Saturday, July 9, 2011

Latest Thoughts on QubLib

I wasn't able to work on QubLib very much this week, and any work that I did put in went to my data structures. I did some thinking about how the STL and QubLib could work together, but that's a topic for another day when I do something with it. Today, I think I'll talk briefly about a long term goal.
One thing that I'm sure we've all noticed lately is the increase in platforms that are actually making money in today's world. Ten or fifteen years ago, for the most part everything was Windows. If you developed software that was intended to run on Windows you were pretty much guaranteed a large pool of potential customers. However, with the advent of smartphones, the game is a little different now. People still use their PCs, which now may be either a Windows or a Mac. Linux is a viable option, but I just don't ever see it becoming a mainstream operating system like Windows and OS X. However, humor me and imagine that developing for a Linux system is important. That means that you have three desktop platforms that you have to develop for. Then, people go ahead and decide that they want their smartphones to be able to communicate and share data with their desktops. Did I mention that they want to be able to do it regardless of what they're running on the desktop or their smartphone? So, if a smartphone could run Palm OS, Symbian, Android, or iOS, it doesn't matter. All of those should be able to talk with your Windows, OS X, or Linux desktop. If you approach this problem with a system agnostic data transfer approach, then maybe using bluetooth or the internet you can transfer data no problem, but data transfer isn't the real issue. The real issue is software development. How on earth are you supposed to have a system that runs on each of those desktop and smartphone platforms, and then how are you supposed to be able to keep those systems in sync with each other? Oh, and did I mention that the programs have to be written in different languages? Android runs Java, iOS runs Objective-C, and Symbian runs something... I'm not really sure yet which is the most viable option, but right now I think they operate best with Qt C++.
This is a future goal of mine. If a person develops something with QubLib in C++ and they don't use any of the special features of a language that aren't common to other languages, then it really shouldn't be too difficult to do cross-language compilation. That way, a person would be able to develop their software in Java for Android systems, and then push the button and their Objective-C and C++ versions are automatically generated. It's a long shot, but I think it's possible. I know that systems similar to this work on projects like the Unreal Engine used for game development, but those systems force the developer to program in the Unreal Scripting language, and then the system will convert the scripting language to the platform dependent code. Why can't I program in what I'm familiar in? Why can't I develop in C++ and have Java code pop out the other end?
It's days like this that I wish that I didn't have to work for a living. Anyways, that's all for today. Keep coding!

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