Recently I’ve come across some FRC-software training videos that show instructor working in Mac OS. (WPI RobotBuilder training videos for example)
This caught my attention as our school is a Mac school. Not only are our labs set up with macs but many of our team members use mac laptops for their school work.
It would open up some broader teaching opportunities for me as mentor if we could download and run all, or at least some, of the FRC-related software on Mac OS.
I assume some tools can be, such as Eclipse, but I’d appreciate a quick list of what can and can not as I’ve received conflicting info.
Which FRC software tools related to Robot Control System/Programming can run natively on Mac OS?
What are the downsides of using Mac OS for those programs that do work?
Eclipse and all of WPI’s tools that come with it seem to work fine. The only issue with Mac is the fact that FRC Driver Station is not supported. There are some third party solutions to this but they can only be used at home and not at a competition.
I personally like to code our Robot on my Mac and I have not encountered any problems aside from the fact that Driver Station is not supported.
I suspect it is because a majority of teams use Windows. If you’re using Java, then there really isn’t much difference between Windows and OSX anyways. However, if you’re using C++, you would need to install the right compiler – which I’m pretty sure is available, but I’m not 100% sure where the instructions to do so are.
The conflicting information I’ve received is not in the FRC documentation per se but from conversations with members of area teams.
When one reads through the screenstepslive documentation it requires some digging to find any references to non-Windows OS compatibility.
What would be useful for me, and I suspect for other mentors who are in a position of trying to integrate FRC into high school science curriculum is a more global summary of what OS can be used for which tools. And I imagine that such a summary would be especially helpful for any mentor who finds themselves dropped into the responsibility of starting a rookie team especially if the mentor has limited programming/software experience.
The suite of software has grown over the years and certainly it must be intimidating to many newcomers who are trying to get their first robot up and running. Directly addressing the topic of OS at the front end of documentation would be helpful.
It would be good to have this early in the documentation such as at the start of the “2017 Software Component Overview”.
Perhaps this touches on a larger question of how FIRST approaches FRC as a learning tool that can be adopted by existing school science programs. I’m not sure where such documentation should exist, but some kind of handbook that addresses common challenges, and solutions, of integrating FRC into existing high school tech environments would be helpful. Perhaps it exists already from FIRST, or perhaps a mentor/team has compiled such a document.