[ Main Topics ] [ ProjectJ2X Information ] [ Subscriptions ]


The Future of Tree-Ring Software

Paul Krusic pjk@ldeo.columbia.edu
(Introduction and some editing by webmaster@voortech.com)

Aside from the primary goal of developing a much needed update to the Tree Ring Measuring Software, there are many references at the Project J2x web site to secondary goals of gaining experience in software development that may be applied to other software in use by the community. How can Project J2x help benefit other software development projects required by the tree-ring community?

There is currently no formal mechanism for assuring that software critical to dendrochronologists keeps pace with changes in technology and techniques of data analysis. As one example, Project J2x can serve as a forum to stimulate discussion of ideas about what mechanisms could be used to support the development, distribution and technical support of critical Tree-Ring Software. This is a good time to begin that discussion which could lead to recommendations to be presented to all dendrochronologists at the next International Tree-Ring Symposium in Mendusa in Spring, 2000.

To stimulate ideas and discussion we'll start with a picture of a fictitious future:

"I see a CD-ROM, call it XCD that contains all the most commonly used software available today in Dendrochronology and new programs not yet available. It includes a very informative FAQ application, a software tutorial and handbook, an annotated bibliography and a comprehensive help program. It looks, for all practical purposes like a commercial software package. XCD can be read and installed on any computer with a CD-ROM drive (Yes! floppy disks are available but only 3.5 inch) and opens with a fully compliant graphical users interface, Click and Drag. The program installs itself and during the installation detects what kind of computer it is running on and the hardware the computer is connected to.

I have gotten this CD-ROM after sending my XCD subscription fee to the Tree-Ring Community Software Users and Developers Fund (TRCSUDF), Timbuktu. Each year this loosely organized group of dendrochronologists and programmers review the current software package, and either update modules or add new modules. Technical support is available from a web site http://www.IfixDit.all.myself.com. and there is a toll free number to a phone booth outside the oasis which dried up in the mid to late 80's. Timbuktu is the perfect place for the home of XCD. There are lots of programmers (8 for every terminal) who are smart and love dendrochronology. There is no fear economic instability or invasion. Many high tech commercial software development companies have settled there along the Camel Humpway bypass, and it was recently discovered that figs, when eaten regularly in front of an LCD, results in more efficient, less cumbersome, source code. Every year I send TRCSUDF a subscription renewal, and when there is a new version of the XCD they send me an update notice. I log on to the web and download the update from the TRCSUDF website which recognizes my subscription password "2Timbuktu". Before I had web access I could only get the software though the mail and that cost me an extra 10FigUrines.

I've just added my own module to the XCD programs that goes out on the net to search for all kinds of meteorological data, then allows the user to select subsets of that data either graphically from a map image or by any number of descriptive selection criteria, seasonalizes the selected data, then dumps the results in a file for later use, or stores the selection in memory for use with other XCD programs. I have just made it available to a colleague of mine that I am collaborating with by putting it where they can access it across the net and use with their XCD programs. They are also a member of TRCSUDF and we are going to have our data ready for our paper. If the software passes the peer review, I'll get a set of matching coffee cup coasters with TRCSUDF stamped on them, cut from a cross sections of a fig branch."


Website design and its contents developed by VoorTech Consulting.
All rights reserved. Copyright 1998.