VPL Release Notes
RDS 2008 R3
Once you have compiled the "User" versions of the samples, they will appear in VPL as services that you can use. (The names of these services all begin with "(User)" so that they are clearly marked). If you drag one of these services into your diagram, you must use only other "User" services that are related to it. For example, the LEGO NXT Ultrasonic service must work with the LEGO NXT Brick service. Mixing between the "User" and Microsoft versions of these two services will not work. Both must be either "User" or Microsoft.
All of the VPL samples that ship in the package use the Microsoft versions of the services. If you want to modify a service and see the effects, then you will have to locate all the blocks for this service in the diagram, delete them, and replace them with the "User" versions. Otherwise your newly compiled service will not be used.
VPL does not support generating VS2010 projects. It creates only VS2008 projects. After you have generated the code, you can open the project in VS2010 if you want to upgrade.
Also, it does not generate a Solution (.sln) file but this will be created automatically when you save the project in Visual Studio. Just open the Project (.csproj) file.
In some rare cases VPL generates code that will not compile. If you encounter one of these situations, please report it on the VPL Discussion Forum.
Previous Release Notes
VPL has not had any significant changes in the R2 or R3 releases. The following Release Notes are from the 2008 release.
For the R3 release, you can ignore references to the various Editions. RDS 2008 R3 is equivalent to the previous Standard Edition, i.e. it has full functionality.
New Features and Changes
VPL has undergone significant revisions. It now runs faster with a smaller memory footprint. The graphics have also been updated to give it a new appearance, and the VPL documentation has been reviewed and substantially enhanced.
Because of the changes to the internal structure of VPL, the format of saved projects has changed. When you first open a V1.5 project VPL will ask if you want to upgrade it. If you select "yes", then you will no longer be able to open the project in V1.5. If you want to continue working with both versions, make backup copies of your VPL projects before opening them in VPL 2008.
- Background error checking now checks the entire program not just the open diagram. Errors can be investigated in the new "Errors" toolbox.
- Bug Fix: floating toolboxes are now properly recreated when starting VPL.
- Start: vpl or dssme with a file that doesn't exist will now ask use to create file.
- Simulation: Better support for simulation entities. If simulation engine is present, user can browse the selection of entities when setting the entity partner of a simulation service.
- Bug Fix: deleting an activity now only creates one undo step.
- Support inline lists in state editor.
- Internal node doesn't need pre-assigned port numbers, makes it easier to run multiple instances of VPL/DSSME.
- Activities: User can add icons to custom activities.
- Manifest Editor: Ability specify service URI directly.
- Code generation: Added ability to disable code generation for main diagrams and only generate code for custom activities.
- Code generation: Generate VS 2008 or VS 2005 projects (see properties of Diagrams).
- Support for distributed applications: Services and activities can be in different domain. VPL/DSSME create manifests/deploy packages for each domain. Can run distributed application from VPL/DSSME (see Run menu).
The sample VPL programs that were previously in the Diagrams folder have been moved to a new folder called VPLExamples. The VPLExamples folder contains the following:
- Code Breaker
- Drive In Triangle
- Drive Simulated Four by Four
- iRobot examples
- LEGO examples
- Speech (Drive by Voice - Only works on Vista and Windows 7, not XP)
- VPL Explorer (simulated Pioneer 3DX with Laser Range Finder)
Some of these are new, although several of them have shipped in previous releases.
Services listed in the Services toolbox can have an associated web page. This is set by the developer as an attribute on the service (or the Contract for generic services) called DssServiceDescription. Most of the RDS services now have links to their documentation web pages. If a link is present, then a small "i" icon (meaning Information) appears next to the service in the list. Clicking on the icon opens a web browser window to display the page. Note that if you do not have a connection to the Internet at the time then you will receive a "Page Not Found" error.
Revisions to Tutorials and Samples
Many of the tutorials and samples have been updated, but the changes are too numerous to list them all here. If you have previously used RDS, you should skim through all of the tutorials and samples to see what has changed.
In particular, there is a new set of tutorials called VPL Hands On Labs. These are designed to introduce key concepts in RDS using VPL. These labs replace the Introductory Courseware.
Changes to Utility Services
The various dialogs available through the Simple Dialog service have been updated so that they automatically cancel themselves after 60 seconds. After approximately 50 seconds a countdown message appears in the bottom-left of the dialog as a warning. For most people this will not present a problem.
Also, if the dialog's Close button (the 'X' in the top-right corner) is clicked, then an Alert will close and the Confirm and Prompt dialogs act as though the Cancel button was pressed.
See the Simple Dialog documentation for more details.
Robotics Introduction: What's New?
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