Cross Platform Toolkit

Discussion in 'C-Bus Toolkit and C-Gate Software' started by masterofnone, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. masterofnone

    masterofnone

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    I'm new to this forum so perhaps a brief intro.

    I like to learn and do things myself a lot and I'm quite happy to tinker away with the C-Bus Toolkit. My setup is pretty simple – it really requires mostly just switching lights on and off with a couple of dimmers. I also have a LOT of experience designing user interfaces on many different systems.

    Having said that, I was really surprised to start using the Toolkit and find the interface was so terribly old and only available on Windows. I do all my work on a Mac and it is a very very long time since I wrote anything that didn't work cross-platform.

    I'm wondering why Schneider has never updated the Toolkit to use a modern cross platform, web based interface. It's not that I can't do what I want with the Toolkit as it is. It's just that it's such a horrible experience. Like driving an 80s model car. And it's a pain to have to keep a Windows laptop around for the sole purpose of maintaining my C-BUS network.

    I'm not complaining. It just seems C-BUS is probably the best home-automation system around. Why not update the software that goes with it?
     
    masterofnone, Jan 23, 2020
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  2. masterofnone

    Damaxx

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    Certainly wouldn't say that Toolkit is the only proprietary software that only works on Windows - most of the software we use for programming VFD's, PLC's, Fire panels, etc is Windows only. Cross platform would need more resources for support and development and as Windows still has around 75% OS market share, I would speculate it's simple equation of investment vs return.
     
    Damaxx, Jan 23, 2020
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  3. masterofnone

    masterofnone

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    These days cross platform does not require more resources. Modern development uses a web interface so any browser, any platform can connect. If they wanted to they could make apps for IOS and Android. It would be awesome to be able to set up a C-BUS system with a tablet.

    It's also not expensive. In these days of globalisation, there are plenty of highly qualified, experienced developers in Eastern Europe who develop such apps. They do it all day every day so they know how to do it well.

    Again, not a complaint. Just an observation.

     
    masterofnone, Jan 23, 2020
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  4. masterofnone

    Damaxx

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    I think it's a fair observation and an interesting topic to discuss.
    Personally, I believe that it is a case of legacy software made in the days of XP that has just never been revamped along with the motto of 'it ain't broke, don't fix it'.
     
    Damaxx, Jan 23, 2020
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  5. masterofnone

    jboer

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    This is it exactly, some of the current software desperately needs to be rewritten and not just patched. Problem is that it is broken, All the issues with Toolkit and screen scaling shouldn't be a problem, it will continue to get worse as it gets older. Same with things like Schedule Plus..

    Agree about the cross-platform thing though and Windows being the standard generally, the automation industry in general is actually really backward in coming forward. Lots of reasons for this, some good, some bad.
     
    jboer, Jan 24, 2020
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  6. masterofnone

    ashleigh Moderator

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    Having been in the business of doing actual development for these kinds of systems... I really don't know where to start in replying.

    The idea that you can take a couple of million lines of source code and somehow magically revamp them into web based cross platform kind of boggles the mind. You don't just have to do the task, you also have to know and understand and work around all the complexities of the embedded firmware in the devices. It's such a mind bogglingly non-trivial task, I don't think I have a hope of ever getting the idea across of how impossibly unlikely it is to happen. The original investment in Toolkit was millions and millions of dollars. Who in their right mind would toss it all away and do it again to deliver no tangible benefit apart from "new shiny" and "web so must be good".

    Remember - its a commissioning tool. A high tech screwdriver. Like so many things, you can have bells, whistles, ratchets, interchangable tips, and goodness knows what else. But in then end all those high tech screwdrivers just put in screws. Toolkit is a tool.

    The High DPI stuff is solvable if there were a will, without such a high investment. Different problem to be solved.
     
    ashleigh, Feb 1, 2020
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  7. masterofnone

    jboer

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    I think a lot of us do understand this, but as you also know so many of us also are getting tired and frustrated with what we know is a product that hasn't had to have large dev costs for quite a long time continuing to sell relatively well at a high margin, continually getting the reply to fairly major issues 'Oh but that's really hard'. Yup it is corporate, multi-national, small country issues. But it is still there and yes while things like rewriting something is expensive and difficult, I also know from also being in teams who have done it, it isn't impossible. Things like Embarcadero make it a lot more cost effective to port things like toolkit into something that can be efficiently maintained into the future. A screwdriver with a flat head is no good if all the screws get changed to torx.

    As resellers, consultants, installers we all need something that we are confident will continue to supply the requirements of our clients into the future, the fact that C-Bus has not started to move from its technology base of 20 years ago does not give that confidence.
     
    jboer, Feb 2, 2020
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  8. masterofnone

    jboer

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    I should also put #endrant ;-p

    But
    I also was just going to say to the OP, for a lot of us who do run Mac's, VMs are your friend! Especially if you want to do anything in the engineering sector. Even AutoDesk stuff I run in windows VMs because they are about 24 months behind with features floating down to the OSX world!
     
    jboer, Feb 2, 2020
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