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May FidocadJ be used in the Forum?

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brabus:
Hi guys,

I saw FidocadJ being used in the Italian Forum "Electroyou", and I was impressed! Example

It is essentially a schematic drawer, very useful to sketch circuits and pictures.
It helps avoiding the cumbersome process of taking photos of paper notes with smartphones, drawing dreadful stuff with Paint, or upload pictures on hosts.
Plus, it allows the participants to edit the schematic, suggest modifications and build the circuit together!  :-+

Plus, it's suitable for all platforms, including Android!

Some examples of extreme use cases: All the pictures have been drawin with FidocadJ
Also here!

Official website
Download from SourceForge

If we find it interesting, maybe Dave can talk with Davide Bucci (aka Darwin), the mind behind this project, and integrate the compiler in the Forum!

What do you think?  :)

Brumby:
Functionality is one thing - but there are a couple of matters that need to be considered...

The first is server load.  Adding functionality means you have to get a processor somewhere to do more work.  If it's local to your machine, then that's fine - but if Dave's server resources have to front up, it could impact everyone ... and if Dave has to get more processing capacity on his server, it's going to add cost.

The second is security.  Does adding the functionality introduce any risks to the security of the site?

The last is maintenance.  How much effort would be involved in installing it and keeping it up to scratch.  You have to include the work required in upgrading versions of SMF (the forum software).  Dave isn't interested in anything that's involved - and having been in software development all my working life, I can absolutely understand that and support him 110%.


With these issues aside, the question is "Who would find it useful?"

brabus:
Good points.

As far as I can tell, it definitely was a success story on the forum I linked before. The biggest part of the job has already been done, the tool is now stable and pretty refined.

Regarding security, I am not really an expert; I would like to hear the opinion of someone who really is.

I proposed it because of the evolution of things I already experienced in the other forum: basic functionalities --> Latex compiler --> graphic tool (e.g. FidocadJ)

It definitely improved the user experience, I would find it very useful.  :)

DarwinNE:
Hi to all,
  I am the maintainer of the FidoCadJ project. I am happy to see that it has been cited here, since I am a big fan of EEVblog and I really enjoy Dave's videos (and BTW this is my first post here)  :-DMM

I can provide some partial answers about concerns expressed by Brumby.

For the server load, I believe that in ElectroYou the drawings are converted each time a new post containing one of them is posted. Then, the image is stored in PNG format in a cache and it is used as it is. FidoCadJ is a Java program and most part of the overload comes from the time necessary to load the Java virtual machine each time it is executed.

Concerning the security, it is something that has to be taken into account very seriously. First of all, you need to run Java on your server and this may be not allowed in some cases. That being said, the text format of files employed by FidoCadJ is quite restrictive: you just describe simple graphical objects (no file inclusion and no external access). The technique has been used with success on ElectroYou (and on Matematicamente) for several years and they did not experience security issues coming from that. However, nobody can be positively sure about a perfect security. It is part of the work of integrating FidoCadJ in a forum to make sure that the problems that an attack on it can generate may remain limited.

I am working only on FidoCadJ code and not on its integration with forums. I know that there is a vBulletin extension, but I do not know anything about SMF. I think the webmaster of ElectroYou inspired himself from the LaTeX vBulletin extension to implement it and we had a fairly usable implementation in a few days starting from scratch.

Finally, the official development site is not anymore on Sourceforge; we moved it on GitHub in August 2015:

https://github.com/DarwinNE/FidoCadJ

(open source GPL v.3 project)

Hope it helps  :)

EEVblog:
Just from an effort required to install and maintain this, and the security stuff, and the JAVA stuff (which I don't think we have anything else running JAVA on the server), I see this as potentially troublesome.
Add to that, why would people want to go to the effort of learn and then draw schematics in some proprietary format when they already have their tool of choice available?
And then you have the question about what happens in the future if say the forum moves or something else, or support for the product stops and doesn't keep up to date etc or breaks with new version of SMF etc. Existing images, both embedded and attachment have none of these issues.
Sorry, but I don't see the need for this.

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