Beta bugs

With a very simple program to initialize an array, a repeat loop for 10 times, calling a function to fill that array with the value of the repeat loop, and then using a second repeat loop to print out each of the ten values of the array. I ran this program about 25 times.

Three times it returned no output in the Terminal window. Then, around the 17th try I got the BlocklyProp message that it was unable to compile, try the Force Refresh,... Instead I saved it again and it ran once or twice but then same message.

A more complex program, also using an array and a function, and outputting to Terminal, seemed to work maybe twenty times but then it had a hard error. Looking at the C code said that the array had not been initialized. As if the array initialization statement was no longer there. The array initialization statement was active. I removed it and put a new one in. Now the C code had two error messages, each saying the array had not been initialized. Very odd.

Questions (knowing this is beta software):

1. When the Terminal returns no output, is that a problem with my Internet connection or something else ?

2. Is there a posted list of known problems with the BlocklyProp compiler and/or statements ? So maybe I could steer clear of some areas until the software gets more stable.

3. Another problem I've seen with Terminal is that even though the Terminal screen was cleared (setting the cursor to 0.0), when I print a binary number from an array, the very first space on Terminal has a zero in it, as does each subsequent line.

4. Are there future plans to have a few formatting options for the Terminal print statements so one could easily create an at least somewhat formatted output? I realize that this is not really the main purpose of having hardware do stuff..

Nevertheless, even after having to make a new project from scratch when the old one could no longer be fixed (would not compile) I still have had a lot of fun with BlocklyProp.

Thank you

Comments

  • 4 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Hey RobR,

    1. Possible, yes. When you ping a web site what kind of response time are you seeing? We recently increased the available time for a server reply.
    2. Yes, there's a very active GitHub https://github.com/parallaxinc/BlocklyProp/issues where you can post this issue. Any detail you can provide would be really helpful. At the moment most all known issues are addressed so this would be a new one. Could you post it in the GitHub for us so our developers could fix it, asking questions as needed?
    3. I'll ask Matt Matz to look at this issue. He's the most familiar with Terminal gotchas.
    4. In time, yes. For now it's quite simple. In the meantime an OLED would provide a really nice display system if Terminal is acting up.

    Thanks for contributing. It's still evolving as you can see but generally functions as expected. We want to address all issues related to the use of the system.

    Ken Gracey


  • Good evening,

    1.) Problems with the terminal are a bit hard to pin down right now because they can be caused by a number of different things. Force refreshing helps, but a lot of it stems from the BlocklyProp Client. When you use the terminal, your browser is opening a websocket to the BlocklyProp Client application, which is managing the serial/USB communication with your device. A hiccup anywhere along the way causes it to fail, and it doesn't currently know how to try and reestablish the connection on it's own. This is a known issue and improvements are in the works.

    2.) Like Ken stated, GitHub - and please do post issues, (here is fine as well if you don't want to use GitHub). It's helpful if you send a link to your project (or even just the ID in the URL, and make sure you project is shared so we can see it. Sometimes we don't catch bugs ourselves - we try to test everything pretty thoroughly, but we can't predict every combination of how blocks get used. We are pretty responsive on bugs, however.

    3.) I'll be blunt, the terminal in Blockly sucks. It's code base is largely xterm with a bunch of patches to make it work for our system. The result is only barely passable. I badly want to re-write it, but I have a few other projects in front of it before I can. Do keep posting issues though so I know how best to work the solution.

    4.) I sure hope so - also why I want to re-write it :)

    5.) BTW Hi! I'm Matt! I do most of the client-side development for our Blockly system, so if you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc. keep sending them in!

    Thanks!
    Matt
    Matthew Matz
    STEM/Robotics Educator
    Parallax Inc.
  • And the OLED suggestion, too. Well worth the money. KG
  • A big THANK YOU to both Matt and Ken. I'm going to reply over time, part by part.

    1. When the Terminal returns no output, is that a problem with my Internet connection or something else ?

    "1. Possible, yes. When you ping a web site what kind of response time are you seeing? We recently increased the available time for a server reply."

    Here are ping results, 9:30 am, from an AirBook connected via wireless to my ATT router; about 50 pings per site:

    apple , 23.72.215.127, 30 ms average, no timeouts
    yahoo , 98.138.253.109, 90 ms average, no timeouts
    adafruit , 104.20.39.240 , 30 ms average, no timeouts
    sparkfun , 204.144.132.37 , 60 ms average, no timeouts
    digi-key , 204.221.76.16 , 90 ms average, no timeouts
    www.parallax and 67.104.29.61 , icmp timeout

    I have no sense of how these numbers might differ depending on time of day or any other factors.


    4. Are there future plans to have a few formatting options for the Terminal print statements so one could easily create an at least somewhat formatted output? I realize that this is not really the main purpose of having hardware do stuff..

    "4. In time, yes. For now it's quite simple. In the meantime an OLED would provide a really nice display system if Terminal is acting up."

    I bought the BlocklyProp Starter kit so I do have, and am using, the OLED.

    I'm writing what I think will be an interesting visual use of the OLED but testing the code via Terminal.

    I will later reply about my other 2 questions with some code.

    RobR
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