Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Open source VB car front end?

  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3

    Question Open source VB car front end?

    Hi all,

    I'm delurking and have also posted this on digital-car, so hope this is ok for this fourm.

    I've been tinkering on and off with various bits of software I've written for my car PC for around 5 years and have constantly been looking for a standard "manager" type program under which these could run - to give a constant look and feel etc and which would enable anyone from hobbyists to commercial companies to produce applications that could run in this open (as in standards or source) enviroment.

    Anyway, there's loads of great software around, but it all seems to be missing features, buggy or unfinished and I'd like to be able to write my own custom modules that will retain the same look and feel no matter if the system uses a touch screen, IR remote, click wheel, mouse etc.

    What I propose is an open source Windows front end, capable of taking the input from any standard hardware and presenting this with GPS data etc to any and all applications (modules) running underneath. This would allow one group of people to concentrate on the (free and open) interface and others to write really top notch modules for any purpose (both free and chargable). The end user just chooses what modules they like.

    Problems are - that this may have already been done. If so, I'll get my coat. My Windows programming is pretty much limited to VB and I'm really not sure myself yet, quite how such a system would fit together. I need to know if current developers of such systems think this is workable or even of use, or if they have better ideas. I don't want to step on any toes.

    I've put together a very (very) crude demo with VB source at www.pingmyride.com which while not doing anything really usable, gives an idea what I'm talking about. I'm also in the process of trying to convert a satnav app I've written to work in this way. Basically what do'you recon?

    Rgds
    Jonathan

  2. #2
    My man uses Levitra. Peoples's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,024
    Road Runner is open source VB......check it out. You could add support for other hardware input with girder, or other plugin modules
    PC Components:
    Lilliput; XPC/FLEX mobo; 1.7 ghz P4 Mobile;512 DDR; 160 gb HDD; opus 150; slot usb dvd-rw
    My work log

  3. #3
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3
    Thanks, I wasn't aware of that. I've just downloaded the source and had a look. It's still limited by it's non-commercial licence and single maintainer though and has a lot of user features included but limited obvious hooks for third party modules.

    Before I posted the original post I hadn't realised that this has been mentioned by a few people recently, FMode posted his code about a week ago which I'd not seen and I think he may be a bit ahead of me.

    I still belive the main management program shouldn't contain any user functionality (media players etc) other than that needed to control the system.

    Rgds
    Jonathan

  4. #4
    My man uses Levitra. Peoples's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,024
    well these are front ends, not operating systems.....built in functionality is plus, if you want a barebones shell this is not very difficult to program
    PC Components:
    Lilliput; XPC/FLEX mobo; 1.7 ghz P4 Mobile;512 DDR; 160 gb HDD; opus 150; slot usb dvd-rw
    My work log

  5. #5
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3
    It shouldn't be difficult but it needs a standard. For example (and I know this has been discussed elsewhere probably in better detail) I have one GPS device but would like both a navigation program and a seperate speed camera warning program to be able to access the GPS data. The main management app has to take the NMEA data from the GPS and allow any number of applications access to this on demand. Same for feeding remote commands etc to the modules and getting commands back to reduce say a music players audio or flash a warning in the status line etc.

    Anyone could write their own front end and anyone their own modules, but we really need this sort of standardisation between them.

    I also believe the manager program should be open source (though anyone could develope a closed alternative to the same spec) to encorage all parties to contribute to the standards. The individual apps (modules) may well need to be closed source due to copyright issues on map data etc.

    Rgds
    Jonathan

  6. #6
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    43
    There are a couple of utils on this board that will allow you to "share" gps data between programs - its going to be a hack whatever because a gps reciever is designed to be exclusivly accessed.

    I was thinking along a similar line - that way you can embed whichever gps software you want, and write a simple app to warn you of speedcameras - however a lot of GPS software does support overlays, so its tempting to go with one of these products for simplicity.

    A modular design is nice, but the problem is a lot of software gets pretty complex pretty quickly, and more complexity means more resources, as it is RR kills my poor little 800.

    I'll be developing a simple VB based front end shortly (Im pretty busy atm so its as and when i get the time) because I've come to pretty much the same conclusion. However I will be going down the route of a simple fast front end - just to do simple things like Mp3, GPS - I have a top end HU so im not fussed with embedding a ton of features for this that or the other, and i think there is a real need for something quick and dirty.

    Having used the carPC for a bit now (this is version two) I've noticed that things are a lot different when your on the move, and many of the interfaces are less than intuative - something else ill be thinking about.

    Obviously anything i hack together will be open source, but im doubtful anyone will want it

    On a seperate note, what nav software will you be using? - Ive trialed prymenav (which looks very much like iguidance) but gave up on it because of lack of speed camera support (a must here in the UK). I had a look at mappoint because of the SDK, but im actually pretty impressed with Autoroute although it will need a fair bit of tweeking.
    '76 LR Series III 109 - Fully Sorted
    '95 Rover 620ti - Working on it


    A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate DeltaFX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    France
    Posts
    499
    Perhaps we should define was a front-end is ? Is it an OS that allow you to run any apps in any way you want, or is it a limited but powerfull piece of code that can: play audio files, monitor your car, provide help for navigation, emulate/control a cell phone without disturbing driver ?

    I tried a well known frontend on a 1ghz Tbird+gef 4Ti4400 recently, and that thing displayed a "Please wait while loading" for 0.5 s every time I switched between Nav and mp3 screen... To the TrashCompactor it went. Dude if I had to wait 0.5s when I hit the brake to start reducing my speed.....

    Strangely, I run a reacam preview (640*212) @30fps, mp3 player, navigation/poi warning, hardware monitoring on the same machine under win98se with only 256mo and all this only takes 33% of cpu times.

    Navigation, audio playing, rearcam, car monitoring and hand-free phone apps aside, everthing else like TV, internet, video playback is quite illegal from the cop point of view. It disturbs the driver. I'm not a fan of M$ products (my own frontend is written in delphi 7) but M$ did a rather good job with its Windows Automotive edition, especially concerning security.

    But Divx, Internet, TV.... ? Okay fine, but not for the driver, or only if car's parked. Such apps may be available for copilot, passengers, kids... They even may be encapsulated in a program called Frontend, but that's a Frontend For Passengers.

    Standardization... well where's the fun ? I know a guy who wrote in Gambas his system to run a linux machine. I code in delphi 7, other in VB,Flash,Java,C++,C#( that's J--). What if my progs have no buttons (in the windows sens) but only active images... some frontend are picky concerning the OS version, the M$Style version, the WMP version (how lame, it's so easy to code a basic control that allow compatibility with the Ancient WMP 6.1), others want Winamp, Sonique or what do I know... Is there a single Frontend that relies on nothings but a CPU, A videocard, some ram/hdd and a directx environement ? No.

    Please don't standardize our hobbies.
    Now Galileo is real. Muhahahahaha :p

  8. #8
    FLAC PURDooM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Anoka County, MN
    Posts
    1,020
    An operating system is just supposed to provide a standardized system for accessing the hardware, managing memory, and running applications. All the rest is just eye candy and wrapping more software packages together.

    It doesn't matter if you call a front end an operating system or whatever you are doing, its going to acomplish the same thing and run the same code. Feel free to reinvent the wheel if you wish, but like many of us you may find that all your software that you wish to write is much more work than it sounds like.

    Im not sure if I am reading your posts wrong, if I am I apologise
    Current projects: iGmod reloaded (Latest release) (put on hiatus indefinatly)

    Unlimited Internet and gps tracking for $6 a month with boost mobile!

    Carputer 2: www.lmaocar.com

  9. #9
    Maximum Bitrate DeltaFX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    France
    Posts
    499
    I'm a bit confuse too, you can resume my post by just reading the last line.

    I agree, it took longer to code a mp3player using Fmod or bass.dll that understands Winamp & sonique visuals than importing a WMP9 activeX. That's rights, but that's funnier... and then I can flame picky people like me, cause yes, such a "mediaplayer" do work smooth on a non-mmx p133 pentium running win95 osr1.
    Now Galileo is real. Muhahahahaha :p

  10. #10
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    43
    Its not as simple as reinventing the wheel.

    Different people have different needs, and what we are ending up with is a solution thats is "all things to all men".

    I agree with delta, driving is a fluid enviroment - the carPC should act more like the switchgear on your dash, or your headunit- immediate, functional, intuative - just changing tracks on the mp3 screen in the RR metal skin, for instance, is quite difficult - theres no physical button to tell your fingers where they should be - you have to try and position them precisly on the button and maintain the pressure - tricky at 70mph (assuming we are all driving legally )

    While a lot of the front ends are moving towards a modular approach, whereby you can select the functionality you want, theres still a way to go - but Im pretty sure it will get there.

    Personally I like a challange of seeing what i can come up with, again this isnt comercial enviroment - its a hobby, so we should all be free to do our own thing if we want. But I still think its a good idea to have a overall direction if you have multiple developers otherwise its gonna get messy pretty quick - this is where the whole "plug in" system has a clear advantage.
    '76 LR Series III 109 - Fully Sorted
    '95 Rover 620ti - Working on it


    A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Front end chooser ? anyone ?
    By SAScooby in forum Software & Software Development
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-23-2006, 10:35 PM
  2. Why do we need car Front End software?!
    By nijel in forum Software & Software Development
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 04-09-2006, 01:50 AM
  3. BASIC Stamp question
    By Banderon in forum General Hardware Discussion
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 05-07-2004, 09:33 AM
  4. Questions for developers
    By SuperG35 in forum ME Archive
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 08-26-2003, 11:12 AM
  5. Is ME open source?
    By SuperG35 in forum ME Archive
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-22-2003, 03:42 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •