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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  3684 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Design+code: Learn iOS design and Xcode (I love everything about this story, the site design, etc)

    I really like this program but it hasn't been supported in years and while the developer will still take your money, he won't answer your questions. I'd like to make something like that work but I have no idea how.

Writing an application like that is almost certainly an overly ambitious first project. If you really want to try it, though, here goes. For GIS stuff I second veen's recommendation of Python, or PostGIS. You will want to learn SQL anyway if you're dealing with largish datasets, and in GIS you are. The python docs are a fine introduction to the language if you already know a little (knowing Pascal already is at least a little). I don't know an introduction to SQL that doesn't suck. You'll want GDAL. GIS: A Computing Perspective is a good introduction to GIS, 3D Engine Design for Virtual Globes would probably be helpful for a project like this (caveat: I've read the latter, but not tried to implement anything from it. Google Earth serves my needs.) You probably want a good introduction to graphics programming too, but I'm not familiar with any written since using programmable pipelines became mandatory rather than an advanced feature. Getting started with graphics is going to be a lot harder now than it was when I did it, which wasn't all that long ago.

If you're happy just overlaying over GoogleEarth, KML is ugly but well documented, and saves you from actually having to draw your globes. Then you just need to slurp up the data you want and spew it out into a KML document. Python is excellent for that sort of thing. GDAL and the xml.dom.minidom module will do most of the work for you.

    For that matter, my NAS ate all my MP3s and my Mini server hasn't been talking to Time Machine in the correct language for months so in order to restore 300GB of music I'm forced to mutter incantations into the terminal window with about as much understanding of what I'm doing as a Cargo Cult member has of Latin.

The Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook, by the late great Evi Nemeth. Between it and the man pages (which will be less unhelpful after reading it) you should be able to make sense of whatever blog posts full of incantations you find. And then realize how many blog posts full of incantations are cargo culting themselves.

kleinbl00  ·  3684 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Writing an application like that is almost certainly an overly ambitious first project.

No doubt. The goal wasn't to say "I feel like tackling these projects" but to say "these are the things in my life that make me regret my paucity of programming skillz."

So it sounds like I need to dip my toes in Python and perhaps buy the Nemeth book. Amazon sez you can rent it; first I've seen that.


user-inactivated  ·  3684 days ago  ·  link  ·  

"Overly ambitious" doesn't necessarily mean not worth playing with. Generally, the only thing a failed software project costs you is time, and you'll probably learn a lot about the problem while failing to solve it, so if you want to learn more about a problem and have the time to burn, trying an overly ambitious project can be a good idea. You just don't want to do it expecting to get something that works out of it.

    Amazon sez you can rent it; first I've seen that

They do it with textbooks, technical books and most books from academic publishers. I think they're trying to compete with university bookstores for students who would usually sell their books back at the end of the semester.