Things are changing.
When I restarted my instrument control projects, I had a clear path ahead of me. Then I realized a few things, have to rethink the whole project, my view on it.
I found this project: https://github.com/xyphro/UsbGpib
This is exactly, what I need. I'm 90% sure now, that the firmware I developed for my own board is needless (issues can surface, when I try to adopt it to my hardware and software ecosystem, but it is highly unlikely).
My control software has an additional layer above the VISA. I was thinking to eliminate it, but figured out that I have some instruments on hand what uses HID, or proprietary USB based protocol, what I can't put under the VISA umbrella.
I have a big dilemma regarding the future development. I mean the desktop application of the measurement control.
In the software development today is everything about the mobile, web and cloud. It is clear, the word is going to this direction. Even myself as a DevOps professional working on cloud based web projects for several years now.
Always this disturbing "but".
But the instrument control in my hand is a bit different. What I see and feel, the instrument control, visualization applications are mainly not built around web technologies. Those are still desktop apps. I don't want to change this. It is more convenient to use this applications, easier to communicate directly with the hardware, etc.
I started to develop it in C# on .NET Framework with Visual Studio using WinForms. This platform where I have the most experience. If I keep my lazy attitude on it, I can keep it this way and just forget my dilemma. Actually I develop it to myself, so I not really need to care about it.
But something is itching in my mind. The technology above is getting outdated. I also use those projects for learning. So the question is: Which direction?
The other driving factor is Linux. Should I create a multiplatform app? For myself, not necessary. If others want also to use it, that is a requirement.
So the options I see now:
- Keep this, continue the development and just forget it?
- Move to the .NET 6, WPF, MVVM to have a never platform? This means no Linux support, the only thing I can hope, that somebody create a usable version of the MAUI on Linux.
- Move to .NET 6, and use some 3rd party UI (Avalonia or UNO Platform, QT, whatever)?
- Just forget the complete C# and .NET ecosystem and move somewhere else?
- Python has PyVISA for instrument control. I not really like Python, and still need to find a UI
- Java has desktop frameworks, but what to do with the instruments?
- Node.js has Electron, but the VISA support libraries questionable.
- Any other direction didn't pop to my mind?
I try to collect (at least partially) the requirements:
- Native desktop application
- Hardware communication (Serial, USB-HID, IVI stack like Keysight IO Library Suite, USB-TMC, etc.)
- GUI elements - Dialogs, Data Grids, Text controls, and most importantly charts
- Pugin architecture (the pugins for the instruments, communication platforms should be handled separately, need to be expandable)
- Network handling
- File system handling
Maybe there are more requirements. These ones I can see now.
So, If you have thoughts on this, please share with me!