Announcing OpenVDM v2.1RC

openVDM_LogoV2_1_longWell after a few intense weeks of coding I think I’ve got a good release candidate for the next incremental version of OpenVDMv2… v2.1RC.  To learn more about what’s been added/changed… read on.

So what’s new in OpenVDM v2.1?

In terms of functionality… not much.  This release was really about polishing what was already there and simplifying OpenVDM’s installation and updates.

The new version is posted on the GitHub site, just be sure to select the 2.1 branch.  Once this code base has some more hours of use at-sea I plan to officially tag it as v2.1 and merge it back into the master branch.

Import OpenVDM

First off I’ve developed a python-based OpenVDM package and rewrote all the OpenVDM processes to use it.  This has resulted in much cleaner code and better code reuse.  Having this python package will also help vessel operators develop their own ship-specific software able to leverage the OpenVDM API.

I still need to better document this package and plan to do so using one of the standard python self-documenting packages (recommendations welcomed).

Hook’em

The hooks architecture has now been mostly implemented.  This is a really exciting feature within OpenVDM.  It will allow vessel operator’s to leverage OpenVDM for triggering other processes like start-of-cruise scripts on remote machines, automated data processing that starts when new data arrives and end-of-cruise clean-up scripts running on remote machines.

YAML-formatted Configuration Files

Wherever possible I have removed hard-coded configuration data from the code base and moved that information to YAML-formatted configuration files.  This will dramatically simplify the install process by placing all the vessel-specific configuration in just a few files.

One big piece of functionality that has been moved to YAML is layout of the data dashboard.  While I’m sure the implementation is incomplete (I’m just waiting for someone to break it) it is working.  In fact the data dashboard on the demo site is now completely built using one configuration file!  This new architecture should allow vessel operators to build and alter their data dashboard on the fly without having to write any code!

Joining the Web Development 2.0 Movement

After a lot of reading howto articles on modern web-development approaches I have successfully integrated the OpenVDM web-application with composer and bower.  While it took a bit of reworking the OpenVDM code, this modern approach should play huge dividends moving forward.  Basically these two projects will help update all the various css and javascript libraries that OpenVDM leverages as well as all of the library’s dependencies.  This in-turn keeps the OpenVDM user experience enjoyable and makes that glorious data shine!

Bug Fixes

Hey nobody’s perfect and when the users of OpenVDM tell me there’s a problem I do my best to resolve the issue.  Everything I was aware of that was broken has been fixed (go ahead… prove me wrong).

Users Wanted

I had a great time at the Ocean Sciences 2016 meeting in New Orleans and had some great conversations with folks.  I’d be thrilled to see any/all of those conversations lead to new users.  If you think you might be interested but are unsure if/how OpenVDM could help manage data on your vessel, please don’t hesitate to contact me at oceandatarat (at) gmail (dot) com.

Developers Wanted

The interest in OpenVDM at Ocean Sciences was great but it made me realized how I really need to start building a core group of OpenVDM maintainers (developers).  This isn’t a (paying) job but if you have any skills with html, css, javascript, and/or python and want to make OpenVDM even better please let me know.  Who knows how far OpenVDM can go with a dedicated team of datarats behind it.

Cheers,
-Webb

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