Earlier this month the Software Engineering Team gathered for a three day working meeting at the Institute of Astrophysics of Canary Islands (IAC) in Tenerife. This was an excellent opportunity for the IAC team to meet Joao Bento, the new software engineer working at LJMU, and to discuss many aspects of software implementation for the New Robotic Telescope.
The main purpose of this meeting was to share knowledge on the chosen system for the telescope control software, which is based on the current GranTeCan telescope control system. Since this will become the main software that will run our telescope, it's important that all developers are familiar with it and comfortable with using the various tools available. The meeting also served as a first opportunity to establish some common DevOps methodologies and development philosophies for the project early on. These are the kind of decisions that dictate how the code is best developed by a team that is spread across different countries. Development and Operations (DevOps) combines the software development and IT operations of a project. For the NRT the DevOps challenge is to create a system that controls all aspects of the telescope and can be updated live without downtime; from the delicate mirror segments to the huge telescope structure, along with the complicated algorithms for autonomous scheduling of a wide variety of science targets. Additionally, these practices should align with the current plans for the development of the software for the GranTeCan telescope software team as well. This way, development on the software for both projects can happen in tandem with code being used for both, using the same conventions and techniques.
The team had a chance to talk about other aspects of the project and become familiar with the facilities available at IAC that will be used to develop and prototype some of the instruments and hardware for the telescope systems, whilst enjoying a bit of the glorious weather that Tenerife can always provide.