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Old December 9, 1999, 04:43 PM   #1
Join Date: October 25, 1999
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 81
As a result of having a little time on my hands, and from reading some recent threads regarding note-taking at the range, I've decided to try to put together a small application that most of us around here could use.

First, let me say that I promise nothing from this effort - it may never come to fruition.

Second, I have never heard of or seen software of this nature. If there are some decent application out there already, please let me know so I can evaluate them and determine if it's worth my time to make something better.

OK, having said that, here's what I have in mind, basically:

An application that allows shooters to track their guns, and their sessions at the range.

The first piece of the application would allow the user to enter guns with attributes including, but not limited to, the following:
- Make
- Model
- Caliber
- Type (pistol,rifle,shotgun)
- Serial Number
- Date of Purchase
- Place of Purchase
- Fire Type (center, rim, muzzle load)
- Action (w/i type context)
- Stock (w/i type context)
- Sights (w/i type context, eg for rifle: scope, fixed, adjustable)
- Gun Name (for use as an identifier in the app.)
- Total rounds fired
- Notes

Of course, some of these attributes would be completely optional. Also, the Notes field would be intended to provide more specific descriptions of the accessories on the gun such as the scope, stock, etc.

The second piece of the application would provide the user with a means to create a Range Report. A Range Report would include:
- Date
- Location
- Shooter
- Gun Name
- # rounds fired
- # Failures
- # groups
- Indoor/Outdoor
- Light Conditions
- Weather
- Wind
- Session Notes

Now, in order to really get any value from this, a shooter needs to be able to track data relating to each group shot. This data would include:
- Distance to target
- Ammo used
- # rounds
- Group Notes

I've got a fairly good picture of how I would set up this functionality in an application to this point.

The main question I have for everyone is, Should I implement the same kind of feature for adding and tracking "Ammo Used" similarly to the gun setup? In other words, does a free-form field for "Ammo Used" within a Range Report suffice for documenting things like brand, weight, load (or for reloaders, bullet type, powder charge ,primer size, etc.), or does a whole separate piece of the application need to be created for it?

Personally, I feel that another piece just for Ammo is needed. This would allow a shooter to REALLY track and do analysis on different loads, especially for reloaders.

However, I don't want to make an overly complex application. It's always a chore to find the balance between functionality and simplicity.

Sorry for such a long post. I would really like your feedback on this, as I'm hoping to produce something worthwhile that others can take advantage of.

All suggestions are welcome!

[This message has been edited by AKrob (edited December 09, 1999).]
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Old December 9, 1999, 04:48 PM   #2
Join Date: October 25, 1999
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 81
Whoops ,left out some stuff...

I also intend to implement some functionality that would allow a user to create reports for each of their guns.

For example, a user could create a report showing all the Range Reports in a link list for a particular gun (maybe ammo?).

Also, I forgot to mention that the Group Detail stuff would also include a "size" attribute, and I might even try to work in something for recording the pattern...

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Old December 9, 1999, 05:07 PM   #3
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Join Date: December 17, 1998
Posts: 479
I would pay for software like this for the Palm OS. It would be really great to be able to HotSync with a desktop app.
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Old December 9, 1999, 06:54 PM   #4
Join Date: October 25, 1999
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 81
Mort - Great suggestion. Having a Palm version that syncs would be really beneficial.

Hey George - Would it have been more appropriate to have put this in General Discussion or elsewhere?
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Old December 10, 1999, 01:49 AM   #5
George Hill
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Join Date: October 14, 1998
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 11,546
No - this is concerning life at the range - so it's okay here.

This sounds like a pretty good idea.
When you get something into Beta - let me know.

I use MS XL for this... if you can make a better app - SWEET.

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Old December 10, 1999, 02:04 AM   #6
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Join Date: November 18, 1998
Location: Virginia
Posts: 412
AKrob, I've had the same thoughts.

thinking along SQL lines, once you define session, gun, magazine, ammo, and shooter tables, you want to be able to generate reports based on sorts of the above. for example, you may wish to determine the total number of rounds shot with mag #4. likewise, how many rounds of Fed HS 155gr have I shot total? and there's definitely a need for stoppages tabulation and text notes, such as "heavy recoil" or "excessive muzzle flash".

there are very small SQL engines available, so the main chore would be the UI and learning the API for the SQL engine.

my theory is that people won't tabulate on paper at the range, then transcribe later; it's got to be done once on a palmtop at the range. thus, Pilot is the first logical platform. WinCE doesn't appear to be doing well in the palmtop market, but I sure like the looks of the lightweight laptop designs such as the Vadem Clio (though those are a bit too big for a range bag).

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Old December 10, 1999, 11:36 AM   #7
Join Date: October 25, 1999
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 81

Reports and notes are a must, I agree. I've got a very clear picture of the data/object model in my head, and the SQL involved for this is simple. So, this should be no problem.

I plan to write this in Java, and will utilize a JDBC framework against an Access database. I figure I can deploy this thing with the Access runtime engine, so you don't actually have to have Access to run it.

I think the Palm platform is definitely key to having alot of people utilize this. However, right now I think I will focus on the PC app. and then give the Palm a shot. Also, I think alot more people have PCs than Palms, so there's argument either way for which should be first. I guess for right now I just want to stick with what I know - I've never done Palm development...

Keep the good suggestions coming!

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Old December 11, 1999, 01:02 AM   #8
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Join Date: November 18, 1998
Location: Virginia
Posts: 412
AKrob, sounds like a plan. I am just starting to learn Java myself. having a rough time thinking in the OO paradigm; too many years of Fortran and C.

dunno how the port to Palm will go; the original development language for Palm was CodeWarrior, which I believe to be a Pascal descendent. dunno if there is a JVM for it or not.

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Old December 12, 1999, 05:53 AM   #9
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Location: Ohio USA
Posts: 7,854
First off, great idea.

You ask "Should I implement the same kind of feature for adding and tracking "Ammo Used" similarly to the gun setup"

Yes! I use a far greater variance of ammo than I do guns. I would arrange the program:

Main Heading:Caliber
Sub heading : Ammo Used
Then follow with gun used for the rest of the data.

I only shoot a few different calibers, but a lot of different ammo, followed by a few number of guns, followed by a variety of different variable conditions. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I think it would be easier to find data for a specific caliber this way.
1.) 9MM
1.)Browning Hi Power
a.)thru z.) (fill in data)
a.)thru z.) (fill in data)
1.)Browning Hi Power
a.)thru z.) (fill in data)
a.)thru z.) (fill in data)
And so on.

Just a thought.

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