Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Ok.  After a long day in the trenches I have the OSX version almost back to running and with all of the targeted improvements in place.  There is a good bit of glue code that still needs to be put in place (for key presses and mouse movements and such), but the fundamentals seem to be working.

The basic idea behind what I did is this:
  1. Move to a Document Type manager - using abstract factories, each document type (think Part, Assembly, Visualization, etc) registers themselves and passes a factory.  Then when anyone asks the Wildcat kernel (also a new class) for a document of a particular type it can then create it.
  2. Move to a core OpenGL context - when the kernel starts it creates its own OpenGL context which can then be used to see what the capabilities of the graphics card are much more easily.  This core context is now shared with each document thus greatly reducing document creation time and graphics memory overhead.  Big improvements should come from this.
  3. Building on 1 & 2 - once I moved to this new kernel arrangement I was able to clear a lot of cruft out and clean up the platform independent side of things.  This obviously has a direct impact on the platform specific code and that is what is going to take some clean up work.  But that is for tomorrow!
Hope some of this makes sense.  These are things I have wanted to do for a while and the nearly daily emails asking if such and such a graphics card is supported finally put me over the edge and I decided to just jump in and do it.

Check back in next week and hopefully things will be back up and running fully.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Think I Broke It

I decided to make some fundamental changes to the underlying way in which the Wildcat kernel interacts with OpenGL.  On the plus side it will make things much cleaner and clearer moving forward.  On the minus side: a) there is still much work to be done to get this working on any platform, and b) while it is in a running state on the OS X side, the Win32/WX side is quite horribly broken.

While I have not tried compiling the WX project, I can save you some time.  I am oh so certain that I broke many things all over the place.  I hope to wrap up the OS X work tomorrow and start working on the WX code just after that.  The downside is that I have a trip planned from Wednesday through Monday, so if I don't resurrect things by the time I leave it will be broken through at least the weekend.  Sorry!

I will try my best to post an update tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Intersections and Testing

As you may have noticed, I am starting to check in some code for all of the outstanding geometric intersections.  There are nine that need to be tackled:
  • Surface-Point
  • Surface-Line
  • Surface-Curve
  • Surface-Surface
  • Trimmed Surface-Point
  • Trimmed Surface-Line
  • Trimmed Surface-Curve
  • Trimmed Surface-Surface
  • Trimmed Surface-Trimmed Surface
Some of these will be more challenging, some less.  In order to try out these routines I am also adding code to the Topological Union operation.  The goal is still full Boolean capabilities, but baby steps first.

Also, I have been playing around with some unit testing frameworks.  I would really like to get to the point where there is a nice automated unit testing suite for Wildcat.  Moving forward it will be necessary to regression test etc.  After spending some time looking at all of the open source unit testing frameworks out there I decided to adopt googletest.

There are a million and one testing frameworks out there.  My criteria were: simplicity, cross-platform, C++ support, and open source.  Googletest has most of the features I want with seemingly little overhead.  I should start checking in the initial tests I have written in the next few days.  They will be appearing under the Testing directory (makes sense huh?).


Monday, November 17, 2008

Still Here

It has been far too long since I posted any updates.  I apologize for this.  As some of you may know, my real job is as a graduate student.  I am pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science.  Obviously the end point for this process is writing and defending a dissertation.  One step before that is to propose the research you want to conduct.  

I am hoping to use much of the work already done in Wildcat as a large portion of my dissertation.  This would seem to benefit everyone.  I would get my degree and be able to move Wildcat forward at the same time.  My advisor is open to this idea, but I need to write up my proposal.  Writing this document is what is currently consuming me.  Sadly the proposal itself doesn't do much for Wildcat, it just talks about what I will eventually do.  I hope to wrap up the proposal in the next month or two, so please be patient.

Thanks to everyone who has tried Wildcat.   Your continued enthusiasm is great motivation.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Boolean Operations

Today's note is going to be quick.  Just two things...

First, on Wednesday Dan pushed out a Windows binary.  This is something that a large number of people have been asking for.  Well, he posted the binary and announced it and we haven't heard a thing since.  Has anyone tried it?  Please give us some feedback and let us know if it is working for you.

Second, I am staring in earnest on the Boolean operations code.  It is very interesting, but don't let anyone ever tell you that boundary classification and boolean operations are trivial.  Wow!  I am diving deep into the literature, but wow!  This is going to be a fun adventure.

Here are a couple of the key references I am working through:
  • "Set Membership Classification: A Unified Approach to Geometric Intersection Problems" by R.B. Tilove
  • "Boolean Operations in Solid Modeling: Boundary Evaluation and Merging Algorithms" by A. Requicha and H. Voelcker
  • "An Introduction to Solid Modeling" by M. Mantyla
There are a bunch more, but this is where I am starting.  You might start to see some code appear in the topology_* files, but I am focusing on Slice and Union for now.

Again, please let us know how the Windows version is working for you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

wxWidgets Wildcat.exe

I have added a zip file for Windows. It has Wildcat.exe, various dlls, and some picture files for the toolbar buttons. I don't know how to make an installer, so read the text file that gives you some extra instructions.

Scripting Support

On the Wildcat support forum we recently got a request to add support for the Lua scripting langauge.  If you have used Wildcat you know that currently no scripting languages are supported.  This is more an issue of having higher priorities than a lack of desire.  I am focused on getting the core modeling kernel up and running and Dan is working hard on the wx port and his own work.

I must admit that I have little background in scripting languages and have never embedded an scripting engine into any of my projects.  I fully understand the value of this and look forward to adding support in Wildcat.

To me the two crucial questions are:
  1. What scripting languages make sense to support?  There are so many possible languages out there that we can't possibly support them all.  Which ones do you all want?
  2. How can we make supporting a large set of scripting languages as easy as possible within the kernel?  I want to make it simple and straightforward to add support for a new language if someone want it.
The Lua requester has asked if we have object model documentation of Wildcat.  The simple answer is "No."  But, I have created a Doxygen configuration file that will generate a lot of very nice documentation automatically.  You can find this file in the source tree at "truck\Documentation\Developer\Doxyfile".  You may have to slightly edit some of the paths to account for your directory structure, but with this you can easily get object models and nice code docs.

Please let me know what else you need in order to try to add scripting to Wildcat.  I am more than happy to add in a Cocoa "script" window etc.  I am we can convince Dan to do this on WX also.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Slight Progress Update

Sorry for being quite lately.  I have been very busy with my real job, but we are still making progress with Wildcat.  The Windows build (using wxWidgets) looks great.  Dan has done a great job.  Thanks to him.

I have slowly been adding better support for serialization.  There are quite a few features that don't have full serialization support yet, so I have been adding that in.  My motivation for this is so that I can have a reference part to use for coding boolean operations.  It is much easier, and faster, to just have a file that is opened instead of re-creating the part each and every time. 

The next three weeks are going to be crazy busy with my job, so don't expect a lot of updates.  Check the SVN for progress.  Once we are through the middle of October thinks should be a bit better.  One thing we are still really looking for is someone willing to help coordinate the Linux port.  I think that Dan has done the heavy lifting getting the WX build running, so it should be pretty easy for someone with a linux background.  Let me know if you can help.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

tool bars

I have added tool bars to the wxWidgets version of Wildcat. They are defined by the existing text file "toolbar_manifest.xml".
They all start at the top left, at the moment. I have to drag them to place.
I need to store their position for next time and allow the user to turn them on and off from the menu. The tiff files are all defined upside down!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Graham, thanks for adding me as an author to your blog.
I am pleased you think wxWidgets is a good way forward for Wildcat.
It should mean that all user interface work can be done in one place, making the work easier, giving you more time to do the geometry stuff. The wxWidgets project I added is now as good for me as the MFC one. Hopefully more people will be able to build it, now that it can be built with Visual Studio 2008 Express. I'll add a toolbar next. The picture of me is from 5 minutes ago.