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ctx32
05-26-2008, 07:21 AM
Should I take on the challenge of Visual Basic
or the Microsoft robotics software to work with Phidgets.
I'm a REAL Newbie- Bottom Line.
I've played with Vex easyC, So I need the kindergarden stuff.
Thanks

Droid Works
05-26-2008, 09:57 AM
Defiantly Visual Basic. Knowing languages like Visual Basic, C++, C#, ect. Are more valuable than learning any program. With programing lang you can use them on just about any robot and create your own programs. I suggest VB because it is a easy lang to learn and one of the most usefull.

Adrenalynn
05-26-2008, 11:03 AM
I'd go the C# route because it will put you in a position to graduate to C++. It's also more useful for web programming, imho.

ctx32
05-26-2008, 11:38 AM
I downloaded Visual Basics express, Is this the correct version?
It was free and has a Tutorial on how to learn it.
I don't need alot of programming, Just need to be able to interact with the Phidgets.
I'm going to start a thread describing what I'm trying to do, And this way I can get all the help in one spot.
Thank you very much for the help.
Calvin

Adrenalynn
05-26-2008, 12:35 PM
Visual Basic Express will do the job for you, yes.

The express version of C# is also free from Microsoft.

Alex
05-27-2008, 05:22 PM
If you're a newbie and have no experience in programming, don't go near MSRS. Even experienced programmers have difficulties with it. It's an incredibly powerful platform, but the learning curve for a beginning programmer is far too great to even bother with.

You can go with either C# or VB Express. Either one will do a nice job with Phidgets.

LinuxGuy
05-27-2008, 06:06 PM
I'd go the C# route because it will put you in a position to graduate to C++. It's also more useful for web programming, imho.
Wouldn't that tend to lock one into using the Microsoft tools? Hmmm, maybe I should take a closer look at C# if it won't mess me up for using the GNU C/C++ tools.

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
05-27-2008, 06:15 PM
Yes and no. If you use all the fancy pretty stuff, yes. But the concepts are roughly the same. It's a lot easier to graduate from C# to C++ than it is from BASIC to C++...

Besides, the vaaaast majority of desktop machines are Windows-based. The vaaaast majority of career opportunities are Windows-based. The vaaaast percentage of tools are Windows-based. At some point one needs to accept that it's Windows-or-the-highway for desktop applications.

Further, you *can* run the lion's share of C# apps under Mono if you really wanna.

LinuxGuy
05-27-2008, 09:03 PM
Besides, the vaaaast majority of desktop machines are Windows-based. The vaaaast majority of career opportunities are Windows-based. The vaaaast percentage of tools are Windows-based. At some point one needs to accept that it's Windows-or-the-highway for desktop applications.
The only Windows apps I use are when I work with PICs/dsPICs, do 3D CAD (Alibre Design Expert), and play games like WoW. I do have some FPGA development software installed, but no development boards to use it with yet. Altera FPGAs will come into play for an upcoming project, which means another Windows app I will use.

I am at least somewhat foruntate in that I don't have to suck up to any particular company to do stuff. I don't deal with a workplace environment, just my home environment. :veryhappy: :veryhappy: I admit that Microsoft has made it extremely easy to develop for Windows. I just really don't want to go there, but I keep getting tempted.


Further, you *can* run the lion's share of C# apps under Mono if you really wanna.
I think I installed mono, but will have to check. I have checked into the portable.Net stuff.

8-Dale

Wingzero01w
05-27-2008, 09:52 PM
The only Windows apps I use are when I work with PICs/dsPICs, do 3D CAD (Alibre Design Expert), and play games like WoW. I do have some FPGA development software installed, but no development boards to use it with yet. Altera FPGAs will come into play for an upcoming project, which means another Windows app I will use.

I am at least somewhat foruntate in that I don't have to suck up to any particular company to do stuff. I don't deal with a workplace environment, just my home environment. :veryhappy: :veryhappy: I admit that Microsoft has made it extremely easy to develop for Windows. I just really don't want to go there, but I keep getting tempted.


I think I installed mono, but will have to check. I have checked into the portable.Net stuff.

8-Dale

If you don't mind me asking, whats so bad or repelling about windows? I can understand hating vista... but XP has most of the bugs out and works fairly well.

WoW is definitely a fun game, i used to play it but it got real addicting and distracted me from school work so i had to quit, maybe in the summer ill do it again.

Whats an FPGA? sorry if its a stupid question im still new to embedded terms.

LinuxGuy
05-27-2008, 11:56 PM
If you don't mind me asking, whats so bad or repelling about windows? I can understand hating vista... but XP has most of the bugs out and works fairly well.
I'm just an Open Source, Open Platform kind of guy. :veryhappy: Even though it is possible to write true Open Source software for Windows using Open Source tools, it's really just a kludge. There just isn't anything I want to write for Windows at this time. My robot will run Linux, which can be run nicely on smaller resource platforms such as ARM9.

Don't get me wrong.. I do have the latest versions of Visual C# and C++ installed for Windows. I just haven't been motivated to do anything with them yet. I even have the latest version of MSRS installed. I'm curious about stuff, but not necessarily enough to do anything with it. :happy: My view on developing for Windows is subject to change without notice. :veryhappy:


Whats an FPGA? sorry if its a stupid question im still new to embedded terms.
Field Programmable Gate Array. Think of them as programmable (and reprogrammable) hardware. They would be great to use in robotics.

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
05-28-2008, 12:55 AM
You, and the small handful of people like you. For any forseeable future, microsoft owns the desktop. And it's really not that bad. I wouldn't let it near a production server if they paid me, and imho, they should stop trying to play dress-up and get out of the server space entirely, but for the desktop it works pretty well.

Adrenalynn
05-28-2008, 01:02 AM
>> Field Programmable Gate Array. Think of them as programmable (and reprogrammable) hardware. They would be great to use in robotics.

I did a bunch of patents on using FPGAs for on-the-fly video compression. I think I have the first board I prototyped here. First time I used laser-printer mask transfer and etching from home. Never again. I send my boards out [again] now... ;)

LinuxGuy
05-28-2008, 03:23 AM
You, and the small handful of people like you. For any forseeable future, microsoft owns the desktop. And it's really not that bad.
I more or less need to use free tools, which isn't bad either. :veryhappy: I just wish I had a lot more money to spend on all the neat toys I see every day.


I wouldn't let it near a production server if they paid me, and imho, they should stop trying to play dress-up and get out of the server space entirely, but for the desktop it works pretty well.
I agree on not letting Windows run production servers! When I was working, it always seemed we had way more problems with the Windows based servers. They crashed under load regularly, and some under pretty light loads. For a single desktop, Windows isn't bad. I just wish it were easier to tell what tasks belong to which applications.

8-Dale

LinuxGuy
05-28-2008, 03:26 AM
I did a bunch of patents on using FPGAs for on-the-fly video compression. I think I have the first board I prototyped here.
Very interesting. I think a nice ARM9 processor with an FPGA would be a great combination. I'm about to start working on a new robot project which will have a microcontroller and FPGA. I know very little about FPGAs now, but have run through a couple of demos with the Xilinx and Altera software.

8-Dale

Alex
05-28-2008, 10:23 AM
I wouldn't let it near a production server if they paid me, and imho, they should stop trying to play dress-up and get out of the server space entirely, but for the desktop it works pretty well.Well said Adrenalynn! Sure, some things piss me off about Windows (desktop), but overall I love how easy everything is with Windows and Windows Application Development.

Windows based servers on the other hand... well... how can I put this nicely? Aren't all that great:mad::mad: Every system that is using a Windows based server setup that I have dealt with over the years sux!! Slow can't even come near to an adequate explanation of what I've experienced.

Adrenalynn
05-28-2008, 11:49 AM
Now that Microsoft has "opened-up" with "Express" versions of the tools, it's pretty "free" - but the Gnu Toolchain does run under Windows. I'm not trying to convert you here - I'd just as soon use Linux. Lower hardware requirements = more power to the pavement. I just can't run around dissing their toolchain willynilly anymore...


I more or less need to use free tools, which isn't bad either. :veryhappy: I just wish I had a lot more money to spend on all the neat toys I see every day.

Adrenalynn
05-28-2008, 11:51 AM
Very interesting. I think a nice ARM9 processor with an FPGA would be a great combination. I'm about to start working on a new robot project which will have a microcontroller and FPGA. I know very little about FPGAs now, but have run through a couple of demos with the Xilinx and Altera software.

8-Dale

I brought in a couple proto-boards from the garage I'm cleaning out. I'll shoot some pics this evening if I get time.

I have some Altera boards here, but we were Xilinx across the board. We were using original ARM and StrongARM processors. This dates back "a few years" ;)

Adrenalynn
05-28-2008, 11:56 AM
Well said Adrenalynn! Sure, some things piss me off about Windows (desktop), but overall I love how easy everything is with Windows and Windows Application Development.

Windows based servers on the other hand... well... how can I put this nicely? Aren't all that great:mad::mad: Every system that is using a Windows based server setup that I have dealt with over the years sux!! Slow can't even come near to an adequate explanation of what I've experienced.

Thanks! I'm dealing with some stuff right now related as well. My opinion was really formed when I was running datacenters and streaming video. Server 2003 is fairly stable, but man is it clunky.

Two sets of redundant servers, serving exactly the same databases (GIS/Geolocation). RedHat Enterprise 5/64bit running on Dual-Quadcore Xeons, 32GB of RAM, 8x RAIDed 15k RPM SCSI, Postgres/PostGIS serves 50,000 mobile devices reporting back 2x/min with a load of 1.4 - The identical system running IIS/MSSQL Server runs a load of 785 and dies a few times a day. Completely unusable over 15,000 devices. That's almost 4:1, and the Linux machine isn't even breathing hard until it hits a 4.0 load, so it's closer to 8:1 differential. (I don't have enough devices out there to stress-test it, really).

Wow. Really took this thread off into the weeds. Sorry, CTX!

LinuxGuy
05-28-2008, 08:28 PM
Now that Microsoft has "opened-up" with "Express" versions of the tools, it's pretty "free" - but the Gnu Toolchain does run under Windows. I'm not trying to convert you here -
Oh, I appreciate the free tools, whether they are for Linux or not. I probably should take a crack at doing something for Windows just to see how things work. If I end up being able to create the software I want to do for robotics, I would want to create a Windows version also.


I'd just as soon use Linux. Lower hardware requirements = more power to the pavement. I just can't run around dissing their toolchain willynilly anymore...
I agree. I have the Microsoft 2008 versions of C# and C/C++ installed. One operation that takes a long time, under Linux, is creating a squash filesystem. It must take 2 hours to create a 575 MB squashfs on my system, but I only have 512 MB RAM. It really drags my system down when I do this sort of thing. I'm learning how to create my own Live CDs and DVDs for another project.

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
05-29-2008, 02:08 AM
As promised... Kinda hard to see at this low-res, but you get the idea. StrongARM mated to Xilinx 40XL, all hand-stuffed and soldered...

http://www.jlrdesigns.com/4trc/xilinx1.jpg

Semicton
08-21-2008, 05:50 PM
VB.NET is a great place to start learning a programming language. Keep an open mind while learning VB.NET and C# will become second nature. This is the route I took with programming, although I had some VB6 experience as a hobbyist before I jumped into .Net languages. The difference between VB.NET and C# is trivial enough for me to look at VB.NET application code and translate and rewrite it on the spot to C# even though I haven't wrote a line of VB.NET code in 3 years.

Everyone says It's easy to transition from C# to Java or C++ if you are good at C#, but I haven't put forth an effort to learn those two languages just yet. So many new, easy, fun things coming from Microsoft has been keeping me busy. Soon though..

Good luck with your choice and have fun!