Perhaps one small step to popularise Proton


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  1. #1
    Prolific Poster towlerg's Avatar
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    Default Perhaps one small step to popularise Proton

    We have (I don't imply ownership) a great compiler and a Wiki full of great code. I only speak for myself and imply no criticism, but for someone new to Proton and electronics, all that great stuff in the wiki is largely inaccessible.

    What I am going to try to do is create a super simple set of demo using various sensors. Any suggestion appreciated, any offers of help even more appreciated.

    The rationale being that the user can simply include the .Inc file and add the procedure calls from the demo into their code and Bob's your uncle. This will also provide a mechanism for testing a newly acquired sensor or whatever.

    I realize there is a library manager but I don't believe (correct me if I'm wrong) it is not currently used and anyway may not be maintained into the future.

    I also realize I have a penchant for project that everybody else think are stupid, although this bothers me not one jot (perhaps a tiny bit) if anyone can think of a reason why this is dumb, don't sugar coat it, just cry out.

    As a start point I've created a demo for a DS3231. I also have Les's example of a VL6180X rework but I wont post that till I get his permission.

    Here's a suggested framework that is for discussion.
    • Consistent format.
    • Use a simple but powerful PIC device, avoiding PPS, I suggest a 18F25K50 (which will allow USB examples).
    • Demo should be absolutely minimal, if a complex device add additional enhanced demos.
      • Eg. I would create two demos for DS18B20, one for a single device and one for multiple devices.
    • Each demo should consist of a .Bas, and .Inc and a .H
      • The bas has the minimal demo.
      • The Inc has procedures, both user callable ones and internal ones (this file should include the H file unless already included, using Les trick).
      • The H has Ram usage and constants. (I have separated Ram usage to allow control over location).
    • Absolutely no macros (preferably anywhere but if necessary limited to the Inc file). 4. Each demo should consist of a .Bas, and .Inc and a .H
    • Use a PC as the output device.
      • This simplifies wiring and explanations.
      • More likely to work first time - I realize that is debatable.
    • Where a device has both SPI and I2C create two .Bas demos but one .Inc and one .H
    • I included both hard and soft I2C in my example demo - that was perhaps a mistake? Also I include a mechanism for setting the time, perhaps that was also a mistake and should have been a separate program?
    • It would be nice if the user procedures (as opposed to ones used internally to access the sensor) generated the desired result in the return value. Failing that use a
      documented variable.
    • Some simple instruction to get the demo working and confirm the sensor or whatever is functional. Perhaps Fritzing?

    Starting list of sensors BME280, VL6180X, VL5310X, MPU6050, HMC5983, MPL3115A2, INA219, DS18B20 ????

    It would be great is this were a community project. I suspect all of us know one (or more) devices inside out or have already posted in the wiki, the the commitment need not be huge.

    Suggestion. thoughts or whatever?
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by towlerg; 6th October 2019 at 16:00. Reason: old and stupid
    George.

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  3. #2
    Prolific Poster RGV250's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perhaps one small step to popularise Proton

    Hi,
    My only one thought at the moment is the 1825K50 does not appear to be one of the free devices.

    Regards,
    Bob

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    Administrator Lester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perhaps one small step to popularise Proton

    George, maybe this conversation should be broken into two parts. I'm very interested in understanding why you say the Wiki is largely inaccessible. I can assure you that code posted within the forum, is very inaccessible, whereas the Wiki, I thought, was stable and searchable.

    If its possible to change, I will. But I need to better understand the issues first. The logs show me the Wiki is browsed a lot, though if it can be improved I'm happy to consider suggestions.

    Your feedback would be of interest to me. Maybe in a different thread to avoid confusion and clutter in this thread. Or maybe I just misunderstood the meaning behind your post.
    Lester Wilson
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    Prolific Poster towlerg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perhaps one small step to popularise Proton

    My only one thought at the moment is the 1825K50 does not appear to be one of the free devices.
    That's kindda the point.

    Lester, I was not referring to physical accessibility. The code (and there is tons of it) is for a range of PICs, using different styles and formats, all pretty daunting to a new user. Also many of the programs in the Wiki use several devices and it is unclear what code is required for what device. Compare this with Arduino, for the person who wants to make something and is not interested by coding details or even electronics can just DO IT, the choice is a no brainer.

    Proton is never going to be a popular as Arduino, but if you could just steal 1% of their market ......

    Looks like I'm barking in the dark, so feck (that's Irish for fuck) it.

    Maybe in a different thread to avoid confusion and clutter in this thread
    That does not seem likely.

    I don't feel that the indexing of the Wiki is great but that's another discussion. I seem to end up using the google site option.
    George.

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    Senior Member Stephen Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perhaps one small step to popularise Proton

    I don’t think what you are proposing will necessarily help to “popularise Proton” as…
    a) If someone is not already attracted to Proton enough to try it I do not think the presence of demos for certain sensors is irrelevant and
    b) If there is no demo for the particular device an individual wants to use then it does not really change their situation in regards to trying Proton.

    Unfortunately, I think the major problem is getting people to try Proton in the first place over the other better advertised/more talked about options out there because if they are not prepared to do that all the examples in the world will not help. I may be wrong but I think that industry will not look at it as they still see BASIC as the poor relation to C or Assembler and for non-industry users the Arduino has so become ubiquitous despite is many flaws and limitations (particularly for any serious engineering applications).
    It is impossible to compete with Arduino on a hardware basis as the cost involved in making PIC equivalent pin compatible versions of the various Arduino boards out there that can use the existing shields is…
    a) prohibitive and
    b) you are entering an already congested market place so uptake could be small.

    Maybe if Microchip had recognised the Arduino’s rapidly rising popularity and produced their own pin compatible equivalents early on it would have helped get Proton some traction.

    Consequently, if the goal is to make Proton popular I think the greatest chance of that will be if Les gets the support for AVR devices (or at least those used on the various Arduino boards) working so Proton can tap into the large Arduino user base as a potential alternative to the Arduino IDE with its restrictions on using certain device features, the need to hunt down library files to use various commands that Proton already has and having to program in C.
    If it did that, then I can then see how having an example for each shield board would be useful and help to encourage people to switch to (or at least try) Proton.

    Even then for Arduino users to consider using Proton as an alternative to the free Arduino IDE…
    a) Proton would have to freely support the devices used in the various Arduino boards and
    b) The Arduino boards would have to be as easy to program from the Proton IDE as they are from the Arduino IDE. If Arduino users have to mess about the Microchip IDE or wiring in ICSP headers for PICkit programmers when the Arduino IDE offers a much simpler and easier programming solution via USB they probably won’t bother with it.

    Although Arduino compatibility may help to increase Protons profile, popularity and user base, between the freely supported Arduino AVR & Microchip devices you can get a lot done, particularly hobbyists which is the primary Arduino demographic. Therefore increased popularity does not necessarily translate into increased revenue to support further development as only if people need to venture beyond the free devices or want to use a feature that is not freely available (as Procedures were originally) would someone consider purchasing it.
    Only if access to the free devices expired after a year and then could be unlocked on a years’ subscription for a small fee that people would not think twice about paying, i.e. 1 or 2 pounds would it be able to both potentially lure people away from the free Arduino compiler and generate some revenue, 1 or 2 pounds may not seem a lot but if you can get 1000 people doing that it adds up.

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    Prolific Poster John Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perhaps one small step to popularise Proton

    One of the first things I do when purchasing something is to look for a review. A quick search showed just one and that referred to the 50 line limit of the free edition of many years ago.
    I for one will start the ball rolling by committing to put a review on my website by the end of the month.
    Another idea that is a bit beyond me is to write a comparitive article showing speed, ease of programming, and tightness of code Proton versus the rest. Silicon Chip is widely read and would be a good choice for publication
    John

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