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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Getting started and documentation beyond dialtone

From: Martin Braun
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Getting started and documentation beyond dialtone.py ?
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2010 09:24:55 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

I guess I can throw in a couple of pennies here...

Here at KIT we have a couple of students hacking GR-related projects,
and most of them get something running within reasonable time, provided
they've had some kind of previous programming experience.
Here's some of the advice I give them:

On Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 01:02:19PM -0800, madengr wrote:
> 1)  I'd like to get started with coding flow-graphs in Python.  Is there any
> documentation that describes the Python libraries, mainly arguments to the
> functions and the algorithm details?  I'm browsing through the doxygen
> documentation but it's kind of overwhelming since it's geared toward C++ and
> doesn't cover how it functions.

I guess you've read:

It's a wee bit old, but not wrong. However, it doesn't cover GRC.
It's good you've got GRC running, because it's a super-useful tool,
even once you're an expert, because you can just prototype stuff very quickly.

What it does explain is how to use the C++ docs for your Python dev.
Since most of the signal processing is done in C++, this is most of what
you need.
However, to understand the algorithms, quite often you simply have to
jump to the source. Don't let that discourage you: I found the GNU Radio
code simple to read most of the time.

> 2) What IDE is good for Python, specifically for use with gnuradio?  I have
> dabbled a few hours with Wing IDE and I like it so far.  I want something
> with a class browser and auto completion.  However, I figured it would help
> (e.g. auto-completion) with the arguments to the gnuradio functions, but it
> gives no hints.

I wouldn't know how to do that, I also use very standard tools (in my
case, vim & console). Also very useful:

- ipython, an interactive python shell, where I can quickly try small
- a running browser with the autogenerated docs (that's why I haven't
  tried autocompletion)
- gr_modtool.py, which helps add blocks to out-of-tree modules

> 3) I saw there was an actual gnuradio book, but looks like it was never
> published.  I'd be willing to buy this in PDF or ebook format; is it
> avaiable?
> Anyway, for now I'm looking at the *.py that GRC generates and learning from
> that.  Also looking at the examples in source tree.  I'm just wondering if
> there is more documentation.  Maybe it's just dive in and sink or swim; of
> course that's probably the best way to learn.  I figure modifying the
> example programs to work with the UHD will teach me allot.

FWIW, a lot of people think GNU Radio is hard. Personally, I find the
hardest bit is understanding signal processing. And no tool in the world
can make that simple. If you really know how the DSP works, getting GNU
Radio to do thy biddings is usually fairly straightforward.

Good luck!

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Communications Engineering Lab (CEL)

Dipl.-Ing. Martin Braun
Research Associate

Kaiserstra├če 12
Building 05.01
76131 Karlsruhe

Phone: +49 721 608-3790
Fax: +49 721 608-6071

KIT -- University of the State of Baden-W├╝rttemberg and
National Laboratory of the Helmholtz Association

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