Vving updated for Mac OS X

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VVI, a privately held corporation, has released Vving for Mac OS X 10.1, an application to display network performance.

Vving is a front-line diagnostic tool that graphs the response of any computer on the Internet in real-time. It runs on either Mac OS X 10.1 or Mac OS X Server 10.1.

"Vving provides an immediate solution with no learning curve, something everyone appreciates," John Brilhart, chief technical officer of VVI, told MacCentral. "It also demonstrates the high scalability of our OpenGraph programming framework. For example, Vving can display millions of points in real-time and show data ranging from seconds to years. Although Vving shows just a small portion of the OpenGraph features I think it is a good application to demonstrate OpenGraph. Starting today we are providing complimentary copies of Vving by order via the Internet for that purpose."

Every second Vving sends a signal to a remote computer and waits to receive it back an echo. It then graphs how long it took for the echo to return and what portion of the echo returned. The graph is updated for every echo received, which is once per second in the current implementation. Running it all day long produces over 80 thousand points that need to be plotted in real time.

Vving is different from other similar applications because it will actually plot all the data to the screen without any smoothing or averaging, according to Ed VanVliet, VVI's director of application development. That means, for instance, if your computer's Internet connection temporarily degrades for a second or two then you will see it in Vving's output.

"Such things happen occasionally as computer hardware momentarily freezes and it is really not a good thing," VanVliet said. "For some data acquisition purposes the spike is the data and everything else can be ignored, so it is important to catch that feature in the display when applicable."

Vving also has three types of alarms built into it, so if your Internet connection crosses the alarm thresholds Vving will beep at you until the situation is corrected. Not everyone would want to monitor their Internet connection as heavily as Vving permits them to, said VanVliet. But Vving is a fun application and it gives people an opportunity to see what VVI is up to, he added.

"For people that are in our market space Vving lets them gestate some features of our software incase they may have a similar need, but perhaps with a different data source, for instance," said VanVliet.

How does Vving fit in with VVI's other products? They can use Vving as a template application by modifying a small section of code within a matter of hours and graph data from nearly any type of source, he explained. For example, VVI can graph signals from laboratory instrumentation such as temperature, stress, pressure, data coming from real-time stock feeds, disk activity on a server computer or for that matter any type of data that is available to the computer Vving runs on, said VanVliet.

"Vving is based on our OpenGraph framework," said Brilhart. "We've been working on a redesign of OpenGraph for two years now. OpenGraph was already one of the most advanced programming frameworks I am aware of. However, we wanted to make OpenGraph 10 times better than before."

In order to accomplish this, VVI specified a proprietary programming language and wrote a compiler and software project management system for that language and the design of OpenGraph. Then they converted over half a million lines of OpenGraph code by hand to that system and also added code.

"In the conversion we incorporated many new design concepts that are a result of over 10 years of experience and product development in object-oriented technology," Brilhart said. "The new OpenGraph meets all our expectations and provides a basis for addition of many new and major code enhancements that we will produce in future versions."

Vving interleaves real-time data display with an interactive user interface. A user can resize the Vving window while Vving continues to collect data. Vving is multithreaded and has dynamic algorithms to account for many user-oriented actions so that the underlying Vving code scales to large size problems under multi-variant use conditions.

"Some similar type systems constrain the user interface in one way or another because the underlying code can not handle all user interface features," said VanVliet. "Not so with Vving. We have worked hard to ensure the robustness and scalability of its main function in conjunction with a good user experience."

The underlying software includes many options not brought out in Vving. For instance, the implementation can format any amount of axis, although six y-axes is a practical limit, VanVliet said. Vving has two y-axis and one x-axis.

For more info on Vving and to download the solution, go to the product Web site. VVI is also looking for contributions of software code splices or other ideas for data sources.

"For example, for the built in heat sensor in the PPC, CPU time, USB data acquisition devices or any other data source hardware," VanVliet said. "Once we find and define a data source then it only takes a short while to hook up the graph interface. So user feedback is definitely something we are interested in."

This story, "Vving updated for Mac OS X" was originally published by PCWorld.

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