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Digital Domeworks 2018 Reboot

Tags: ASCOM, software, software-engineering, free software, open-source, digital-domeworks, reactive-extensions, astronomy, observatory, observatory automation

We are currently working on a ground-up rewrite of our Digital Domeworks ASCOM driver. The original versions was created more than 12 years ago and had a number of shortcomings and reliability issues. In the last 12 years, we've seen a lot of changes in software tools and techniques, the advent of the ASCOM LocalServer pattern and we decided to reboot the driver using everything we've learned.

The new driver will be an ASCOM LocalServer, so it will accept connections from multiple clients. It will implement the IDomeV2 interface and the ISwitch interface so that the user pins can be controlled. There will be a simple graphical user interface that displays the current status.

We'll be using our Reactive Communications for ASCOM technology as the communications foundation. The Digital Domeworks firmware uses an unconventional command protocol that doesn't follow the typical Command/Response format, so we can't use a transactional approach to communicating with it. However, the protocol lends itself to a more event-driven "reactive" style of programming, so Rx ASCOM still has something to offer. Look out for an upcoming blog post on this subject. We will also be make use of asynchronous programming wherever possible (C# async/await).

We've developed the code test-first using SOLID object oriented design so hopefully this will mean that the code is robust and maintainable. The project is open source and source code is available in a Git repository hosted on BitBucket. The project is not quite complete but is in the final stages of development. If you are a Digital Domeworks user, please let us know if you;d like to beta test the project.

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