Author Topic: New INDIClient Module Released  (Read 31652 times)

Offline Juan Conejero

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New INDIClient Module Released
« on: 2016 May 13 04:54:14 »
Hi all,

We are excited to announce the release of a new PixInsight module: INDIClient, an open-source, multiplatform INDI client available on FreeBSD, Linux, OS X, and Windows. The new module is now being distributed as an official update for the latest PixInsight 1.8.4 versions.

The INDIClient project has been created by Klaus Kretzschmar, a German software developer and a member of the PixInsight GitHub team. This is undoubtedly one of the most important milestones in the history of PixInsight development. INDIClient opens a door to hardware control support on the PixInsight platform, and you can bet we are going to open this door completely and go in.

Although this initial version includes just a device controller and a CCD/DSLR frame acquisition tool, it is just the beginning. Think of this first release as a functional proof of concept, just to demonstrate what we are working on and how we are doing it. The roadmap for INDIClient development in the short-medium term includes the following tools, by priority order:

  • Camera control
  • Mount/telescope control
  • Focuser control and autofocus
  • Autoguiding

Of course, all of these tools will be, as are the device controller and frame acquisition tools right now, fully scriptable in JavaScript from the PixInsight Core application.

INDIClient is an open-source project available on PixInsight's GitHub repositories:

   https://github.com/PixInsight/PCL/tree/master/src/modules/processes/contrib/kkretzschmar/INDIClient

If you are a software developer and would like to contribute, please contact us. If you can't or don't want to contribute with code, but have suggestions or ideas to improve our development, please also let us know. This exciting project can benefit from the collaboration and help of all PixInsight users.

We want to say a huge thanks to Klaus Kretzschmar for his initiative in creating this important project. Thanks also to all PixInsight users and supporters who help us keep the PixInsight project alive and relevant to the astronomy community.


How to Use the INDIClient Module

INDI stands for Instrument Neutral Distributed Interface. It is a protocol to define communication among hardware devices and software frontends. For a general description of INDI, see this document on INDI Project's website:

   http://www.indilib.org/about/discover-indi.html

The first step is installing INDI Library on your machine. On Linux and FreeBSD, you can either compile and build INDI Library from source, or download a precompiled package. See this page for information on download and installation options:

   http://www.indilib.org/download.html

It must be pointed out that our INDIClient module is a completely independent solution, which does not require the KStars and Ekos applications.

To build from source, see this page:

   http://www.indilib.org/download/source/category/2-source.html

On OS X, we strongly recommend the excellent INDI Server for OS X application created by CloudMakers:

   http://www.cloudmakers.eu/indiserver/

On Windows you can use wINDI, also by CloudMakers:

   http://www.cloudmakers.eu/windi/

wINDI is a wrapper for ASCOM drivers, so you'll also need the ASCOM platform in this case:

   http://www.ascom-standards.org/

A very interesting option on Windows is installing a virtual Linux machine (for example, using VMware or VirtualBox), where you can install and run an INDI server and communicate with it from PixInsight running natively on Windows, or alternatively, install and run PixInsight directly on the Linux virtual machine.

Irrespective of your operating system, you must have a working INDI server with the required drivers for your devices. The server can be running either locally on your machine, or on a remote system. Typically, you run the INDI server locally on the same machine where you are connecting your devices and running PixInsight.

Once you have downloaded and installed the corresponding update on PixInsight, you'll find two new categories in your Process Explorer window: INDI and Instrumentation. Under both categories you'll find two new tools, namely INDIDeviceController and INDICCDFrame. INDIDeviceController allows you to connect your system to a working INDI server, as well as connecting/disconnecting devices and edit their properties. INDICCDFrame allows you to acquire images using a CCD or DSLR camera for which you have a working INDI driver. We are writing a complete documentation for INDIClient, which should be available very soon, but we think both tools are quite intuitive and their functionality is also quite obvious, so you can start using them right now.

Enjoy it!

The PixInsight Team at Pleiades Astrophoto
Juan Conejero
PixInsight Development Team
http://pixinsight.com/

Offline chris.bailey

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #1 on: 2016 May 13 05:57:13 »
That was a surprise but welcome development. Connects to IndiServer running on a Pi3 quite happily.

Chris

Offline mcintyre_sj

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #2 on: 2016 May 13 06:24:14 »
If i got this right, it appears the windows implementation of the INDI server is still under development. The "Discover INDI" page mentions a "wINDI which is a complete implementation of INDI under .NET". But not how to get it. Or if that would work with the PixInsight client.

I don't really want to run a virtual machine but if the windows INDI server is a ways off, then i might have to.

Offline mcintyre_sj

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #3 on: 2016 May 13 06:31:31 »
For future development around guiding, i would like to see some integration with FlexRX. This is an excellent tool to improve guiding when using a guide scope.
   http://www.astrogeeks.com/AstroGeeks/andre/FlexRX/FlexRX2.htm

Also, a capability to fine tune the pointing/framing. Solutions i have see platesolve a captured image to get the current location and compare that to the desired location. Then reposition the scope to point to the desired location.

Offline dcbrown73

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #4 on: 2016 May 13 10:31:48 »
I wonder if we can get ACP support.  :)

Offline vicent_peris

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #5 on: 2016 May 13 10:41:14 »
At this moment, I think the most powerful tool in PixInsight is the development community. Once we have all the tools to run the entire imaging session I think it will be a matter of weeks to see some new, community contributed scripts to automate imaging sessions.


Best regards,
Vicent.

Offline kkretzsch

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #6 on: 2016 May 13 11:01:55 »
Quote
The "Discover INDI" page mentions a "wINDI which is a complete implementation of INDI under .NET". But not how to get it. Or if that would work with the PixInsight client.
As far as in know, wINDI implements the driver independent INDI server part, and delegates the INDI commands to the ASCOM drivers. You can download the wINDI server from http://www.cloudmakers.eu/windi/ and it should work with the PixInsight INDI client, but I never tested it ....

Quote
Also, a capability to fine tune the pointing/framing. Solutions i have see platesolve a captured image to get the current location and compare that to the desired location. Then reposition the scope to point to the desired location.

Yes this is a good idea. When I have finished the Mount controller module, it should be possible to implement such a solution with a script using the scripting capabilities of the PI core platform.

Offline kkretzsch

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #7 on: 2016 May 13 11:12:41 »
That was a surprise but welcome development. Connects to IndiServer running on a Pi3 quite happily.

Chris

Cool, which platform did you use, Linux?

Offline knro

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #8 on: 2016 May 13 13:20:39 »
This is great development, thanks for making this a reality. For those wondering about Windows support, INDI server isn't coming any time soon for Windows. I would recommend you invest $35 on Raspberry PI 3 and you'll automatically get the benefit of remote control. You don't need to have your PC/Laptop outside anymore, RPI3 is sufficient.

I just ran a quick test with the simulators after the update and it's working nicely! Great job!

Offline kkretzsch

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #9 on: 2016 May 13 13:48:52 »
Hi Jasem,
thanks for testing. Let me know if you find any issues. Good to know that your are also active in this forum  ;)

Quote
I would recommend you invest $35 on Raspberry PI 3 and you'll automatically get the benefit of remote control. You don't need to have your PC/Laptop outside anymore, RPI3 is sufficient.

I am also running the INDI server on a raspberry pi and I can confirm it is working absolutely great.

Thanks for your ongoing work on the INDI components this is really outstanding !

Offline Terry Danks

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #10 on: 2016 May 13 14:14:35 »
Absolutely, totally inadvised course of action!  >:(
No interest whatsover in using PI to control the hardware or play any role in data acquisition.
I just have to wonder, "what are you guys thinking?"
This software has evolved into such a monster. The developers have no interest in aiding the user in skillfully using the stuff. Just pumping out more and more "tools" with minimal-to-no documentation as to how to actually use them. Instead, third party concerns have turned "how to actually use PI" into some kind of cottage industry.

Five years ago, I thought it an abberation that would, sooner or later,  surely be addressed.
I no longer have any such hope as PI flies off into yet another direction.
This is precisely what PI does NOT need, in my opinion.

Offline chris.bailey

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #11 on: 2016 May 13 14:23:13 »
That was a surprise but welcome development. Connects to IndiServer running on a Pi3 quite happily.

Chris

Cool, which platform did you use, Linux?

Indi Server running under Raspian on the PI and Pixinsight Running on a Mac. I had it downloading frames from a Starlight Express camera plugged into the Pi direct into Pixinsight over WiFi. Indi Server running on a Pi paves the way for low power installs with minimal wiring.

Offline vicent_peris

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #12 on: 2016 May 13 14:26:19 »
Absolutely, totally inadvised course of action!  >:(
No interest whatsover in using PI to control the hardware or play any role in data acquisition.
I just have to wonder, "what are you guys thinking?"
This software has evolved into such a monster. The developers have no interest in aiding the user in skillfully using the stuff. Just pumping out more and more "tools" with minimal-to-no documentation as to how to actually use them. Instead, third party concerns have turned "how to actually use PI" into some kind of cottage industry.

Five years ago, I thought it an abberation that would, sooner or later,  surely be addressed.
I no longer have any such hope as PI flies off into yet another direction.
This is precisely what PI does NOT need, in my opinion.

Hi Terry,

Please take into account that this tool has been contributed by another user like you. You cannot simply choose what other users want to do in their free time.

I'm sorry to hear that you don't like this new tool, but I'm pretty sure Klaus is proud of his own work, and I'm pretty sure he actually thinks his contribution will be significative for the PixInsight user community. We cannot tell the users what to and what to not develop.


Best regards,
Vicent.

Offline gianpri

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #13 on: 2016 May 13 14:54:45 »
It seems very complicated for me. How do I connect my Canon 4D? I use Windows 10. I installed WINDI Server but do not know quite what to do ...

Offline Juan Conejero

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Re: New INDIClient Module Released
« Reply #14 on: 2016 May 13 14:58:42 »
Quote
I'm pretty sure Klaus is proud of his own work

Absolutely. And he has many reasons to be proud. And yes, definitely this is a very significant contribution to PixInsight.
Juan Conejero
PixInsight Development Team
http://pixinsight.com/