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OpenRocket should be a web app

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neil_w

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OpenRocket should be a web app. There, I said it.

I love the program and it also drives me crazy. There is nothing in the program that couldn't be implemented straightforwardly in JavaScript with a server back end. Here are just a few reasons why it would be better:

  1. Instant mobile support - I expect there is zero chance of ever seeing a mobile-based rocket sim program, but code it as a web app using mobile-friendly libraries and there it is, on Android and iOS.
  2. Access to all your designs, from anywhere - At the field, I could pull out my phone and check on something. Right now I put my designs on DropBox, but I still have to have the program installed on each machine.
  3. Easier design sharing - Just like every other on-line design software, it would be easy to share designs with others. How cool would it be to have access to a large library of designs right from within the program?
  4. Java sucks - enough said
  5. Easier library management - Additions to the part and motor library would instantly be available to all users. The motor library could be linked to Thrustcurve.org on the back end.
  6. Ways to make money - Free and paid tiers are easy to imagine. I don't think it would ever make anyone rich (or necessarily even support anyone as a full-time job), but it could at least (I think) offset the hosting costs. I'd pay a yearly fee to get access to this, no problem.
  7. Chance to redo the UI - Oh, it needs redoing so badly. Web app would be a chance for a clean sheet.
  8. As a web app, it would still be possible to import and export OR and Rocksim files, so no problem there.

How I wish I had time to undertake this.
 

Cabernut

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(puts on programmer hat)
Personally I prefer Java to JavaScript but either way, if this were my project, I would find it easier to just start over. I tinker with the source here and there in Eclipse and have tried making a few of my own modifications but with a code base that large, I forsee only headaches trying to muck with it on such a large scale.

Better to leave it as-is.
I am however, tempted to try and take the PC source code base, cram it into an touchscreen-focused Android UI. After all, Android natively supports Java so much of the code could be(should be) re-used without much modification.
 

Derek

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or for android does exist but it is a couple of versions behind.
 

neil_w

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Java is fine for server-side but it's horrible for client-side. It didn't have to be that way, but that's how it ended up. In any case, I'd think that some of the Java portions of the codebase (simulation, file import/export, etc.) could still be used on the server side of a web app.

The UI needs a rewrite anyway. Quite a lot of it is simple forms that could be implemented quickly, while some other areas would take some serious work. Good luck on the Android port if you try it; I can't imagine the current UI on a mobile device but maybe it'd be better than nothing.

Anyhoo, this is all just thought experiment. I have no time to undertake such a thing and have my doubts that anyone else will either. I just think it could such a great application as a web app, for all the reasons given at the top of the thread.
 

woferry

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An online version might be handy in certain cases, but for those of us who launch at sites where there's absolutely no internet (Black Rock for example) having something to run locally on your computer is a must. Personally I'm quite happy with OR just the way it is, though I do all of my designing/sims on a single computer and it's the same computer I take to launches, so I wouldn't get any benefit over having any of my data 'in the cloud' anyhow.
 

rharshberger

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An online version might be handy in certain cases, but for those of us who launch at sites where there's absolutely no internet (Black Rock for example) having something to run locally on your computer is a must. Personally I'm quite happy with OR just the way it is, though I do all of my designing/sims on a single computer and it's the same computer I take to launches, so I wouldn't get any benefit over having any of my data 'in the cloud' anyhow.

+1 this, I like apps that are not dependent on internet connections to work.
 

rocketgeek101

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An online version might be handy in certain cases, but for those of us who launch at sites where there's absolutely no internet (Black Rock for example) having something to run locally on your computer is a must. Personally I'm quite happy with OR just the way it is, though I do all of my designing/sims on a single computer and it's the same computer I take to launches, so I wouldn't get any benefit over having any of my data 'in the cloud' anyhow.
+2. OR works as it is, and web apps in my experience don't run that smoothly anyway. Also, to the OP: what's so wrong with the UI? Yes, a few things could be improved (motor selection process for example), but for the most part I find it to be very good.
 

TopRamen

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Thankfully, my Mindsim works anywhere and does not even require an internet connection.
 

CORZERO

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Thankfully, my Mindsim works anywhere and does not even require an internet connection.
+1

Roger that. There is a lot to be said about intuition. Unfortunately not all people had the advantage of developing much of it during their formative years.
 

cerving

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The whole Java client-server model (and other similar plugins) are horrible for online use because they use a ton of bandwidth, and by definition you have to have an executable run-time interpreter on your computer. I don't even want to go into all the security issues that Java has had over the years. That's why client-server died in the early 2000's... keeping the client updated to match the server is a never-ending battle, and they don't play well over a WAN. A solution for this for private (i.e. non-Internet) apps is to use something like Terminal Server so everything is on the same LAN, but that's a band-aid that has its own set of problems. It's MUCH better to have the server(s) do all the work, then there's only one place to update the software and the only traffic that you're sending over the wire is HTML. Open Rocket is basically a standalone app that happens to be written in Java, the only thing that putting it online would do would be to get you updates to the program automatically, but their software already does that anyway so there's probably nothing to be gained by it.
 

Buckeye

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I don't waste precious flying time at the field running elaborate sims. I run the sims at home beforehand. I can see a TARC or NAR competitor needing to update precise weather conditions into a software on the field. For sport flyers, however, this would be overkill. At most, I will pull up Thrustcurve to double check the altitude and optimum delay for a motor offered by an on-site vendor. I can do this on my mobile or through WiFi on my Chevy truck!

Agreed on the clunky motor selection in OR. (This is why Thrustcurve is a godsend. It allows you to easily sort through the bazillion motor choices.) The UI is a knock-off of RockSim, which is pretty long in the tooth. Maybe there is better design.
 

CzTeacherMan

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Thankfully, my Mindsim works anywhere and does not even require an internet connection.
Just you wait... Mindsim 2.1.3.7 is being released soon, and I hear rumours that it's moving to a cloud based system....... ;-)
 

noffie79

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There's an app available for iOS users with an iPhone or iPad. It's called "Rocket Calculator". There are no designs and you can't save data to it, but it'll give you rough estimates on quite a few things. I've had it do some sims that were almost identical to OR, and some have been different. The motor data base is a tad outdated, but I've found it to be a very useful app. I'll share some screenshots...ImageUploadedByRocketry Forum1458925520.948301.jpgImageUploadedByRocketry Forum1458925529.262948.jpg
The sim I just posted is an estimate of my L2 rocket, a Madcow 4" PAC-3 that is almost finished. This sim is about 400 feet different than OR, so I trust it enough to get the job done in a pinch.
 
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Charles_McG

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Given how many 'what do you think of this design' threads we see, I'm thinking there are already alpha testers out there using MindSim with CloudThink.
 

JohnCoker

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There's an app available for iOS users with an iPhone or iPad. It's called "Rocket Calculator".
There's also an iPhone/Android app I've written that works against the ThrustCurve.org motor database, but allows you to save motor guide results and favorite motors locally for reference in the field. It looks less comprehensive than Rocket Calculator, focusing just on motor selection, but might be useful as well.
www.thrustcurve.org/mobile.shtml
 

noffie79

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There's also an iPhone/Android app I've written that works against the ThrustCurve.org motor database, but allows you to save motor guide results and favorite motors locally for reference in the field. It looks less comprehensive than Rocket Calculator, focusing just on motor selection, but might be useful as well.
www.thrustcurve.org/mobile.shtml
I have your app and have used it a few times to look up motors, but haven't fully explored all of its features. I sure hope you don't think I was excluding your product! It's because of your "Building your first level 1 rocket" video that I certified with a LOC IV using your techniques! Thanks for all of your knowledge and sharing with us.
 
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