Monday, 28 May 2007

The future of SchafKopf

Someday SchafKopf has to be ported to KDE4. We all know that, but as of now, no one in the team has volunteered to do so (and no one else either).

One reason might be that we (Benni, Christian, Lenz and I) all agree that SchafKopf in its current state is not really maintainable. We hacked together a nice Card Game which is fun to play - but it is far away from the perfect Schafkopf implementation!

While driving home today, after I talked to Lenz over Schafkopf and Python I think it is time to start the discussion about what should be done with SchafKopf for KDE4.

My idea on how it should look - well this is most likely not even my idea but our idea that arose sometime - is the following.

  • We need a Schafkopf server process

  • Players can connect to this server

  • Human and AI players are implemented

  • The GUI connects to the server too

This has the following advantages. We can support different GUIs (Qt4, GTK, console and a web front end similar to all these online poker rooms - just for your favorite Bavarian card game). So we could write a simple Qt4 GUI (should go pretty fast because all logic is in the server) and have a KDE4 port.

The server can be implemented in another language than the GUI. As a reason we can choose a language that is maybe better suited for AI stuff than C++. My first idea was: Use Common Lisp! Two reasons: Firstly I wanted to learn Common Lisp and secondly it is famous for its usage in AI research. I even hacked together a small server in LISP. It understands the basic Schafkopf rules. You can look at the source if you want. It went pretty fast using Lisp, but it would need some work.

Well, talked to Lenz today and - even if he is a great Lisp fan - he thinks a server in Lisp has two big disadvantages:

  • Lisp is not very common on users systems. Users will have a hard time compiling SchafKopf

  • Only few developers know Common Lisp, so we won't get much code contributions

He suggested Python to be used for the server. Python is well known by many developers. We can code in a functional way where necessary, so we should be as fast as when developing in Lisp and python is available on almost every system.

What can I say? The guy in the black clothes is right! If we want to get a SchafKopf version for KDE4 with a clean source that is maintainable we should

  • write a SchafKopf server in Python

  • write a Qt4 GUI that connects to the server

Who wants to join me in this project? Any other ideas?

Monday, 21 May 2007

KRename4 - the porting has begun

Porting KRename to KDE4 has started and slowly it is getting into shape. Porting is the wrong word though.... KRename4 will be a rewrite most parts. I think KDE4 is a good point to make a clean application out of KRename.

KRename 4 will....
  • ... have the GUI created with designer instead of a hardcoded GUI
  • ... be covered by unit tests: Unit tests are essential to make sure no regressions are introduced. Currently the testing framework is a hand written set of macros, but I might switch to Qt TestLib
  • ... be good designed code: separation between GUI and renaming core
  • ... have comments in the source where appropriate
All these changes will hopefully lead to a very clean KRename4. A KRename4 where others can easily contribute code! The first version will be a functional identical port of the current KDE3 version and the following version will include some nice features, mostlikely an optional JavaScript interpreter so that you can write custom functions for renaming files.

Above you can see how it currently looks, not very different from the KRename 3.0.14 and counters do not work at all.... but it's getting along.

If you want to give it a try get it from svn and compile it (requires KDE4 alpha installed and cmake):

svn co krename
mkdir krename-build
cd krename-build
cmake ../krename

Here you go :)

domseichter's blog

So ... I started a blog.

The reason is that I am currently porting KRename (a batch renamer for KDE) to KDE4 and it is going to become great. I want to give some status report here in my blog and hopefully I can show some nice stuff about KRename4 and KDE4 in general.

Additionally you will find here news on another project I am working on right now: PoDoFo. PoDoFo is a portable PDF generation and parsing library in C++. So if you are interested in PDF: check it out.