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The Icon Bar: News and features: Luafox released

Luafox released

Posted by Chris on 12:05, 16/10/2009 | ,
Seemingly out of the blue, a new data analysis application has been released for RISC OS. Called Luafox, the program offers a range of features, including import of CSV and ODS (Open Office) files, easy table manipulation, project management and graph creation. It's rare for commercial software to make an appearance on RISC OS these days, so it's a brave move of Dr Michael Gerbracht to produce and market the app.

First impressions

Luafox certainly gets some of the basics right. There's a smart website with some screenshots of the product. There's also a demo version to try before you buy. Sadly, this only works on StrongARM machines, meaning that my non-StrongARM VRPC was unable to run it reliably. However, even on my system I got it to run for a while before the inevitable crash, so I was able to tinker with it and manipulate some numbers.
I'm no scientist, so most of its functionality was beyond me. However, it looks pretty professional, and some thought has clearly gone into the interface. I'm not a huge fan of the garish icons (they look like they were imported from ArtWorks with little retouching), but overall the app looks capable. It's certainly brimming with options. Aside from the table view (pictured in the screenshot), there's also a management window with panes for the various sections of your project.
At present the software is aimed at students of natural sciences, though there are plans for a professional version of the software offering more specific functions that meet the requirements of technology-driven companies, institutes and universities. As the software already has hat-loads of features, it will be interesting to see what these are. The PDF manual, just like the website, is smart and helpful.


I wonder about the market for this, however. At €89 for a single site licence, it's not exactly cheap. And the market for scientific software on RISC OS can't be huge. I wonder whether an open source application might have been a better choice. Luafox, as the name suggests, is written in Gavin Wraith's port of Lua, and it might have been useful for the libraries used by the application to have been more widely available for others wishing to try it out themselves.
Still, we wish Michael every success with this interesting looking application. If anyone has any experience using it, then let us know!
Link: Luafox

  Luafox released
  maikl (10:09 17/10/2009)
  AKX (20:56 17/10/2009)
    andrew (13:14 25/10/2009)
      bhtooefr (13:38 25/10/2009)
Michael Gerbracht Message #111653, posted by maikl at 10:09, 17/10/2009
Posts: 5
Thanks for the article, Chris, I would like to comment a few points:

StrongARM-Requirement: Unfortunately this seems to be a problem of the lua port. Try to create a file with the line:
t = {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20}

It will fail on ARM7/ARM7500 but work on the StrongARM. If you reduce the number of elements to about 10 it also works on the ARM7. Unfortunately I do not know why this is. This might not be the only problem. But if these problems are fixed luafox should just run on ARM7 systems.

Libraries: In order to run luafox it was necessary to extend the libraries that access the toolbox and the WIMP. I do not explicitly say this somewhere but the libraries are free, so you can use them in your projects if you want. They can be found in !luafox.Lib. I will try to make them available as a separate download in the next couple of days.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
W. P. B. Message #111654, posted by wpb at 10:12, 17/10/2009
Posts: 22
It looks like a very professional piece of software from the screenshots on the website. Didn't spot a link in the article. It's - somewhat unsurprisingly - http://www.luafox.com/

Thanks to TIB for reporting it!
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Amin Kharchi Message #111657, posted by AKX at 20:56, 17/10/2009, in reply to message #111653
Posts: 11
Real nice website with good screenshots. Other websites of RISC OS applications are very bad, but luafox.com shows a professional offer.

Sieht sehr professionell aus deine Website. Sollten sich andere ein Beispiel dran nehmen! big smile
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Andrew Message #111698, posted by andrew at 13:14, 25/10/2009, in reply to message #111657
HandbagHandbag Boi
Posts: 3439
What is ODS format? It's not Powerpoint compatible is it?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Eric Rucker Message #111699, posted by bhtooefr at 13:38, 25/10/2009, in reply to message #111698
Posts: 337
ODS is an OpenDocument Spreadsheet, so Excel is the program you should be asking about compatibility with.

There are various OpenDocument plugins for MS Office out there, but the most popular way to work with OpenDocument stuff is to use OpenOffice.
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The Icon Bar: News and features: Luafox released