Some time in the past week, Galago passed that magic threshold where I stopped thinking about it as a platform in development and realized it was a proper development platform. This must be the same feeling an aircraft designer has when what was nothing more than pencil sketches and riveted aluminium suddenly transforms into a method of transportation, a concept so abstract and so removed from the practical concerns of the engineer who made it fly that the result is equally transformative to him.
Galago, too, is taking off. The debugger does what it’s supposed to. When a program crashes, you can type ‘bt’ and ‘info locals’ in gdb and find out why. You can set breakpoints, single-step and read and write variables and I/O registers by their C++ names. The tools download new code on the device correctly every time. You can plug the debugging connection into a running device, pause it, investigate what’s going wrong and fix it, all without thinking about the enormous tower of functionality that makes these things possible. This is the point where a tiny handful of surface-mount components, a circuit board and 27,000 lines of code starts becoming something much more than the sum of its parts.
That’s not to say some aspects aren’t still under development. For example, our web IDE still needs a lot of work. This hasn’t been helped by the fact that the engineer who wrote it left the team a month ago. Despite this and other setbacks, the command-line tools, which form the foundation of the product, are entirely usable and very reliable. What I must emphasize is that development is past the crucial point of inflection where the extensive investments we’ve made in making Galago a rapid-development platform have begun to pay off - it is indeed rapid.
Recently, I’ve started to read comments from the community that are not as supportive as they should be considering the magnitude of work involved. Yes, it’s true I didn’t post as many updates as you would have expected, but I didn’t think it was right to tell you how wonderful everything was when in fact much of the development was horribly trying, stressful, unpleasant for those around us and downright depressing for months at a time. I also didn’t think you wanted to read about how difficult it was or the fact that I personally dreamt of quitting, refunding your investments and just walking away. But I didn’t give up, and neither should you.
I have two items left to develop - I need the bring the web IDE back up to working condition to account for the rewritten command-line tools it’s built on, and I need to nail down the autodetection capability for App Boards, which is the one thing preventing them from shipping (the final firmware needs to be installed on each one.) Please be supportive while I finish these last two crucial tasks.
In the mean time, everything you need to start working on Galago has already been released, provided you can work the command-line tools and are using a Mac or Windows (I just haven’t prioritized completing the Linux version yet so it’s perpetually 80% complete.) Moreover, about 70% of you have received your rewards already, so you can give it a spin now or wait for the revised IDE. Keep an eye on http://logiblock.com/ide for updated instructions.
Lastly I’d like to extend a sincere “thank you” to all of you for continuing to support our project for so long. When I first took pre-orders for Galago in July of 2012 I was genuinely concerned another group might come out with a device with the small size, ease of use and debugging features that make Galago unique. Only now do I realize why they haven’t - it’s really, really hard and it takes a really long time!
Thanks as always,