Makes me mad

What really pushes my buttons on the AMX forum is searching for and finding a module, downloading it, and then discovering that it is not a usable module but something built for RPM only. If it is no good to me as a developer, why publish it on the web site and waste my time?

Does anyone really use RPM or is it just another Visual Architect?

Comments

  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,126
    yeah, I've ran into this quite a bit lately. What's worse is many of the devices original Netlinx or Duet modules are now gone (see my previous post The Stars Are Going Out) I have seen that they are using a different version scheme to differentiate between (using your term) Developer Module and RPM=modules.

    Why not just publish the API so we can go ahead and use the RPM version of the module. I get that AMX wants to push that product. But, there's no reason it shouldn't work for us too.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    RPM, VA, and AMX.home were all attempts to eliminate the need to write code that fail to do so, and instead just created a platform that has just as steep a learning curve, but different. My boss purchased the license for AMX.home, and handed it to me to start a new project on. I handed it back and said, "I can write it from scratch faster than I can learn how to make this work the way we want." And so I did, and never actually used it. They would have served their dealer base better if they concentrated on product development or stock Duet modules, than attempting to increase market share in such a half-*ssed manner. All of these products might have worked if they were fully developed and actually eliminated code writing, but they don't.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,328
    I don't think they realize that that boat has sailed and they missed it. Anyone who wants a so called program less system will now go with the less expensive Control4 system or to Savant. Instead of leading the industry they're trying to catch up to the less capable competition when they should be using the fact that AMX is completely custom and infinitely expandable to their advantage and then just make rock solid modules so dealers with sub par programming skills can still put a decent system together because the complicated modules are already developed for them. IMHO AMX seems to be wondering around in limbo trying to figure out how they missed the boat and fail to realize they should be flying in the first place. Soon the last flight will be gone too.
  • Jeff LockyearJeff Lockyear Junior Member Posts: 147
    Well said. AMX should be proud that they're not Control4 and Savant, and leave them to their niche. I haven't done a single job yet in my (albeit relatively brief) commercial career that I could have used RPM for (or Control4/Savant, for that matter). And if I could have used RPM, I could have written it myself in no time anyway. I suppose there's the cloud aspect, but I'm not sure I see the value in that anyway.
  • AMXJeffAMXJeff Senior Member Posts: 450
    [QUOTE=not a usable module but something built for RPM only[/QUOTE]

    Hey Danny!

    Curious what module that RPM uses, that you can't use in your project?
  • Danny CampbellDanny Campbell Senior Member Posts: 310
    I think that the most recent was a BSS BLU module. But this is one of several that I have downloaded over the past year that I open and discover the message. I doubt that it only works with an RPM-developed system, but the download only contains the .jar file an the readme file that tells you if you downloaded it you are screwed.

    //begin rant

    This is a lot like where I get called in to update someone's code and there is the main, a bunch of home-grown .tko module files and no documentation at all. When I write my own modules, I supply the .axs file along with an AMX-style document that tells the next guy how to use the module. I don't expect everyone including AMX to give out the source, but is it that much trouble to copy a document from a similar module and edit it to match the new module?

    As an independent programmer, I don't really lose out on jobs to other AMX developers, so it isn't a competition thing. In fact, in many cases I'm apparently the only one they can find to do the work. For the most part, projects are lost due to the customer going with Cre$tron because those programmers seem easier to find. From looking at their toolsets, it is pretty obvious that Cre$tron thinks more of their developers than AMX does for theirs. We get stuff like IREDIT which was last updated back in 2006 and had to be tricked into loading on anything after Windows XP or a new buggy program like TPDesign5 that is only released to support new hardware. Programs like G4Panlepreview or G4Panelbuilder get released and then left to die a slow, horrible, death. AMX seems to spend all of the resources on replacing us rather than supporting us. So why do I stay? Because I want to write code instead of fill in parameters for cookie-cutter systems.

    //end rant
  • Duncan EllisDuncan Ellis Code Junkie Posts: 94
    .....and so say all of us...............agree totally!
    I do a lot of development work also and to be honest that's what floats my boat. If I could not go to site and just write modules...I would! But its not always enough to pay bills, so site work is part of the solution. When AMX moved away from residential (but never admitted it) I went and did a couple of Cre$tron training courses. Their support for programmers is outstanding, the way AMX's should be. The amount of modules and free resources is huge. Don't get me wrong, some of the Cre$tron tools aren't that great either and their stuff has just as many quirks as AMX but the support and resources is far better.
    I now do both, but would prefer to work with AMX every day of the week and twice on sunday because of its flexibility. The whole Simple Windows thing with Cre$tron is a bit dull and long winded, but it works and I earn a living from it.
    Cre$tron also have jumped on the C4 bandwagon and brought out Pyng...which anyone will be able to buy apparently...leading to yet another disaster.

    Why oh Why can these companies not just be happy with their position in the market, selling quality kit into a quality market place? Control 4 is never going to be AMX or Cre$tron so why do they try to be Control 4? Sure I lose jobs because people use Control 4 instead of proper control systems, but that's the way of the world. I don't see anyone making easy to program JAVA or C++ environments for Windows programming so why mess with something that works so well......beats me, but I'm not the one making decisions so it doesn't matter.
    Control 4 is running out of options for funding and their EPS isn't fantastic. Being a public company is a pressure, whether they can hold up is anyone guess..................I guess its just a matter of time...possibly like AMX
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,126
    I too do both kinds of programming - although I hesitate to call what they do in Craptron "Programming" I mainly do the other guys out of necessity. I never start a project over there. I'm usually helping out a company that had some issue where the project got into trouble and they need help getting out. (programmer quit, picked up an orphaned job, etc...)

    I feel comparing AMX and Craptron is problematic since in reality the way in which they work under the hood is markedly different. I don't say this in a mean way - but it really does take a different level of skill to program in one vs. the other. You don't have to be that savvy to work in Craptron since a there is really a lot of hand-holding going on. (before you pounce - I know its really easy to create a screwy system in Craptron)

    But, now to the point made above by Duncan Ellis...
    I do agree the interface with the companies is markedly different and Duncan Ellis describes it pretty accurately. The interaction at AMX, while generally friendly, still has a tinge of stand-offishness. More than once I've felt like I was the enemy trying to storm the Gates Of Richardson. It's not a slam on any one individual. It's more of an overarching feeling; the way in which AMX just does business. There is a sense that AMX kinda "puts up with us" as opposed to seeing us as "vital to their cause" Here again - I cannot say this often enough: this is not an individual thing. I get along fine and love most my interactions with AMX. I'm speaking of the apparent general policies of how they connect with the outside world.

    Craptron is almost the exact opposite. I can't stand their products/framework. But, they do a great job with their customers and dealers.
  • Duncan EllisDuncan Ellis Code Junkie Posts: 94
    What Eric says is very true. I only took Cre$tron on because of the business shift by AMX, or I would be 100% AMX. Cre$tron is more like PLC programming, if you've ever had the unfortunate task of doing any. However, after I went on the training I realised why there are so many bad Cre$tron jobs. Due to how they make it very easy to put projects together, people convince themselves that they can now do a 12 bedroom residence............and it ends up being crap and they do the bare minimum to get paid and get out of there. With AMX you can't really do that because its bare code based.
    I can't emphasise how disappointed I am in AMX (By Harman!), in how they have just let the residential brand disappear....Its nuts! I like coding, I don't like configuring in Control 4 and I don't particularly like joining boxes in Cre$tron - but its better than C4.
    There is a skill in what we do and I'm lucky enough to work for a few company's who need AMX development and I really enjoy working for them (they're also really good at engineering!). Unfortunately, the benefit of doing development using my own cash is not worth the risk because the business model has changed. I used to do it quite a bit, and it helps develop the brand because people develop innovative things....this is no longer the case ... as you can see by lack of activity on the forums - it used to be flooded and now I see tumbleweed rolling down the superhighway when I login....

    Shame...but how it is and its not going to change, because Harman own it and they clearly have a direction in mind. Clearly they think that a 'programmerless' product is what is needed and as I think Danny said, that boat has long sailed. Also true is where someone said that if the modules were properly developed instead of being half-a**ed, programming would be greatly reduced. This is one thing that Cre$tron does really well.

    I've just widened my scope, allowing me to be more flexible and am starting to learn Python as well.

    live with it ..... don't live with it or do the sensible thing and make it part of your CV rather than all of it! If you are a good AMX programmer, even though you don't realise it, you are quite a flexible asset and you should make good use of that fact and find new outlets for your skill base.
  • Duncan EllisDuncan Ellis Code Junkie Posts: 94
    I don't really see how the link above makes any difference. All the products are not really anything to do with the resi market and it highlights RPM.....
    am I missing something?
  • Danny CampbellDanny Campbell Senior Member Posts: 310
    What is post #11 from gsmith supposed to be about?

    Anyway, I'm not expecting any big changes in direction from AMX. At this point, I would be pleasantly surprised if they just made a change to the module downloads section on the web site to have a note that says "this is an RPM module - if you do real programming don't bother to download it".

    Quite often, I'm at a site working on some undocumented crap code that is usually either a project that someone started and walked away from without finishing, or is so old that they can't find anyone to agree to go in and add a new device into a 10-year old system and I'm dumb enough (or hungry enough) to take on. I guess all of the new stuff is either Craptron or done with RPM 2.0.... Anyway, I'm in the middle of nowhere without an internet connection and I use my phone's hotspot to download a module that I home will help me out - to find out 10 or 15 minutes later that it is a module with no docs and designed for RPM projects.
  • Duncan EllisDuncan Ellis Code Junkie Posts: 94
    I'm in a similar boat .......... and totally agree!
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,126
    What is post #11 from gsmith supposed to be about?

    Anyway, I'm not expecting any big changes in direction from AMX. At this point, I would be pleasantly surprised if they just made a change to the module downloads section on the web site to have a note that says "this is an RPM module - if you do real programming don't bother to download it".

    Quite often, I'm at a site working on some undocumented crap code that is usually either a project that someone started and walked away from without finishing, or is so old that they can't find anyone to agree to go in and add a new device into a 10-year old system and I'm dumb enough (or hungry enough) to take on. I guess all of the new stuff is either Craptron or done with RPM 2.0.... Anyway, I'm in the middle of nowhere without an internet connection and I use my phone's hotspot to download a module that I home will help me out - to find out 10 or 15 minutes later that it is a module with no docs and designed for RPM projects.


    I do believe they have notes to that effect. I remember seeing a text attachment in the downloads section specifically saying something to the effect, "Notice! If you downloaded this to work as a normal DUET module - you have failed! This module is for RPM" I also notice the version number is a dead giveaway. Useable (by us anyway) Duet/Netlinx modules are always 1.xyz. the RPM ones are 2.xyz or something like that. (not at my computer to verify)

    It is disheartening to see how many times I go searching and come to find one for RPM and none for us. I'd love to write my own DUET modules but have had no luck at all with it. All attempts at help have lead to the same dead end. I follow the examples or documentation about 5-10 pages in and something is different from the manual to reality and there's no one who knows the new course to follow. Of course, Netlinx modules are still easy-peasy.
  • gsmithgsmith Ex AMX Engineering Posts: 59
    My apologies for a post that didn't make any sense. First of all, not really having figured out the new forum, the text that accompanied my link somehow disappeared into the aether.

    As an AMX employee and certainly not a spokesperson you can appreciate that there are times when I can only point you to publicly available information. In that linked article particularly the second paragraph.
  • bwestlakebwestlake Junior Member Posts: 82
    I'm a self-taught programmer. I wouldn't say that I am a great programmer but I always accomplish the objective. I do AMX because I can be flexible and creative. I don't need to depend on others to get a job done. I love when there is a module that I can use to save time but I really don't want to be limited to product choice because of "drivers." I don't program Control(4) and don't want to. We sell the difference in AMX and the other guys. There is art in creating a custom control system for a customer. I understand why AMX wants to broaden their reach but they need to be careful to not damage the advantage they have with custom programmers.
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