Thursday, 26 September 2013

A Status Update

The eagle-eyed will have noticed that I have not updated this blog for several weeks. For this I apologise.

The evil-minded will probably have suspected that I have thrown in the towel, and have moved on to better things. They are wrong, I have been very busy, fighting on two fronts.

I spent quite a bit of time porting Landed and LandedSettings to the new Sailfish Alpha 2 (Qt 5.x), and was on the point of writing an article on the lessons learned when I went on holiday to Greece.

And then it happened: For the second time this year I found myself under a SAR helicopter on a mountain as darkness approached, and was able to use the "Help Me!" functionality of Landed.

The first time was early this year in deep snow on a steep mountain in Switzerland. I was the unfortunate soul who needed extraction. Immediately afterwards I added the torch functionality, allowing the user to flash the camera flash led to a searching helicopter.

The second time happened during our paragliding holiday in Greece. A colleague was unfortunate enough to crash into the side of a mountain, and needed recovery. Once we had got to the crash site over very terrain that would challenge a mountain goat I was able to use Landed to communicate the GPS coordinate. Then once the EMAK mountain rescue had arrived and the Hellenic Airforce SuperPuma was approaching in the gathering darkness I could use the newly added torch functionality to signal exactly where we were on the mountainside to the pilot. (b.t.w, full congratulations to EMAK6 and 112PM / 384MED for their highly professional work).

In the week that followed I made a host of minor improvements, and completed some unfinished functionality: all intended to make Landed even easier and flexible to use in a stressful situation. As an example Landed now automatically choses the closest group / location (on the mountain mine was still set to Switzerland). Naturally I made these changes to the Harmattan version - the one that was actually on my real-life phone.

Which brings me to versions, or flavours.

While with the Sailfish Alpha 1 I was able to use an identical code base for both Harmattan and Sailfish thanks to AbstractUI, I had not yet succeeded in doing so with the new Sailfish Alpha 2.

This meant that I had 2 versions, the original Harmattan / Alpha 1, and a ported to Sailfish Alpha 2. The versions were very similar, with the differences in clearly identifiable places, and I was working on re-establishing a common code base when the second hell incident happened, and I added new functionality to the Harmattan / Sailfish Alpha 1 version.

The latest version of the Harmattan / Sailfish Alpha 1 version of Landed22 is posted to Github here:

In the next days and weeks I will:

a) back-port the latest Landed22 functionality to the Sailfish Alpha 2 migrated version, or report Landed22 to Sailfish Alpha 2 (which may be easier).

b) post an article here on porting from Sailfish Alpha 1 to Sailfish Alpha 2. What is easy, and what were the challenges I faced.

c) workout how to re-establish a single (or near-single) codebase for Harmattan and Sailfish Alpha 2 - and post here how this can be achieved (or not if not possible).

d) post an article here on using rsync to deploy AbstractUI to the Nokia N9 in a similar way that I do to the Sailfish Emulator.

e) continue completing Landed and LandedSettings core functionality so that these can be used by others.


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