Series 3 Plans

With Aciqra 2.3 released and refined, the Aciqra 2 series has finally come to a conclusion after four years of active development. Although not all of the features originally planned for the series were implemented, such as telescope control, implementing them into the current system would require more work and likely more time than if they were directly implemented into the third series of Aciqra, skipping Aciqra 2 entirely to save time and effort in the long run.

A change in Aciqra's series number indicates a very major change where backward compatibility is not only lost, but requires completely new code to restore. When Aciqra incremented from Aciqra 1 to 2, the entire program, originally in C#, was rewritten from the ground up in C and I with scarcely a trace of the original program left. Indeed, Aciqra 2 was unrecognizable. The transition to Aciqra 3 will be somewhat less drastic. The graphical interface in Aciqra 3 will bear some resemblance to the Aciqra 2 interface as will many parts of the underlying code. Even so, the change will be very significant.

The use the I language permitted Aciqra 2 to be developed at a pace must faster than would otherwise be possible due to the organizational structures in I that are difficult to closely replicate in other languages. However, ease of development came at the cost of excess overhead. One of the most serious problems plaguing the Aciqra 2 series is its inefficiency in operation. It runs extremely slowly while using up every ounce of available CPU power -- not particularly optimal when considering other planetariums can use a fraction of the resources to run an order of magnitude faster. Furthermore, the organizational structure provided by I is inadequate on a large scale leading to the code becoming ever more disorganized. Therefore, Aciqra 3 will use the Ada programming language, a fast, mission-critical language whose design makes it difficult for bugs to move through unnoticed. The strictness of the language will be costly in terms of efficiency in the short-run, but in the long run, all that lost efficiency is made up when a bug that would've taken hours to find ended up never making it into the code.

The design of Aciqra 3 began last month as Aciqra 2.3 wrapped up its final bugs. Actual development is scheduled to begin in December and is expected to last between two to three years for an initial release. In the meantime, any bugs found in Aciqra 2.3 will continue to be patched up as they are found to ensure a smooth transition process.