What is my F***N’ Domain

Right now there are some things at the bottom of my what the hell do I want to learn. What follows is not.

I was grazing Ayende‘s (unconfirmed AI System) blog. He’s starting some posts on developing  software in a domain he knows.

For the last year I’ve been working on stretching my horizons. Specifically trying to learn how to be a real hacker ;). I need to write about what I know.

My domain is automatic equipment for manufacturing electronics. Motion control, vision systems, power supplies as welders, and environmental enclosures

So I’m going to write software for a Pick and Place System. As development occurs we will be adding software features, mechanical and electrical devices. The key for us is that we are going to do this without any actual hardware. I believe if you check out Progress Before Hardware you will see how were going to try to do this.

As experience tells me when working with automation, a basic system is never enough. Manufacturers can deal with this various ways. One is, Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black. Just starting out this can be a good business model, low costs. The major downside is lost sales.

A second is, to have a third party, a system integrator, design and implement the add-on for you. This can have a very good upside if you don’t have the experience in dealing with this add-on. Having your own in-house engineers and technicians  involved with the systems integrator from the get-go can help you grow your own in-house experience. A plus is increased sales. A downside is lost revenue due to costs for system integration.

The third option is to give the customer what he wants and do it all in-house. The major downside is that you take on all the risk. Upside is that all the $$$REVENUE IS YOURS$$$. This is the option that we are going to follow.

We want to try and grow this system organically as we add all the additional features.

Some of the modules in no particular order:

  • E-Stop System
  • Status Indicators
  • Manual Diagnostics
  • Logging
  • Statistics
  • Motion Control
  • Vision
  • And whatever we want to do

A basic system will be

  • E-Stop System
  • Manual Diagnostics
  • Logging
  • Motion Control

One idea that I really want to accomplish with this is to use Event Sourcing. This would mean that we could reap huge benefits not only when we have to diagnose customer problems, but testing of our application much easier. This would make logging somewhat superflous don’t you think?

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