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Shoes project: Helperdeck, a DIY electronics build helper

Shoes project: Helperdeck, a DIY electronics build helper

From:
Kristleifur Daðason
Date:
2009-11-21 @ 09:26
Hi,

I just want to announce a small project, badly written in shoes, that just
entered beta testing.

Helperdeck is a small open-source application to help in building DIY
electronics. It's free and open-source at Github [1]. This is how the
program looks right now <http://img208.imageshack.us/i/helperdeck.png/>:
http://img208.imageshack.us/i/helperdeck.png/

Helperdeck is a small open-source application to help in building DIY
electronics. It shows you a window with the circuit board you're soldering,
plus windows for bags of components, schematics and build stages. Everything
is correlated: You can click on the board and see what component fits where,
and you can click in the bags to see where those components go on the board.
The schematic is also correlated with the board. Building is much faster,
easier and more fun with better information and less parts hunting. Should
also be useful to teach kids or yourself about DIY electronics.

To download and try, get the Helperdeck tarball [2]. Unzip. Then open the
Shoes, select "Open App ..." and open *helperdeck.rb* ...

Some windows will open up - the board, the bags, build-stage lists, and some
extra windows. (It's a little cluttered on startup right now, and the Amp15
build help needs quite a bit of screen space. Also, at the moment, build
help datapack is only available for the 41Hz Amp15 hi-fi amplifier DIY kit
[3].) Try clicking on the component rectangles in the board windows - a
component will light up in a bag window. It also goes vice versa: Click in a
bag, and all board positions that take that part will light up. Also the
build stage windows are pretty cool - In the current Amp15 datapack they
show you what components make up some power regulator stages.

The Amp15 build-help pack is created directly from the 41Hz kit files (the
BOM etc.). The data is in YAML, and it's going to be easy to add almost any
DIY electronics kit or project to Helperdeck.

The source code repository is at Github [1]. I'm slowly adding to it. Help
would be welcome; Suggestions, comments, criticism also welcome. Also,
comments on my presentation very welcome - I need people to "get it"
immediately. If I'm being complicated, circumlocutuous or wordy, tell me.

Thanks!

-- Kristleifur


[1] http://github.com/AnthonBerg/helperdeck
[2] 
http://github.com/AnthonBerg/helperdeck/zipball/master<http://projects.metafilter.com/2316/Helperdeck-DIY-buildassist-app>
[3] http://www.41hz.com/shop/item.asp?itemid=15

Re: Shoes project: Helperdeck, a DIY electronics build helper

From:
i5m
Date:
2009-12-07 @ 10:42
Hi  Kristleifur,

sorry for the long delay in replying.

I downloaded and tried this on Windows XP. It opens up and works, but like
you say it is a little cluttered so I wasn't really sure what to try.


   - Shoes 2/Raisins, rev 1134, Opens and works perfectly - nice job on the
   highlighting and animation!
   - Shoes 3/Policeman rev 1270, built with Ruby 1.9. Opens, highlighting
   half works: clicking on an item on board highlights, but doesn't highlight
   in bag, nor vice versa. No animation on highlights. Generates a lengthy
   error message that starts:


undefined method `clearSelections' for (Shoes::App @main_app=(Pro ||)...


Let me know if there is anything specific you'd like me to test. Some more
comments below:


On Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 9:26 AM, Kristleifur Daðason
<kristleifur@gmail.com>wrote:

>
> Some windows will open up - the board, the bags, build-stage lists, and
> some extra windows. (It's a little cluttered on startup right now, and the
> Amp15 build help needs quite a bit of screen space.


Is there anyway you could combine some of the windows? I.e, put the bags all
in one window and the stages in one window.



> Try clicking on the component rectangles in the board windows - a component
> will light up in a bag window. It also goes vice versa: Click in a bag, and
> all board positions that take that part will light up.


This is excellent. Well done. I like how the highlight animates to help you
find it.



> Also the build stage windows are pretty cool - In the current Amp15
> datapack they show you what components make up some power regulator stages.
>

Again, this is really good.



Kind regards,

i5m


-----------------------
i5m.co.uk
GPG Key: 0xA18A602B

Re: Shoes project: Helperdeck, a DIY electronics build helper

From:
Kristleifur Daðason
Date:
2009-12-07 @ 12:01
Thanks a mil. for the reply! All your comments were pretty great.


On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 10:42 AM, i5m <i5ivem@googlemail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 9:26 AM, Kristleifur Daðason <kristleifur@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>>
>> Some windows will open up - the board, the bags, build-stage lists, and
>> some extra windows. (It's a little cluttered on startup right now, and the
>> Amp15 build help needs quite a bit of screen space.
>
> Is there anyway you could combine some of the windows? I.e, put the bags all
> in one window and the stages in one window.
>

Yep, true. This really needs to be done. Perhaps all the bags as
collapsible stacks in a big flow. Perhaps the bags optionally
auto-unfold as something highlights components in them. Or perhaps
closed bags just pulsate when something in them is selected. Ha! This
will be fun: A crazy-springs funhouse of expanding, pulsating and
contracting bag lists. It will be either fun or terribly distracting
:)


> This is excellent. Well done. I like how the highlight animates to help you
> find it.

It almost surprises me how pleasant it is to know that you noticed
this. That was exactly what I intended the animation to do.


Again, thanks for having a look. Truly appreciated.


-- Kristleifur