A little bit delays, but as always the summary of last year. Due to personal circumstances I have only little time for these things and also not much mood. I hope this will clear up through out the year.
But back to the review. The year started as claimed in the last summary suggested. The MUI-LCL was accepted to the official Lazarus repository and also did some (little) improvements of it. Sadly I always hit the border what MUI can do so not much advance here.
Charlie improved FreePascal and Frank Wille improved vasm and vlink to support section linking for the Amiga Platforms. This decreases the file size very much. Finally vlink and vasm became the default assembler and linker for Amiga68k, MorphOS and AmigaOS4
FPC for Amiga systems got it’s own Subforum at Amigacoding.de and in the beginning there were some discussion, sadly it slept in again.
Over the easter holidays I was on a trip, and I took my raspberry pi with an attached touchscreen and keyboard with me. Of course with AROS arm installed. Therefore I was able to code at the evenings in the hotel. I started to make a new approach for Mapparium. Mapparium is a nice program (I use it mainly to depict my bicycle tours recorded with my GPS device or iPhone) but the GUI ist still rather clumsy because MUI/Zune does not like this direct placement of positions. On a native 68k Amiga it become very slow because of this huge LCL Layer. I decided to write a native MUI/Zune application, as I did before the ZuPaPlayer, again to learn a little bit how to code MUI and also to fix some serious problems I found in Mapparium. The New Version is called MUIMappariumandwentthrough several releases until the current 0.5 release. MUIMapparium got an own Release page. It still does not have the same feature set as the LCL Mapparium but it works much more smooth, really nice even on a native 68k Amiga especially on a Amiga 600 with Vampire.
Speaking of Vampire, I bought a complete Amiga 600 with a Vampire V2 card, really nice piece of hardware. Very fast (the card just keep popping away from the chip where it should be attached). The only drawback is, that there is no FPU included in the FPGA emulation (so it’s more like a 68030/68020 than a 68040/68060 which has built in FPU). For my programs thats not a big problem, there is a SoftFloat option in FreePascal and it works really well. I never thought about the speed of that routines. Yes, I knew they are much slower than a native FPU calculation but I had no idea how much. Later someone released a FPU-emulation software femu which improved the situation a lot. But still a lot to improve there. I heard that the next released core should have included some more basic FPU function and the femu is somehow more connected to the FPGA. I guess they build a way to prevent the Trap which appears on every unknown FPU command and eats up a lot of time. But I have no idea if this is true and this will ever be released, In fact I doubt it a little bit, seems the whole project is sleeping or so. Just to depict that core releases from Vampire:
That means the last FPGA core release was almost a year before, and Screens/Show offs of the coming Gold 2.7 or Gold 3 are there since several month already but no sign of an actual release. (to be complete, there is a Gold 2.5 release, but there the FPGA core is not changed, same build number)
My Blizzard 1260 broke and I send it to repair, (sadly still unknown whats exactly wrong, MACH chips? I have no knowledge about such stuff). For the time without a proper turbocard for my A1200 I bought a Blizzard 1230IV which works very nicely. An other thing the Vampire is missing, is an MMU (at least an Motorola compatible MMU) so until now Linux or NetBSD will not work on Vampire Amiga. But on this Blizzard 1230 it runs… even very slow of course. I did some qemu-m68k stuff on my home server to let some automatic tests run of the freepascal 68k compiler Charlie is improving the whole time. My plan was to also try it on a real Amiga with Linux. Nice, but it really needs ages to do something like compile or install stuff. Maybe when my Blizzard 1260 is back I will try that again.
To keep the enemies separated I kept the Atari online compiler on a different page. Both are still nicely in use by some people.
Currently I try to find some motivation to continue on the MUIMapparium stuff. I already improved it a lot, especially the route finding stuff but it’s still not ready to release. in FPC I was working on the basic threading stuff, like events which were still missing. It was triggered by a change in the FCL package but need the event functionality. It still needs improvement.
Finally found some motivation to work on the route display not so difficult at all. But the search for the route I need to think a little bit more. Until now it only shows the saved orders. On double click it jumps to there and also shows the described route points in a different color. That should be ok for now.
Due to user wishes one can now change the color of each track and route individually, which is also saved to the GPX File. Routes and Tracks in GPX have an extension area where you can add own properties without violating the GPX format, which is very nice. The Routes and Track property window have now a Color Button next to the Name to choose the color of the feature (you have to save that before the change is visible in the map).
In principle it would be nice to have the color next to the name in the Track/Route List as a little colored square (like I did for track plot axes). But I’m not sure if and how that is possible at all for such a list, without creating a selfdrawn one.
Besides that I implemented that MUIMapparium remembers the position and open status of the Statistics window, seems some user like to keep it always open to observe the loading status or something like this.
Do you read journals…? I’m not. I seldom read such things and if it happens then science related. But there is still an Amiga related journal the Amiga Future. I saw it once or twice at the Amiga meeting here in Berlin but never actually cared about. But maybe the next issue would be something worth to buy 😉 Especially the one article which already has a preview there.
I decided to release the next Version of MUIMapparium even not all features are finished as I planed just to get the bugfixes out. Routes (calculated directions) can be loaded from GPX and showed on map. But I did not implement the route finding and direction command showing until now. Especially the Track curve plot was still very buggy, and of course I described in a previous blog post the pixel to position calculation which is now much better, much more precise but also much slower than before, with FPU it does not make big difference, but with SoftFloat not really funny. Routes and Tracks are now pre-calculated for the current zoom level. If the zoom level is very small and the track therefore not really good to see, only some pixels wide, it does only paint some points of it, which makes the overviews much faster. Still, with SoftFPU on 68k it still will be too slow if you have some Tracks/Routes. The drawing of Tracks/Marker/Routes can be completely switched off in Menu or buy a FPU 🙂 The package for Amiga68k does contain a FPU and Non-FPU.
I also created a little GPX file with a Track, some Markers and a Route to test the features. (Even you can use any GPX/KML/KMZ/FIT File you can find on the Internet as well)
Bugfix: imperial units
Bugfix: key mapping
Bugfix: 2nd track curve drawing
Bugfix: Date/Time loading from GPX,KML,KMZ files
Level of Detail for Tracks
Precalculation of Trackpositions (Speed optimization for NonFPU systems)
Marker in Plot, shows also a marker in the Track
Turn off Marker, Track and Route drawing via Menu
Define Directory for Images via ToolTypes: e.g. DATAPATH=DH1:TmpDir
Change find IP to freegeoip.net (old one is too slow currently)
Working again a little bit on MUIMapparium. I want to include some more features before the next Release 0.5. I included marker for the plot which is then also shown as little triangle in the map. I’m not really satisfied with the colors and visibility of the current open track and marker for the point maybe I get a better solution later. The marker is atm. only one pixel wide, in principle it would be possible to make it 2 pixel or 3 pixel, but that looked a little bit too massive.
MUIMapparium with Track Marker
Another thing I wanted to include for the next version are calculated routes and maybe also photos with EXIF tags. If this is done MUIMapparium has the same Featureset as Mapparium, even a little bit more. I started with Routes which is not very difficult, some routines even can be reused from tracks drawing and so on. It only loads tracks from gpx files currently (created by Mapparium for example). The creation of a new route will be the next step.
MUIMapparium with a Route
Also visible in the image is the new possibility to disable all Marker, Tracks and Route drawing. Helpful if you have many items and want to concentrate on the Map or so (or just to increase the speed).
The compilation speed is much faster as a native compilation.
On MorphOS it runs much better of course the MorphOS OWB is even capable to show the editor, very nice.
It’s a little bit slow because it’s recorded via VNC, in reality it feels rather fast.
AROS was a little bit of disappointment for me. I downloaded the latest Icaros 2.2 especially to test this webpage. But sadly the editor does not show up. No Error message shown. I guess it’s some missing font problem, because when I change the theme the background color changes, only the text is not visible. It’s a pity. I had to switch to the old Browser interface which works nicely but I expected more.
Working more on the Trackview to show the height and speed track, added a simple Popup Menu and a Data Reader. In the beginning I wanted to use the Bubble function of MUI to show the coordinates, but it flickers like hell if you move it over the map (because you have to destroy and recreate every time) and it makes very bad redrawing errors. On AROS for example when the bubble is over an other part of the window, the background behind it will not repaint, when the bubble disappear. On Amiga the background of the window is visible on the edges instead of my curve background. Also added a fine grid for better visibility of Values and heights, still fixed but maybe later can be disabled via menu.
I implemented a on screen (on-map) menu for zooming and to show the side panel, so do not need use the menu. I did that already for Mapparium but there only released for the special ARM version. There is also a key control available, the + and – keys can be used for zooms and cursor keys for movement.
I guess it will need one or two more version for MUIMapparium to reach the features of Mapparium but I guess it will be MUIMapparium will takes the Mapparium place (and Name) in the end.
Still playing with locale settings on Amiga systems. FreePascal offer a possibility to care about international settings like decimalseparator, date formats and currency symbol. So I looked a little bit into and the system is comparable, still much work, so I’m not sure if really put to every start of a program, or maybe it would be better to put it to a separate unit and you have to include and invoke it by hand. We will discuss that.
Testprogram with Germany, USA and UK Locale Setting
Starting the same test program 3 times and changed the Locale Country setting in between. (For me rather funny that the currency format for positive and negative Values are so different not so nice if you have them in a table) But so far it works very nicely.
LCL has powerful packages for example the Chart component (or the Edit component with Highlighter). MUI already have some, but not so powerful and not available for all platforms (especially ARM-AROS and AROS64). I try to keep on the included basic classes to keep it compatible.
I used the very powerful TAChart component in Mapparium to show the Height/Speed trace of a track. Of course for MUIMapparium I also want to have that, so I started to implement a plot class for MUI. Not so powerful but already very nice with two Y-Axes, Zoom and Autoscale.
MUI Plot component start
It already works rather nicely, as first approach can be used like this.
I designed it already in a very abstract way in principle a TPaintBox for MUI and based on that the Plot class, that means I can use them in other programs as well.