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The I'm-Not-Dead march, part 2, day 3 of 18 - Plans for a Greek Temple — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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The I'm-Not-Dead march, part 2, day 3 of 18 [Mar. 2nd, 2005|07:07 pm]
[Current Mood |blahblah]

Yesterday afternoon my manager scored some major points. He told me that he didn't want me to work more than 8 or 9 hours a day, and if that meant that deadlines on this project are missed, well, the customers will just have to live with that. He gave me the strong impression that he would back me up if it came to that.

On the one hand, this is in David's best interests. He needs me alert and creative, not burned out and disillusioned. On the other... you know, maybe he really does care more about his people than about the latest set of requirements and deadlines. That would be a pleasant experience, especially after some of my experiences in graduate school.

Meanwhile... He's given me the okay to bring someone else in part-time on this project for the next few weeks. Eric knows VTK about as well as I do, but he's totally new to Qt. I can count on having him half-time for two weeks. He will not accomplish as much as I could in that time because of the overhead of learning the system and talking things over with me, but it means I'll have a few more precious hours to myself for things like sleep and exercise. I will still have to do all the system integration myself, but that's unavoidable where things stand. This is not going to save me completely from working overtime - I'll probably be putting in weekend hours - but I'll take what I can get.

I suspect that I will be able to hit the March 17 milestone. I am not at all sure of this. I'll have to talk to Nabeel (the main customer) and impress upon him the need for our beta users to be tolerant of crashes and random bugs.

Meanwhile, today I committed a whole bunch of infrastructure to a branch of VTK. It's oriented mainly toward scientific visualization, but there are quite a few people who want it to be useful for information visualization as well. The biggest obstacle to this is that VTK assumes that data means numbers: that every piece of data everywhere in the system has a meaningful conversion to and from one or more floating-point numbers. Infovis more often works with string data types where this assumption doesn't hold. Last summer I tackled the job of adding support. It is neither simple nor straightforward, but, well, someone had to do it. There's a lot of work left to do to integrate it properly and flesh it out but what's there is usable.

Committing code to the main repository, as I did this afternoon, means that suddenly my stuff is visible to and usable by the 25,000ish people around the world who use VTK. I'll be surprised if more than three people see it in the next few months. For one thing, it's only in the CVS repository, not any of the released versions. For another, it's not even in the main trunk: it's off in a branch of the tree so that I can work without fear of breaking the build everyone else relies on. Still... it's out there, and someday it'll make it into the main release. Maybe the next major version.

Getting the patches updated and committed took up all of yesterday and most of today. Tomorrow will go into a couple of the graphics pieces related to displaying the subset of data that actually fit on the screen. Then it's Friday, which means a long day at work and then a trip to Back Porch to get turned into a puddle.

Oops, the build has just broken. Time to go fix it. Further updates as events warrant.

[User Picture]From: turnberryknkn
2005-03-03 11:37 am (UTC)
Best of luck.

Hope writing about it all helps.
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[User Picture]From: clubjuggler
2005-03-03 03:10 pm (UTC)
What's the branch tag? O:-)
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[User Picture]From: clubjuggler
2005-03-03 03:12 pm (UTC)
Hmm... looking at the CVS repository, I would guess it would be "VTK-Sandia-InfoViz". Sounds about right. Ok, now I have something to do sometime (take a look at it), whenever my schedule slows down... :-P
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[User Picture]From: clubjuggler
2005-03-03 03:19 pm (UTC)


Oooh! I just realized this means your know CMake! I'm in the process of converting our cross platform GUI library at work from using Imake to using CMake. What are your impressions of CMake? What pitfalls should I look out for? Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: callicrates
2005-03-04 02:37 am (UTC)

Re: CMake

Yes, VTK-Sandia-Infoviz is my branch. It's mostly pretty boring stuff right now: the code in the main repository is the infrastructure to support strings. The flashy stuff is in our local repository. With any luck I'll be bringing some of it to show on my next trip to UNC late this spring / early summer. Assuming the travel budget can support it. Finances are such a pain.

CMake took a little bit of getting used to, like any build system, but I'm very happy with it. I've found that it is able to deal gracefully with Linux, cygwin, multiple versions of Visual Studio, MacOS (though I haven't done this myself), and presumably a whole slew of other platforms. The biggest trouble I've had with it was figuring out how to set up a project with it from scratch. In almost all cases, you want to take someone else's makefile and modify it instead of writing your own from scratch; in almost all cases, VTK is the wrong package to modify since it's so huge and elaborate. On the other hand, it does have at least one example of just about everything you can do with CMake in it somewhere...

I like it lot. I recommend it. I may live to regret this, but I'm happy to try to answer questions as you run into them.

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