Walking Towards v.1.0 : Why Development of HydroBuddy is Taking Its Time

If you had been following my development of the free HydroBuddy nutrient calculator your probably have wondered why development seems to have “stopped” during the past few months. The truth is that beyond the fact that I have been quite busy – with my other occupations – I have actually decided to implement some very large changes to HydroBuddy before version 1.0 comes out.  On today’s post I will take some time to discuss the changes I will be implementing and what these changes will bring when v.1.0 finally comes out, probably in January-February 2011. I will talk about the current problems on the calculator and what solutions I am working on.

HydroBuddy is currently a stand-alone free hydroponic nutrient calculator which anyone can use. It is a simple tool for the calculation of nutrient weights or the reverse-engineering of commercial nutrient solution allowing users to perform a ton of analysis without too many complications. However the software does have a few problems which I believe need to be solved if HydroBuddy is to become the most complete and BEST hydroponic nutrient calculator online (even when compared amongst commercial ones).

The first big problems that come from HydroBuddy lies within its software implementation. The program was built within Delphi 2010, reason why compatibility with other operating systems is minimal (if available at all). For this reason I have decided to port the whole program into Lazarus, allowing me to get full Linux and Mac versions released from v1.0 onwards without any further problems.

The second – and perhaps the biggest problem – in HydroBuddy, is the way in which the calculations and database were implemented. HydroBuddy doesn’t use a formal database but a series of arrays which it uses to calculate/store the solutions to the problems its presented with. The new version will include a proper database engine which will allow us to greatly expand the scope of HydroBuddy, this will also allow me to solve another problem which makes HydroBuddy “miss” some solutions if combinations of certain salts are used. By implementing a proper database and powerful linear equation solvers the new version of HydroBuddy will be much more powerful and good enough to become a standard for not only hobby but many scientific applications.

As you see, the above changes require me to practically reimplement the whole program but certainly they are worth making since they will make HydroBuddy’s core much more robust than with its current implementations. With this HydroBuddy will be able to easily store much more data, solve problems much more accurately and become much more “user friendly”. It will certainly take me some time – as I only do this development when I have free time – but it will definitely pay off in the end as it will be a free solution for anyone looking for a software package to help them calculate their nutrient solutions.

In the meantime feel free to use the v0.98 of HydroBuddy which already solves many of the problems of nutrient solution making and allows anyone to prepare their own hydroponic solutions without having to perform any manual calculations :o) Thank you very much for all your support and interest !

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4 comments

  1. Paul Drayton says:

    I look forward to v1.0, sounds great.

    The minor problems of the existing .98 version pale in comparison to how much time it saves. But a fully functional program that deals with these issues will be much appreciated.

    Paul

  2. […] There's an update regarding Hydrobuddy that has me VERY VERY excited http://scienceinhydroponics.com/2010…-its-time.html […]

  3. Peter James says:

    I am developing a completely automated hydropoics system. Not Just the fertigation and enviornmental controls but a complete set of robotics to seed, germinate, transplant, monitor, tend and harvest food crops.

    I develop with basic stamp (low end) and forth based isopod micro controllers for the robots and sensors feedback system and use cross platform python and sqlite for the pc user interfaces and database contorls.

    I have spent 35 years developing factory floor controls systems, agribusiness process controls systems and master production schedulers so I have the ability to develop a well integrated solution for hydroponic food production.

    I currently have 2 acres of land leased and 5,000 sq ft of hoop house structures. I hope to have 50,000 sq ft over the next two years.

    I would like to see if you’d like to colaborate. One of my goals is to produce my own nutirents from biomass instead of using industrial chemicals.

  4. Chris says:

    Daniel,

    I use Solubor (17.5% B), aka sodium borate, from crop king. Am I calculating this correctly?

    I want 1.33 ppm Boron = 1.33 mg/L
    solubor is 17.5% Boron = 7.6 mg/L solubor
    to make 1L of 100x concentrate = 760 mg solubor = 0.76 g solubor

    first, I input 1.33 ppm in the calculation tab, and Hydro buddy solves for 5.33 ppm. Changing the input to 0.33 ppm makes it solve for 1.32 ppm. It doesn’t do this when I select boric acid in the salts tab. (I also noticed that Boron appears twice in the errors tab)

    When I want to make 4 L of 100:1 stock solution, hydro buddy tells me to add 4.657 g/L sodium borate, and when I make 400 L of direct add salts it says 5.45 g. Can you please help?

    update: solving for B in 400L direct add salts, it now tells me 3.04g, which agrees with my calcs above. I couldn’t tell you what I did differently.

    I know a lot of people are eagerly awaiting v1.0. I can’t thank you enough for your help and insight!

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