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Unread 06-07-2003, 10:29 PM
Mike Alighieri Mike Alighieri is offline
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Exclamation New programming language next year?

OK, now nobody flip out... but well, I've heard we're getting a new Controller next year. Got announced at a meeting last week. And they won't comment on whether or not it uses PBASIC. Perhaps Java? Who knows, but I say they should leave it as is. We're used to PBASIC! We can adapt either way though. Has anyone else heard about this?
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Unread 06-07-2003, 10:44 PM
Dave Flowerday Dave Flowerday is offline
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It was announced at the Team Forums that there would indeed be a new robot controller, and it would use a new programming language.

The FIRST representatives also indicated that teams would be made aware of this language in the fall in order to prepare for it.

Of course, as with everything in FIRST, this could all change.
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Unread 06-07-2003, 11:24 PM
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I just pray it is C++

That's what it should be anyway
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Unread 06-07-2003, 11:25 PM
Mike Alighieri Mike Alighieri is offline
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Thanks for the clear-up

Thanks to Dave Flowerday for clearing up the issue of the new language being a rumor. FIRST has good minds behind it though, and I trust them to make a good choice. I suppose the biggest question will be whether or not it's similar to PBASIC or more object oriented. Any opinions? P.S. if anyone wants some old PBASIC code from this year, then drop me a line at BonsaiMagpie@aol.com. I worked on autonomous and came up with some pretty nifty stuff. Good bit of code for potentiometer matching with incorporated motor ramping.
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Unread 06-07-2003, 11:36 PM
Ian W. Ian W. is offline
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Object oriented is good. It's nice and happy and easy to use . Well, at least after two years of C++ and two weeks of Java (Applets).
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Unread 06-08-2003, 12:38 AM
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They never acctually verifed gettinga new controller, they said somthing about IFI possible creating a new robot controller for next year, they never said it was 100%
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Unread 06-08-2003, 02:10 AM
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If they do, C++ would be a likely choice.
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Unread 06-08-2003, 02:51 AM
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All I heard from the FIRST representative was that IFI has been upgrading the control system, and should be releasing information about the changes within the next month or two. Nothing was said about a new language.

All we can do, at this point, is wait.

/me reloads IFI's website looking for any sign of news.
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Unread 06-08-2003, 08:21 AM
Dave Flowerday Dave Flowerday is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by "Big Mike"
They never acctually verifed gettinga new controller, they said somthing about IFI possible creating a new robot controller for next year, they never said it was 100%
Well, I suppose it depends on which forum you went to. I believe the quote from the Illinois forum was "There will be a new robot controller next year."

Personally, my guess is that it won't use PBASIC, simply because we're already using the fastest BASIC Stamp. C++ isn't very realistic for a low-cost embedded microcontroller. Too much overhead, and too much code space required. C might happen, but honestly I think that would be just too complicated for a good percentage of teams to deal with (teams that don't have software types as mentors, and don't have any students who already know it). I can only hope they don't use Java (I've never used a Java program that didn't feel slow and bloated, and I imagine a microcontroller based implementation wouldn't be much better).

I would expect so see something like the BasicX chip: for one thing, it's pin-compatible with the current controller, meaning IFI could probably drop it in to their current control system with no other hardware changes. It uses a dialect of BASIC, which is nice for inexperienced teams. It has 400 bytes of RAM and executes 65,000 instructions/second versus the BS2SX's 10,000.

Anyway, this is all speculation on my part. I believe we really will see a new user CPU next year, but like I said before, it's all up in the air until you hear the official announcement.
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Unread 06-08-2003, 09:23 AM
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Just based on a previous conversation with a FIRST staff member, I don't think IFI will settle for "only" a 6.5x increase in speed.

I agree that C++ is not a likely choice. In my mind, it will either be C (the most popular microcontroller language) or java (the current most popular teaching language). Considering that AP CS is switching from C++ to Java this year only makes me think that they are less likely to use C++.
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Unread 06-08-2003, 05:04 PM
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I know that a few years ago Eric from FIRST was interested in allowing either C or Java programming to be used for programming the robot controller. However, at the time, he was adamant that any change of language would be an "in addition to" PBasic and not a replacement.

My bet would be that we'll switch to Java as there is a JStamp out there that's almost pin compatible and runs Java.

Matt
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Unread 06-08-2003, 05:30 PM
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I hope it's C. I know that language decent.

Java is C++ for the internet in my opinion. They are both OOP.
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Unread 06-08-2003, 08:11 PM
Ian W. Ian W. is offline
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if i can do regular math (with none of the crazy MAX/MIN/adding 2000 to each equation) i'll be happy.

if i can store more variables easier, i'll be even happier.

if it runs at a respectable speed, i'll be very happy.

the problem is, if FIRST wants more autonomy, we need better controllers. it looks like it's going that way.

one other interesting point that was brought to my attention today...

We presented our robot at a local fair-type day (main street is closed, vendors set up shop, everyone has a good time). many people, when corrected about the FIRST/BB issue , asked about the controller. When I explained how we were forced to use the IFI one, many people said, "oh, that's dumb, you can't do anything with it." which brings me to my point, that being, with this new controller, will we have more options on the EE/SE side, similar to what the MEs have already?
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Unread 06-08-2003, 09:08 PM
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C++ is more likely then Java. Even though Java is coming around for embedded applications C and C++ are more common. Of course if I have my choice it would be C# but that's unlikely. I think it will still be some sort of BASIC though. BASIC rocks.
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Unread 06-09-2003, 01:32 AM
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PYTHON!!!
(I can"t code much more than a "Hello World," but I like python and the nerds I deal with dig it too.)
Anyone know how python compares to these others as a potential language for small robot controllers [in general, not just for FIRST next year]?

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