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Software Development (Open Source)
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someshwar ganti
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:25 am    Post subject: Software Development (Open Source) Reply with quote

Hi Sanjeev,

In the "Special Interest Group" if you can Add Software Development for Civil Engineers and that development SHOULD be an open source, I feel lot of people will be benefited with such software (though there may be very few takers to develop the software, but even 1 or 2 programmers are sufficient  provided we get some input help from the other members of the forum)

I am willing to take up the responsibility to monitor few Open Source projects if somebody is willing to join hands with me.

As I have seen many of them are interested in getting summary of STAAD Analysis file, perhaps we can begin with that program.

There is a topic with this request "summary sheet from staad" i have called in for programmers but I do not see much help comming there

we can try by putting this in a different group, that way we may help the community better through a open source code.
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abhio
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Joined: 08 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Er Ganti,

I would be quite happy to help in my small way. I would suggest that, as not all programmers would be familiar with or possess Delphi or Visual Studio, we ought to concentrate on the use of open source software (such as CVS for version control, plain text makefiles for builds, etc.) for development, and not use any proprietary tools.

Also, I would suggest that the proposed software be written mainly in Python for rapid development.

Regards,

_________________
A S Oundhakar,
Principal Engineer,
Invictus Consultancy Services,
Mumbai
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admin
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friends,
That sounds wonderful and here I am with all that can be done.

If community is enthusiastic and resources permit here is what we can have.

a) SEFI CVS Repository /Version control , so users can contribute as much as they can.

b) Collaborative Project Management tools such as found on www.sourceforge.net with bug /issue tracking etc and communication tools.

c) Even constitute some awards for best community contributions with help of industry sponsors.

Before we could move ahead, we need to do our home work, try existing system LIVE at many community sites one is google code, sourceforge etc. Try few CVS/SVN systems as well and recommend to us what suits best to Structural community , identify more users who will like to keep this effort alive and vibrant.

SEFI has become large community, we need creative ways to make participation possible , rest follows.

Regarding language, it could be any as long as its opensource, GPL licensed. Seniors may like to contribute tools written in BASIC/Pascal/Fortran etc , some may prefer Spread Sheets while others preferring GUI may use VB/VC/Delphi/Python etc. We need to remain in structural engineering , so simplicity of tools is important factor.

I always think of some sort of competition to get community mobilized for such ideas.

If we see modern trend , Browser is becoming operating system if we see google's path. We can use Java Script/HTMl/ PHP /python etc to develop simple computing tools which may take input from a form or text files , standard outputs of various tools such as Staad/Etabs etc and further process them. Being web based eliminates requirements of any System Environment needs and reach and usability increases multi folds.

Just some quick thoughts ...I wish you all to suggest more ideas so we can see this happening in coming future.

best wishes

Sanjeev Kumar
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abhio
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Joined: 08 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Er Sanjeev,

Thanks for your enthusiastic response. Now, if Er Ganti or someone else would send me a sample STAAD output file from which they would like to extract a summary sheet, I can have a working prototype out within a couple of days.
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bijay sarkar
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear all,<xml><o></o>
<o></o>
This is really fantastic to see such an endeavour !!!<o></o>
<o></o>
Thanx to Admin of SEFI, Mr. Sanjiv Kumar for his positive response on the proposal.<o></o>
As i do not know the programming languages such as C++, Delphi etc etc, i may not come to much help of such a marvellous job.  However, whenever i feel that i can contribute here in any extent, i wish to furnish that here at least for encouraging such a wonderful job.<o></o>
<o></o>
In programming languages, freshers are more knowledgeable than the seniors so far the current languages are concerned. But we do not start writing programs from the very first day.  During development of a computer program, we normally proceed as follows :   <o></o>
<o></o>
i)   What are the requirements we want to solve through the program. <o></o>
<o></o>
ii)   Based on the requirements, we determine the required input data.  <o></o>
<o></o>
iii)  Then we prepare a flowchart of the program. Experts can avoid this part.<o></o>
<o></o>
iv)  Presentation i.e. how the "Input" windows and "Output" windows should look.<o></o>
<o></o>
v)   System Requirement + Programming.<o></o>
<o></o>
vi)   Debugging the program.<o></o>
<o></o>
vii)  Test check the program covering all aspects of input data (correct data/missing data/erroneous data) whatever the users can do from his knowledge or ignorance.<o></o>
<o></o>
viii) Throw it to a limited users for verification. <o></o>
<o></o>
ix)) Throw it to mass users to get complains.<o></o>
<o></o>
<o></o>
This is seen from above that anybody can participate in the discussion except the sl. v), vi) & vii).  Seniors are here for guiding for any technical matters alongwith others.

Its possible...  and will be an extraordinary job by Sefians.


With Regards,

Bijay Sarkar






With regards,

Bijay Sarkar
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someshwar ganti
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello everybody,

I am amazed that there is such an enthusiastic response to my suggestion.

I agree that it has to be an Open source language so that compiling etc will be easy (the users need not buy any further compilers etc)

However, My question is ( i do not know any of the languages mentioned i.e Python/ perl/ (cobra / dimond ) ( no offence ment) ) but i can learn them on the fly that is not a big issue.

But I have the following questions
   1. Today this program is perhaps a simple Lexer so Python / perl / java script may work well.

  2. but as the community support grows, we may need to do some massive calculations and number crunching routines, can these programs support such calculations ? (I presume they have not been designed for such case)

3.  Before we finalize the mode of attack we need to have a healthy discussion on this matter.



(say a program to analyze and design combined footing, and the design modume should be generic such that any country's code can incorporated by interested parties)

there are tonnes of such required programs so kindly open your minds on things that would have to follow that perhaps may be beyond our control



regards
ganti

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admin
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Friends ,
Great responses..Thanks all.


Well, we may not go for full blown s/w development life cycle for every computing need. On the job on the spot computational needs can be very well fulfilled by higher level scripting languages like

a) Mathematica
b) Matlab

Learning them is much easier and fun. A week of learning in such tools will enable one to do almost all personal computing needs that arise while working on any projects.

See example web based tools:

i-beams
More Design computations

Beam Bending Example

Such fun stuff is very easy with web mathematica.

More on this later..we will make sure we are not scared of codes of complexities, good thing is that there are many innovations that has made it easier than what it was 20 year back. You can translate your good structural engineering knowledge into any application without being a C++ guru.. or a coder. Engineering is all we need.

Regards
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someshwar ganti
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sanjeev,
thanks again for the time take to post further info.

But, for the current project i.e extracting data from STAAD / ETABS files I do not think Mathlab is the right choice.

I am looking something beyond mathlab, perhaps something like perl / python / (personally I would prefer C#/ Delphi) reason is the developed program should be accessible by everybody and usable by everybody without any knowledge in any programing or working with a 3rd party software (licensing will become a major issue then)

As Er
abhio wanted I can a STAAD file and I think we should get tonnes of them from thousands of users here that should not be an issue.

before that if we can shortlist on what is the programming language that will be used and how the users of this forum will be benefited from that (it should be a simple program which will ask the user to select a output file that is all) and the program should generate the designed output.

so before deviating from the topic (as we already have massively) let us focus on the current project  "summary sheet from staad"  and make this OUR FIRST OPEN SOURCE PROJECT  a grand suceess that will pave way for a host of tools beneficial to the Civil Engineering community that to FREE !!!

if any Er
reading this who is familiar with ETABS output format, can u he
lp us with ETabs output format ?, I can take care of STAAD output format as it is highly formatted and is available in only 1 file, but I do not know much of ETABS.


regards
ganti
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Someshwar,


All right, May I ask interested users to put well documented problems in the form small project requirements written very well.

A formal way of communicating such software needs you can see any standard SRS (Software requirement doc) on web.

We can post such needs like New topics in this section or we will have a dedicated section for this.

Once problems are clearly communicated solutions are not far. Community ideas /contributions build up drop by drop and end result is worth.

A piece of advice to users: Please put your requirements or problem statement in standard way, correct formal English , double check what you write.

Apart from community volunteer contribution on such tasks we plan following.

a) We will invite some of best known SEs known for their contribution and leadership in engineering softwares and even S/W Vendors to look into theses.

b) Vendors will be keen to incorporate some of these ideas as standard features to make their application robust. Many times vendors may be keen to provide patches, tools , utilities for pre/post processing of input/output , in an effort to retain their market share.


Rest assured we from SEFIs end will do all we can in this endeavor.


Best wishes

Sanjeev Kumar
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abhio
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Today this program is perhaps a simple Lexer so Python / perl / java script may work well.

  2. but as the community support grows, we may need to do some massive calculations and number crunching routines, can these programs support such calculations ? (I presume they have not been designed for such case)


Dear Er Ganti,

I would submit that we ought not to try and produce a Swiss knife tool that does everything, but  does it badly. Instead, each problem ought to be addressed with the tools best suited for the job.

For lexical analysis, the regular expressions used by Lex, Awk, Python or Perl are very powerful. The advantage of Lex is that a simple executable file can be produced, which can then be directly downloaded by others who are not familiar with the process of compiling from source or of using awk/ perl scripts.

For number crunching, Python offers the numpy module, which gives all required facilities. Python programs can also be packaged into executables for easy distribution.

I look forward to good interaction with all SEFIans on this project.

Warm regards,

_________________
A S Oundhakar,
Principal Engineer,
Invictus Consultancy Services,
Mumbai
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