Category Archives: Business

SpiralKit

Introducing SpiralKit

A little more than a year ago, I released my first iPhone application, Spiral by Digital Generalists.  After several updates and many happy customers, I’ve decided to release the drawing engine for Spiral as an open source framework through my company, Digital Generalists, LLC..

What Is SpiralKit

SpiralKit is a Quartz 2D-based drawing framework for iOS written in Objective-C. The framework enables ‘drawing’ on a UIView in an iOS application and ships with pen, highlighter, and eraser drawing effects.

The framework is built specifically to enable easily adding new effects, color spaces, and drawing algorithms in a modular fashion. If you want to provide a unique drawing effect, support of the CMYK color space, or a custom drawing algorithm, you can add such features to SpiralKit without having to modify the fundamental components of the framework.

Where to Find It

The project is hosted on GitHub at https://github.com/digital-generalists/spiralkit.

More Information

See the release post on the Digital Generalists site and the framework documentation for all information about using SpiralKit in your application.


Assurance

Introducing Assurance

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on a project and, today, I’m releasing the result of that project as Open Source Software. Assurance by Digital Generalists is an application that enables comprehensive file and folder comparison with tools to merge data on multiple operating systems.

Where to Find It

The project is hosted on GitHub at https://github.com/shelterbelt/assurance.

Inspiration for the Application

Over many years, I’ve collected a substantial library of electronic files ranging from simple text documents, spreadsheets from the very early ’90s, games, MP3s, videos, email archives, source code, etc… Because I had so much stuff, I had backups…plural. And backups of backups. And some stuff was on thumb drives because I needed it to be portable at some point. And some stuff eventually moved to newer machines, but I never deleted the copy on the older machine.

*sigh*

In short, I came to a point where I wanted to be able to compare the many copies of my digital archive, eliminate the redundant stuff, know where the latest version of everything was, and move things into a ‘repository-of-record’.

I easily could have purchased a tool to accomplish that task. There are highly-rated options available. Or I probably could have written a shell script that would have done the job from the command line.

However, I felt the problem presented a good opportunity to try out several software development frameworks and techniques I’ve been interested in learning more about. So I wrote Assurance instead.

What Is Assurance

Assurance is a cross-platform, client-only application written in Java that leverages both Spring and Hibernate with a Swing-based UI.

At it’s core, it is a tool to comprehensively compare and optionally synchronize the contents of files and directories.

While on first glance, Assurance may appear to be a good fit as a backup tool, it wasn’t really designed for those needs.  A backup tool should provide features like scheduling of jobs, conflict resolution, automated monitoring of the file system, one-click system restore, etc…  Assurance wasn’t built to solve those problems.  Assurance is very good at comparing files and directories and provides tools to manage differences.  It does those jobs well, but doesn’t claim to do more than that.

License

Assurance is released under the Apache License 2.0.

Prerequisites

The following tools need to be installed to build Assurance:

The Maven configuration will download and install the appropriate versions of the following tools:

  • Spring Framework
  • Hibernate
  • JUnit
  • H2
  • Apache Commons
  • Apple Java Extensions
  • SLF4J
  • Log4J

The following dependencies are required to run binary distributions of Assurance on Windows machines:

Mac distributions of Assurance package the appropriate JRE with the application bundle, eliminating the need to separately install Java on a Mac to run the application.  Windows distributions require that the JRE be installed prior to starting the application.

Building and Packaging

Assurance uses Maven as its primary build and dependency management system.

To build the application:

Mac

cd project_root/assurance
mvn clean package -Pdevelopment

Windows

cd project_root\assurance
mvn clean package -Pdevelopment-windows

To run the unit tests:

Mac

cd project_root/assurance
mvn clean test -Pdevelopment

Windows

cd project_root\assurance
mvn clean test -Pdevelopment-windows

To package the application for internal release:

Mac

cd project_root/assurance
mvn clean package -Pintrelease

Windows

cd project_root\assurance
mvn clean package -Pintrelease-windows

To package the application for release:

Mac

cd project_root/assurance
mvn clean package -Prelease

Windows

cd project_root\assurance
mvn clean package -Prelease-windows

IDE

Assurance was developed using Spring Tool Suite 3.6.1. Project files for the IDE are included with the distribution.

Acknowledgments

Assurance includes a modified version of the

com.ibatis.common.jdbc.ScriptRunner

class from the iBATIS Apache project.

Why a Digital Generalists Product?

Digital Generalists serves as the primary way I deliver products to the world. For full products, I want Digital Generalists to hold the copyright and serve as the primary entity releasing the software to the world.

The fact that Digital Generalists, rather than me personally, is the entity releasing the product, doesn’t affect or impact how you can use the software.  As long as you abide the attached software license, you can use the product and source as you wish.

Spiral by Digital Generalists Application Icon

An App of My Own

After releasing several mobile applications for the companies I’ve worked for over the last couple of years, I finally released an iPhone application of my own to the App Store, Spiral by Digital Generalists. See the launch post on my company’s website for all of the details about the app.

Spiral by Digital Generalists

Spiral is the perfect application for lovers of pocket-sized paper notepads who want to take quick notes, draw, sketch, doodle, and more! All these things can be done by simply “drawing” on the application with your finger or a stylus.

Spiral uses a world-class drawing engine that provides smooth lines and a fluid writing experience. We worked very hard to make using Spiral feel like writing on an actual notepad, and we’re proud of what we built.

Designed specifically for the smaller size of the iPhone, Spiral gives the power and features of notepad applications available only on the iPad in a way that works well on a smaller screen.

Give Spiral a try today!