JimBraatz - 24 May 2006

Ideas for Submitting Scheduling Blocks from the Unix Command Line

I'd like to suggest that we offer a unix command that submits scheduling blocks (SB) to the astrid run queue. Then all SB management is done via familiar unix commands.

In the simplest implementation of this suggestion, we would need only two unix commands. I will call one "validate" and the other "submit". Each command takes a single argument, the name of a text file stored on disk that contains a SB.

validate mySB.astrid

   Determines if a SB passes the validation test.  Equivalent to the
   validate button.

submit mySB.astrid

   Submits a SB to the run queue.  It should run a validation first.

The existing astrid GUI would continue to handle other aspects of the Run Queue, e.g. rearranging or removing SBs from the Run Queue.


Here are some issues that the new design would solve or improve:

  • By simplifying the design and putting SB management in the hands of unix tools, it eases the CM&E on Astrid
  • Better flexibility in developing SBs on the fly. For example, one could write an IDL or tcl program to let the user select sources from a gui, and in real time submit an observation of those sources to the run queue.
  • Solves the problem of not being able to save incomplete/invalid SBs (A fix to the astrid GUI is in the works.)
  • Solves the problem of not being able easily to share SBs between projects. (Of course one can change projects, export, change projects back, and import. But this is not elegant, and it needs to be done every time the original SB is modified.)
  • In astrid it is difficult to remove/rename/copy SBs in large quantities
  • Currently one cannot back up SB's locally
  • Solves the problem of no file security to conceal SBs from others' eyes
  • Easier for observers to use their favorite editor to work on SBs
  • Unix command-line interaction is better than GUIs for remote observers
  • Astrid can be cumbersome at handling large numbers of SBs in a given project (e.g. each time you select a project to edit, the listbox scrolls to the top of the list)
  • Projects that have shared observers do not currently offer a way for one observer to protect a file from changes by others.
  • no SB versioning is possible with the current system
  • Screen real estate is a problem that would be improved. The Edit Window and Validation Window are themselves too small, but they make the astrid GUI very large and a bit cumbersome during remote observing. The astrid gui could be made smaller if it only had to manage the run queue.
  • Currently one cannot search a list of SBs for a string, but this is easy in a set of text files.

Why not?

  • I'm not sure if this system could be made to work with the gateway. Maybe there are security concerns?

-- JimBraatz - 24 May 2006
Topic revision: r2 - 2006-09-20, JimBraatz
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