Archiv für den Monat: April 2014

Efficient Working in a Team: Using Textfiles instead of binary data

You all know this situation. There is a template for an MS Office file e.g. Word and all  team memvers begin to work with it. Everything is fine until you want to merge the files of each member. If it is possible someone has the task to collect all files manually by mail, open them on his PC and merge them together manually. Typical problem occur like formatting problems. After this person has merged the files he has to sent them to the team and the cycle starts again.

We don’t want to waste time by doing things which can be done by a PC faster and better. Therefore we use Latex, which is an improvement of Tex, and the IDE TeXstudio. We split the document up in:

  • header (which contains the formatting variables)
  • titlepage
  • main document (which is very short and has only „\include“ commands)
  • chapters (Each chapter is a own *.tex file)
  • last page

So we won’t have the problems described above.

Efficient Working in a Team: Subversion-Repository

In the next days I will tell you about three habits, which increase our productivity:

  • Using a Subversion-Repository
  • Using a team-forum for communication
  • Using textfiles instead of binary data

Subversion Repository:

Wikipedia says:

Apache Subversion (often abbreviated SVN, after the command name svn) is a software versioning and revision control system distributed as free software under the Apache License.[1] Developers use Subversion to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, web pages, and documentation. Its goal is to be a mostly compatible successor to the widely used Concurrent Versions System (CVS).“

We use a central server in our intitute, in which the svn-server is installed. All our project data the data is being stored there (including history).

To use the system on a certain computer for the first time, we „check a working copy out“, which means all the data from the server will be transmitted to a local directory on our PC.

Now we can work with the data until we want to finish our working day. In that case we commit our data to the server. There is one fact, which increases the speed of the transmission: Only the differences will be transmitted. E.g. you work on a whole book with tousands of pages and only change a comma, then only one line will be transmitted.

If you want to start your new working day, first you have to update your working-copy. Same as above – only the differences in the files will be transmitted. If you nwork with textfiles the update procedure will only last a few seconds.

The server will store all revisions until the storage is full. So e.g. I want the status of our SED from a certain time on a certain day, that’s no problem.

If you are interested in this software, visit:


3D-Printing for Critical Design Review

3D-printing of mounting solution in IRENA box

One of our main goals is to design and optimize a mounting solution for the SSDs of our instrument EVA. Therefore we  create plates with grooves, in which we will jam the SSDs.

Because it is expensive and relatively slow to order them from an external manufacturer, we use a 3D-printer that we have in our institute. This way we can print a huge number of different adjustments easily and fast, e.g. a prototype plate for the CDR.

We still need to test  if these plates fit our needs related to vacuum. If YES, we will optimize our sensor head design for the 3D printer. If NOT, we will order the plates at a workshop the old fashioned way.