result/computation activity (by embedding the
> parameters in the intent) and so on. I also figured out a lot of parts
> of how to build the app according to your list. That means that if you
> agree on what I say, I just need to rapidly sketch the UI on paper
> (and I'd finish this by the end of the day) just to see if I didn't
> forgot anything and if everything is ok I can start the actual Android
> development tomorrow :)

Yes, I think we agree on the main points.

best regards,

>> best regards,
>> Luc and Pascal
> By the way, I posted the tutorial you asked me yesterday on the wiki :
> https://www.orekit.org/forge/projects/socis-2011/wiki/HowToBuildToAndroid
> I hope this is what you wanted :)
> Alexis