Dev Update – 2020-09-06: Dead Bugs.

Dead bugs and a new feature

Time for an update on progress. This was our working list since last update and now with current status:

  • Fix the Raster Chart defect – Fixed!
  • Remove links to the old site (including for KML exports, icons, gpx exports) – Done.
  • Upgrade the Chart Manager to include new Download Manager function (More on this topic below) – Done!
  • Rip out old license activation scheme and replace with new SDK for our new license control partner – Working.
  • Navionics SDK recompile to 64bit – Working.
  • Better waypoint-route assignment function – Working.

We made some good progress since July. I was really sweating the Raster chart bug. If you remember, macOS Mojave broke that sometime back. No RNC would display even though installed. I was concerned fixing that could be like owning a boat. You know… a hole in the water where you pour money. I actually delayed putting our developer on it and focused first on the Chart Download Manager feature just in case the bug turned ugly.

Happily it was a quick kill. Whew! Once we cleared that hurdle we found a different bug underneath it. It actually exists in the 32bit original but it’s way more severe in the 64bit version. So we’ll add that to the active list:

  • Second Raster Chart defect (scroll crash) – Working
  • Replace license activation scheme – Working
  • Navionics SDK recompile to 64bit – Working
  • Better waypoint-route assignment function – Working
I’ve found a few other areas that could use some improved usability tweaks and if budget and time allow, we’ll sneak them as well. If we get to them, I’ll spell out what they are in another update.

Download Manager – New Feature

I did want to focus this update on the new Download Manager function. For those experienced with MacENC x32, we had Chart Manager. Adding charts was essentially manual: Download from chart providers, unpack (unzip) them into the chart directory, then add them to Chart Manager.

There’s a lot to be said for manual processes, namely flexibility. Any chart provider with a compatible chart can be used regardless of how obtained. We’re keeping that flexibility but adding an automated option: Download Manager. 

Support Free Chart Providers

There are a hand-full of sources providing free nautical charts (US NOAA one of the biggest) but others as well. We now support chart catalogs of those which you can select in the app. Download manager will pull them down, unzip them into the chart directory, and add them to Chart Manager.

Support NavStation chart sales

We plan to sell paid charts directly (such as Navionics) so need a mechanism to pull down those purchases and install them into Chart Manager. Download Manager will do that for us.

Maintain Latest Chart Version

Finally, where we once had to pay attention to chart updates (scan websites, check emails from chart providers) and manually manage that, Download Manager tracks the release date of the chart you have and can scan the catalogs checking for new versions. It will then let you select in bulk any updates and automatically process them (download, unpack, replace old with new, update Chart Manager).

That last item is more than just about convenience, it’s all about safety. Sailing with out-dated charts is risky. Having a method to track and obtain the latest is just smart sailing. Long term we’ll be adding a lot of function in this area, adopting International Hyrdographic Organization (IHO) standards for version management and display. But this is a great first start.

Here are a few snapshots of the new feature:

That’s it for this update. Solid progress, no mission critical setbacks, still on track for November 30.

Till next time, happy sailing!


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