Teams / VStar Software Development

VStar Software Development

Citizen Sky is now officially permanent part of the AAVSO. In the coming weeks we will be moving additional content to the AAVSO site and freezing this site as an archive of the 1st three years of the project. Please visit the new landing page for future updates.

Citizen Sky

Welcome to the VStar Software Development Team! 

VStar is a multi-platform, easy-to-use variable star data visualization and analysis tool. Data for a star can be read from a file or AAVSO database and plotted on a light curve along with mean data and error bars. Phase plots can be created and basic period search functions can be performed.

I'm David Benn (pictured on right at CitizenSky in August 2009), the lead developer of VStar in collaboration with the fine folks at AAVSO. I wrote a blog entry that provides background context and some details about VStar.

Michael Umbricht (pictured at left) has played a key role in the early testing of VStar. He wrote this Forum post soon after the CitizenSky workshop.

VStar is still very much a work in progress but is being implemented in phases, as described in my blog post above.

Contributions by developers, testers, technical writers, user interface designers, and artists (e.g. About Box images) are encouraged. One of the most underestimated aspects of software projects tends to be effort required in testing, so please feel free to volunteer to test VStar. The more platforms we test on, the better: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris.
 

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Sleepless Nights

I was able to attend Grant Foster's excellent Astro April talk about uncertainty in determining minima/maxima. Now I'm keen to implement Lowess fit functionality in VStar.

I had intended to get to the last talk about Zooniverse, but just could not quite get up for a 4:30am start. Grant's talk was at around 1:30am, which was okay, given my usual nocturnal nature, although I was a bit sick around that time so even that was a bit of a push. :)

But, last night I went back and listened to the last talk and Rebecca's award announcements section at the end. I was delighted and amused to hear that I had been awarded a "Sleepless Nights" award! Thanks Rebecca, and I suspect others at AAVSO. :)

Yes, I've lost a lot of sleep since May 2009. But I've gained so much by being part of Citizen Sky, by becoming an AAVSO member, and in particular, by developing VStar. Read more

VStar 2.13 testing release 7

Dear VStar Team Members,

Once again, David has come through with a new and improved version of VStar. No doubt, he can say more about it in a separate post, but with this version he has taken care of a number of bugs and cleaned up a few interface issues. (The ChangeLog is attached below.) To get this release, please click here:

http://www.aavso.org/files/vstar/test_version/vstar.jnlp Read more

Version 2.10 Release

Hi All,

Version 2.10 has been released as David's Christmas present to us all!

Enjoy.Read more

Panning problem fixed!

David has now fixed the up/down panning problem, corrected a bug associated with selecting an observation, and released another version of VStar for you to test:

http://www.aavso.org/files/vstar/test_version/vstar.jnlp

If you have any time to check it out, we would greatly appreciate it since we would like to do a more formal release later today or early tomorrow (depending on your time zone!)

Thanks!
SaraRead more

Left/Right Panning Problem?

Is anyone else having trouble with the new left or right panning buttons? They don't seem to be doing anything. The up/down ones on the other hand work great.

This is what I did:

- selected a star from the AAVSO Database (Gamma Cas) and loaded the default JD range.
- zoomed in on a small portion of the light curve
- clicked the left or right panning buttons (nothing happened)

I am using a PC with WinXP and Java 1.6.0_22

This actually brings up a larger question... Does anyone see the need for up/down panning at all? In the kind of work I do with light curves, I have never felt the need for it, but it would be interesting to hear other people's thoughts on this. Other than this small thing, I haven't found any other problems.

Thanks David! Your testing procedures documentation is fantastic.Read more

VStar Testing Document

Hi all

Thanks Sara, for deploying version 2.10 for testing.

I realise it's getting towards the end of the year, but a couple of days of any testing you can manage would be appreciated so we can give AAVSO a Christmas gift. :)

I have written a Testing VStar document that I hope will help guide everyone regarding how to approach the testing activity.

It's attached to this post.

You can always get the latest version here:

http://vstar.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/vstar/trunk/doc/plan/

Please feel free to ask questions and make suggestions re: this document. As you will see when you read it, there is plenty of scope for you to contribute to it.

Regards,

DavidRead more

VStar Version 2.10 is ready for testing

Hi All, As David mentioned in his last post, we would greatly appreciate it if you would put on your VStar Software Development Team Member hat for a little bit and take a look at the latest version (2.10) which you can get by clicking here:

http://www.aavso.org/files/vstar/test_version/vstar.jnlp Read more

The VStar Team as an AAVSO staging post?

Hi all

Something I will say more about in the near future is that I think the Citizen Sky VStar team can play an important role in acting as a test staging area for VStar releases to AAVSO members.

As Sara has mentioned, VStar is getting a higher level of visibility within AAVSO and is downloadable here:

  http://www.aavso.org/vstar-overview

What I'm proposing is that when a new version of VStar is released here, it should undergo a period of testing by us before being released to AAVSO members, in order to provide a higher quality release to a wider audience.

This might mean that if too many problems are found with a particular release here on Citizen Sky, that release might not be propagated to AAVSO.Read more

VStar Plug-in Library

Hi All, I just wanted to let you know that I recently created a new page on the AAVSO website that contains information on plug-ins:

http://www.aavso.org/vstar-plugin-library Read more

VStar Presentation

VStar was on the road again! This time it was at the AAVSO Annual Meeting held in Woburn Massachusetts on October 29th - 30th. I gave a demo on VStar, David joined us by Skype, and Doug Welch described how he and David worked together to create a plug-in which makes it possible to load SuperWASP data. It was great to seeRead more

VStar Version 2.9 Deployed

With this latest and greatest version of VStar, David cleared up several annoying bugs - mostly related to plug-ins and locale-sensitive number parsing. Thanks very much to VStar Team members Bikeman and Doug Welch for communicating the problems and sticking with it as solutions were tried, tested and tested again. The team spirit is alive and well with VStar!Read more

Another Release - Version 2.8

The only change here is the addition of Nico's beautiful new icons! Thank you Nico and everyone who helped pick these. They look great and came just in time for my talk tomorrow at the AAVSO Annual meeting.

Java WebStart problem with VStar 2.7?

Hi all

Is anyone seeing a Java WebStart problem when downloading VStar 2.7?

In particular, the symptom is that although VStar appears to load just fine via WebStart, as usual, it fails to render the main window after clicking the "allow access" button on the certificate dialog box.

Sara and I have observed this on two specific Mac OS X (10.6.4) machines. Other Macs have not exhibited the problem, and I have not seen the problem under Ubuntu Linux.

WebStart cache clearing and reboots have been tried. Enabling the Java console shows a "no class definition found error" relating to VStar's MainFrame class.

Sara is going to redeploy the relevant jar files to try to rectify the problem.

Let us know if you are seeing a similar problem.

Thanks.

Regards,

David

ps - Nico's toolbar icons will make it into the next release, probably sooner than you may think. :)Read more

VStar Version 2.7 Release (goodbye "Beta"!)

Another great release of VStar - thank you David! The big news about this release is that logging on is now only required for reporting discrepant observations to the AAVSO and for observer code retrieval when the dataset has been loaded from the AAVSO International Database. This should make it easier for us to share this wonderful program with our friends from the AAVSO and further afield who are not yet part of Citizen Sky (but might be intrigued by it). It also makes your life easier... See the ChangeLog for more.

Not Over Yet... or yeah?

Thanks to everybody who has posted a comment. I'm happy so many of you have participated and contributed, hopefully it was a fun distraction from your daily work load.

We are still casting votes, and some of you didn't choose for some of the icons. Also, if you've changed your mind on any of the icons please say so —maybe they've marinated a little.

Regardless, I think we might have reached a consensus on most, this is how the standing are:

1) Library (though, the "oil barrel" was close and a database icon usually looks like these "disks," maybe David should decide this icon's fate.)

6) Zeros & Ones (I might rework this one in the near future, I just thought everyone would get a kick out of the piece of meat and placed all my eggs in that basket —didn't mean to offend, it was a light-hearted icon I thought most would find it humorous at the very least.)Read more

Documentation and introduction

I wanted to say hello to everyone, as I'm a new member of the team and a new observer for thanks to Citizen Sky and the AAVSO for a year now. When Aaron put up his blog post talking about the VStar team and how David had said there was a need for documentation writers. I thought to myself, "heck, I think I can do that" and requested to join the team. Then I thought once again to myself, "what did I get myself into"?!

I'm interested in learning about data analysis myself and the 5-star tutorial is a great start in learning how to use VStar but there are still things unanswered because it is a deep subject. Having talked with David about this, he suggested I post here in the team area to see if anyone else would be interested in helping out with documentation. Read more

Vote Decision 2010

Hi team, David needed a little help with the 12 toolbar icons for VStar and I came up with these ideas. There are 6 icons, plus the navigation arrows, that I though were pretty straight forward and only made one of each. For the other 6 icons he needs, there are more than one other choice. Please let me know your opinion. Thanks! –Nico

SuperWASP FITS file plugin for VStar

Hi all

Doug Welch recently suggested that a worthy observation source plug-in for VStar would be SuperWASP, a FITS file format.

I wrote an initial cut of the plug-in several days ago and Doug gave lots of useful feedback, so it's been through a few more iterations.

Go here to find out more about SuperWASP:

* http://www.wasp.le.ac.uk/public/index.php
* http://www.wasp.le.ac.uk/public/lc/index.php

I might leave it up to Doug to say more about SuperWASP if he wants to.

You can view the source code for this plug-in here:

http://vstar.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/vstar/trunk/plugin/src/org/aavso...

The plug-in development document will tell you how to turn it into a jar file that can be moved into the VStar plug-ins directory:

http://vstar.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/vstar/trunk/plugin/doc/

The built jar file can be made available for any of the plug-ins under:Read more

Feature Suggestion

Great news on enabling discrepant point flagging to AAVSO in today's release!

Might I suggest a small feature that Zapper has that would be handy to have in VStar, and that's the ability to navigate left and right in the time domain at whatever zoom level you happen to be at in VStar. Now, I have to zoom in on a particular part of the light curve, then zoom all the way out and zoom back in to move along through a curve. Zapper's left-right move buttons make that much easier.

v/r,

Jim B.Read more

VStar version 2.6 Beta release

Thanks to the ongoing outstanding efforts of our fearless leader, David Benn, there is now a new version of VStar available for download. This version features additional plug-in capability and lots more documentation on that and other things. Also, if you see a discrepant observation and would like to let someone at the AAVSO know about it, you simply need to click on that observation, click the checkbox labelled "Discrepant?" in the observation details window, and send it on.

The easy-to-read documentation for how to create a plug-in can be found here: http://www.aavso.org/data/software/vstar/doc/vstar_plugin_dev.pdf

David has also done extensive JavaDocs for VStar, which you can get here:
http://www.aavso.org/data/software/vstar/doc/vstar_docs/Read more

VStar Software Development

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