[r-t] languages for ringing software (from ringing-theory Digest, Vol 133, Issue 19, msg 3)
dougboniface20 at gmail.com
Mon Nov 30 13:27:17 UTC 2015
On Saturday Alexander Holroyd asked what languages people used for writing ringing software and why. Some respondents have given some interesting technical comments but mine are of a more domestic nature
Initially, like many of my generation, I started writing ringing software using BASIC. When I got my first PC equivalent (Amstrad 1512) I swapped to C (no C++ in those days). I tried several other languages and for a while I settled on PERL. When you are searching for patterns and manipulating text I found PERL's regular expression processor second to none in terms of ease of use and compactness of expression. Also there is a Tk module available for when graphical elements are required and, for the sort of things I was writing, speed was never an issue.
When I retired I decided to use a ringing project as a vehicle for learning Python and produced a program with some simple animations to assist when explaining aspects of method ringing to novices.
This was fine but I found Python's regEx format a little cumbersome compared to PERL. Also it meant that I had to carry my laptop to anywhere I thought the software might be needed so, when my mobile phone needed replacing, I went for a model with a screen large enough to display what I needed but small enough to fit in my pocket. I selected an iPhone 6 Plus.
To write an app for the phone I started learning objective C but was recommended to swap to Swift. By the time I'd got sufficiently to grips with Swift, the licensing terms had changed. I could still develop for free but, even for private use, I would need to pay $99 a year for something I could download to the phone.
To avoid problems where there was no wi-fi or signal for my phone I downloaded the files to my phone whilst at home via Dropbox and used a document reading app called 'Documents' from a company called Readdle. As a result I can now run these programs anywhere in the world. There are probably better ways of avoiding signal problems but this was the first I thought of, its easy to use and so I didn't bother looking for anything else.
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