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$1,644 pledged of $11,000 goal
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By David Cole
$1,644 pledged of $11,000 goal
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About this project

My name's David Cole. I'm a software guy.

I've been involved in open source development for 8 years now, doing C++ for more than 20, and I am the primary architect, developer and builder-of-installers of the ActiViz .NET project.

ActiViz .NET is an open source project that creates a thin C# wrapper layer around the C++-based VTK libraries. VTK is the open source Visualization Toolkit, used in scientific and medical applications of all sorts to visualize, filter and analyze data in 3D. More on VTK at http://www.vtk.org.

To put it in terms that everyone can understand, VTK and ActiViz .NET help people write programs that produce and analyze images like these:

VTK medical example
VTK medical example
VTK geographic example
VTK geographic example
VTK chemistry example
VTK chemistry example

VTK is great for C++ programmers, or for folks who are using the "built-in" python or java wrappers for VTK, but C# (and other .NET language) programmers need ActiViz .NET to simplify using VTK from their language of choice.

I'd like to spend some of my time producing new versions of the ActiViz .NET installers, which link to the newer versions of VTK.

But I need your help.

There hasn't been an ActiViz .NET release lately. The last one was about 18 months ago, based on VTK 5.8, the then-current release of VTK. ActiViz .NET has been open source since January 2011, and since then, I've been hoping other interested developers might step up to the plate and take a swing at moving things forward as VTK marched ever into the future. But it hasn't happened yet.

The problem is: moving things forward takes knowledge, plus the right tools, plus time and effort. All of which cost serious volunteer manpower, or money.

I've got the knowledge, but I need some tool upgrades... and I may need some manpower help which I don't really have the funds to pay for.

Hence this Kickstarter project. This is where you come in.

I have the know-how and the desire to see ActiViz .NET live on, as long as there are folks interested in using it. You have the interest in using it, and you and your colleagues and friends can probably put together enough money to make it happen.

I think a Kickstarter-ed, crowd-funded approach is the right way to gauge the level of interest in really making this happen. And if that level is high enough, actually establish the funds necessary to move things forward.

Once this baby's funded, I will put together a system and use it to build the installers for 32-bit and 64-bit ActiViz .NET based on the VTK 5.10.1 release. And if we reach our "stretch goal" levels, I will support the release with nightly health dashboards for at least 1 year and extend the wrapping support for the upcoming VTK 6 release.

Here's the plan for the funds:

The Base Goal: $11k

If we achieve the base goal of $11k, we can pay for a dedicated ActiViz build machine. It will also provide enough funds to pay for the development time and effort involved in creating and testing the code changes necessary to get things building and working properly. Finally, it will pay for the development time necessary to build the installers, and for hosting them for download from my website at dlrsoftware.com. Anyone else who would also like to host them on their website will be welcome to do so as well.

The net result: ActiViz .NET installers for Win32/x86 and Win64/x64 based on VTK 5.10.1 will be available for download sometime in August 2013 if we achieve the base funding goal.

I have some stretch goals in mind, as well: dashboards and VTK 6 support.

Stretch Goal #1: $13.5k

Dashboards are an important part of keeping VTK clean, by displaying build and test results publicly. If we hit the stretch goal #1 level of $13.5k, I will commit to submitting dashboards for ActiViz .NET based on VTK 5.10.1 for 1 full year. These dashboards may be on a machine I purchase, or they may run on Amazon cloud EC2 instances, or similar.

This dashboard, if we get this far, will be up and running by the end of August, 2013.

Stretch Goal #2: $24.5k

VTK 6 is about to be released, and it has been modularized, with a completely different library organization. Several changes are required to account for that in the ActiViz build files. Alternatively, it may be possible to get the ActiViz code into VTK itself, making future maintenance a little bit easier. If we hit the stretch goal #2 level of $24.5k, I will commit to producing installers for ActiViz based on VTK 6 and also do my level best to get the ActiViz code merged into VTK itself. That work was started at the end of last year, and still sits in this gerrit review topic for VTK: http://review.source.kitware.com/#/t/1615/ -- all it needs is some love and attention, time and effort.

The ActiViz 6 installers, if we get to this level, will be available by the end of September, 2013. [ Assuming, of course, VTK 6 is available by then... :-) ]

Stretch Goal #3: $27k

If we hit this level, I commit to submitting dashboards for 1 year for the VTK 6 ActiViz, and VTK master, moving things ever forward. Again, either on a machine I will purchase, or on rented cloud compute time.

This dashboard, if we get this far, will be up and running by the end of September, 2013.

Stretch Goal #4: $44k

If we hit this level, WOW WOW WOW!!!

I will commit to significantly extending and enhancing the tests and examples that come with ActiViz .NET, and make the results available by the end of 2013. Both as source code in the git repository, and new installers.

Fini, and THANKS! for your pledge!

Risks and challenges

This is a very low risk endeavor. I've made the previous installers in the past, and I can make these installers now. The only ingredients presently lacking are time and effort, and a good machine to build them on. Once I have the good machine, and proof that "enough" people are interested in them... I'll put in the required time and effort to get the installers built. And even have funds to call in reinforcements if necessary.

It's not always possible to predict the sorts of challenges you may encounter on a software project. There could be some unanticipated problems along the way.

If so, though, I'll communicate them to my backers as soon as I become aware of them, and keep them up to date on how things are progressing.

One of the keys to building good software is simple persistence: just keep chipping away at the problems until there are no more. Or until they're at least negligible... With the amount of time I've been at this, I've developed a serious habit of being persistent.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $11 or more About $11

    *The Honorable Mention* :: your name, or your company's name, on an online "thank you for your support" page. Of course, if you prefer anonymity, you may have that instead. But I'll still thank you. Just not in public.

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    Pledge $22 or more About $22

    *The Sticker* :: An "I kickstarted ActiViz .NET" sticker, complete with ActiViz .NET logo and mini-logos from our corporate sponsors (if any)

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    *The Page of Stickers* :: A whole sheet of "I kickstarted ActiViz .NET" stickers

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    Pledge $77 or more About $77

    *The Installers on Disc* :: An installer CD with all created installers on it. At a minimum, x86 and x64 installers for ActiViz .NET 5.10.1 will be produced. Plus, The Sticker.

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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    *The T-Shirt* :: the obligatory "this is a software project, we must have a t-shirt" t-shirt. Featuring the ActiViz .NET logo and mini-logos from our corporate sponsors (if any). Plus, The Installers on Disc. Plus, The Sticker.

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    Pledge $1,100 or more About $1,100

    *The Dinner with the Developer(s)* :: dinner at a restaurant yet-to-be-named, somewhere near the geographic triangle outlined by Albany, NY, Boston, MA and NYC. With the ActiViz developer(s) and perhaps a few VTK devs, too. Dinner included... travel, NOT included. Plus, The T-Shirt. Plus, The Installers on Disc. Plus, The Sticker.

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    Pledge $5,500 or more About $5,500

    *The Corporate Logo* :: your company logo will be included in The Sticker and The T-Shirt rewards. Great way to show off your corporate sponsorship of the open source world. Plus, all the other rewards, too, including a seat at the dinner with the developer(s).

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    Pledge $9,900 or more About $9,900

    *The Nearly Make It Happen* :: maybe you don't want to risk it, the crowd-funding may possibly fall through... this is your level: make it happen in one fell swoop. Your reward: peace of mind that the funding goal will very likely be reached. Plus, all the other rewards, too, including the corporate logo and a seat at the dinner with the developer(s).

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Funding period

- (23 days)