Will the new Visual Studio & .Net release for Mac allow FRS to build a SmartSDR Client for Mac?

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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Hello.   As Microsoft has acquired Xamarin and has now published their own fully supported version of Visual Studio environment and .net libraries for the Mac OS X, will this allow FRS to transport their windows based code to the Mac Visual Studio and .net and be able to release a fully functional Mac OSX version of a FlexRadio branded SmartSDR?

I like being able to run DogparkSDR natively on my Macs, but the interface is kludgy as compared to windows SmartSDR.  And it is not feature complete.

What say you FlexRadio Engineering?
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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Posted 2 years ago

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Wow I hope!
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I suspect the short answer is No.  When you read the announcements a little more closely, you find that they enable new, greenfield development on a MAC with VS 2017.  However, I suspect the effort to convert and thoroughly regression test existing code over to the new cross-platform stack might prove to be more effort than it is worth.  I could be wrong, though.  I made a mistake in 1993. 
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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While you might be right several of us in the alpha team have macs. I'm kind of tired of boot camp or parallels. DogParkSDR is also not a solution for my needs. I hope they at least consider it.
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Hi Ria, it is a Microsoft conspiracy. If FRS ports a Mac OS SSDR, there will no longer be a reason for hams to own a PC....... LOl
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Mark WS7M

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I've done a fair amount of cross-platform development and it is never easy.  I have used Qt in the past and it is pretty darned good at cross-platform but almost everything GUI related needs a tweak and you end up with #ifdef WINDOWS in a number of places.

I would however love for this to happen.  But I have to agree that I doubt they will make the attempt.
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Ken Hansen

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The effort to support two platforms is very nearly twice the effort required to support just one platform. Even if the development effort were reduced to nil, it still would double the software testing effort, and the question you have to ask is would it cause 2x as many radios to be sold, or would the existing user-base simply be divided between the two platforms?

I have to believe that only when Flex is confident that the increased development costs would be more than covered by profits from increased radio sales that only happened because the OS X platform was supported.

As of August, 2017 OS X has a very small market share compared to Windows.
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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That piece of apple pie says it all. I will quote Spock once again, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"
This is not to insult any mac user but if I were a decision maker, 3.59% of the market compared to 83.84% (6.07% Windows XP users taken out), to me would never justify diverting any resources when they have the vast majority of their user base wanting and demanding more features now. Perhaps when they have gotten through all the feature wish lists and developed SmartSDR to the point and beyond the features in PowerSDR and if they have a team of developers twiddling their thumbs, perhaps then. Perhaps if their SDR competition also releases mac based software. A lot of perhaps and ifs.
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John - WA7UAR

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I understand the overall market numbers quoted by Mike but does anyone have the figures in relationship to the number of HAMS that are using computers in their shacks, and the ratio of Mac/Linux boxes vs. the number of PCs? Just curious I guess.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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The Mac market is very small. Most ham software is Windows only. However there are a good number of cross platform apps now built on open frameworks. 
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Don Agro

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MacLoggerDX is used in 118 countries. It is Mac-only and I wouldn't call that very small.
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Mark - W3II

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The current SmartSDR UI is built on the WPF .NET technology and this technology does not exist in Xamarin / Mono platforms. In short the entire SmartSDR UI would need to be rewritten in a technology like .NET Forms. This then invites the question what should that technology be for cross platform support? How about a service platform that is front-ended by an HTML5 browser which allows for multiple OS platforms to be easily supported by Dockerizing the .NET service layer where needed. Nevermind I'll just use my Maestro.
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Asher - K0AU

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If a port were to happen, what Mark says. I did some work to port FlexLib into the .NET server environment and got a rudimentary browser-based version of the UI running using HTML5 canvas elements. It's absolutely doable and the performance is just fine.

The complication: advanced HTML5 browser features like canvas and WebRTC are browser-specific. I was able to run cross-platform on Win10 and MacOS using Chrome, but not across Safari and Firefox. A professional web developer would probably be able to figure out cross-platform, but it looked like a lot of work to get right.
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Jay - AJ6AZ

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I would appreciate it if Flex commits to finding a way to porting the SmartSDR software of to the apple platform.  There's a clear need and probably more than they realize.  Maybe they should buy or fund Dogspark to make the applications identical.  Asking your customers to buy an windows computer or use parallels somehow doesn't seem right from a leading edge technology like FlexRadio.  It's commitment more than anything.  They also don't know if they are losing sales because they are not fully function on the OS X operating system.  Folks that care should continue to be vocal.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Currently, there is no commitment to develop and support a native OS X client for the FLEX-6000s.  We have run the numbers and the NRE costs are too high to recoup the investment in a reasonable amount of time.  This does not mean we will never reconsider doing a native OS X client in the future.

Dogpark SDR is a native OS X app for the FLEX-6000s that is used by many users and there are native DAX and CAT apps for it too.
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Tom Wilkinson

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I for one want software development time spend on new features, not porting to a new platform.  I have nothing against Apple Macintosh, until a month ago I owned one for 6 years and long before that I owned the original Mac for a few years.  I am a retired software developed that used .NET and know how expensive software development can be and the platform agnostic .NET is drastically different then the legacy Windows only .NET in the GUI, configuration and OS interface areas.   Would Mac users be willing to pay $$$ a year extra for a native SmartSDR or would they stick to BoorCamp or Parallels? 
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I agree fully.  This would only slow present updates, etc.  A real headache supporting two versions of the SmartSDR.  
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Ken Hansen

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"Would a sufficient number of Mac users be willing to pay $$$ a year extra to cover development and on-going support for a native SmartSDR or would they stick to BoorCamp or Parallels?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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You can pay Don who is the developer of Dogpark SDR by purchasing his app.  That will allow the existing OS X application for the FLEX-6000 to be developed further.  We work very closely with Don, so it would be a good investment
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Don develops some of the best Ham Radio Apps for the Mac...
his support is absolutely the best in the world

I have been a long time supporter

He  has integrated the Flex radio into all of  his Apps and they work seamlessly with each other.

He has earned my respect and my dollars $$$

K3SF  Paul
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Burch - K4QXX

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I agree.  Don's support is second to none.  I am a fairly new Mac user and I love his apps.  DogparkSDR continues to get better and the new beta version has some things that SSDR doesn't have yet.
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As a Mac user and Flex Radio user I would love to see this happen as well. I think there are already a lot of Mac users that have FlexRadios and are tired of booting into Parallels just to run SmartSDR.