Saturday, 28 April 2012

The next challenge......

OK - I have the next revival project sorted!

I'ts a bit of back to the future related to the ROBFIT code myself and Bob Coldwell of the University of Florida physics department developed towards the back end of the 1980's.

So that's the 'back' bit!

After 20 years I have managed to resurrect the Fortran files - from 3 1/2" floppies - just finding a drive to read these was an exercise in itself. Thanks to mumbam for digging out an old work computer - though she did then go on about how the version of Excel loaded on the machine was far better than the modern one which was slightly worrying.

Anyway I have now extracted the files - cold sweat as I remember the work put into writing these. All seem fine - I now have a list of files that makefiles,


now need to figure out what they do, maybe I should read the book :O. However, I have contacted Bob and have decided to load this version of the code onto a proper 'open' repository.

That's the 'future' bit.

I have been reliably informed by Bambofy (many thanks again) that 'github' is the place for this so my very next task is to figure out how to do that.

The journey goes back in time.....

Friday, 20 April 2012

Old - but - New!

What is new in the world of Fortran - other than there's a new version out or geekery around the code structure - what are people using it for?

How do you find out what's going on right now?

Have 'discovered' hastags and lists. That's Twitter speak ;)

I'm finding it a great medium for sharing and discussing ideas around innovation. Not entirely sure yet how effective this will be but these tools look like they will help. Also not sure it will work for Fortran  updating etc but have started to monitor the community! You have been warned.

My view on Twitter advantages so far are that it has a wide reach so you get input from a more diverse audience (some of which you may not want - but it certainly adds variety to the discussions). LinkedIn discussions - the other media I use - tend to be a bit insular - you have to be in the group to participate - which is sometimes a good thing don't get me wrong. Twitter therefore for me seems to be a bit more dynamic and feels more alive for ideas. Though it is early days for our #arctki forum! 

I was very sceptical before putting a bit of effort into Twitter - there is a lot of chatter. But if you tap into the right discussions I've found it to be great for discovering exactly what is happening in particular fields and quickly. The trick is to filter and organise the info so you don't get lost in the avalanche hence the # and lists.

Lets see what's going on in the Fortran world.....

Saturday, 14 April 2012

So how do you do it.......?

Still no decision on previously described workings.

However, started to mull over a couple of things related to how to position development going forward;

  1. I have a foot high pillar of 3 1/2inch floppy disc's with a load of old Fortran code on them. I'm sure its all really useful recyclable, reusable full documented well structured code by-the-way! But what a waste - from a scientific viewpoint I'm sure there is something of use, I have a complete spectral analysis code ROBFIT on there somewhere. Though it is a version that's 20 years old! What to do?
  2. Everything, and I mean everything, is going 'social networking' mad. In fact I used the LinkedIn Fortran Programming Group to get going again on all things software. However, personally I find LinkedIn a bit of a 'static' medium, which is both a strength and a weakness. Its strength lies in it acting almost as a living (but passive) Google search - you can post questions and get learned responses without too much 'noise'. Its weakness, in my view, is you tend to end up in silo's on it. By that I mean if you start a discussion in a particular group then you may end up in a very 'deep' discussion thread but not necessarily a 'wide' discussion. Is there a better way of sharing with whole communities?
I'm sure someone has been through all this but I'm having fun going up the learning curve.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

End of Phase 2.....what now?

So the final report has been issued on the second of the 'Fortran Revival' activities - phew! Further development, as detailed in earlier posts, will require a significant investment in a - I was going to say rewrite, but its more of a 'create from scratch again' type activity.

The only professional way forward in my view being development of a fully specified, documented, validated and verified code written in an environment that allows proper maintenance processes to be put in place.

There are some suggestions that we could go back to pure Excel calculations - noooooooo - read earlier blogs for my view on that one. Breaks out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.....images of monstrous spreadsheets comes to wait.....that's the finance department!

Wonder what the next project could be......