Hello! Recently we ran a competition among anyone using C++Builder to enter the apps they’ve built which ‘do good’ – to solve a problem or help the world. We got some great entries addressing all sorts of problems, from environmental to working during the pandemic, and we’re very pleased now to share the contest results for these apps — Doing Good with C++Builder.
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Water usage is one of the most significant problems facing the world currently, with many farmers seeing shortages and droughts, and this is only increasing through climate change. In terms of a problem that can be solved, this is certainly a big one where solutions make a positive impact on the world.
Irrigation 3021 gives fine-grained control over water usage in a garden or agricultural field. An Arduino board controls solenoid valves based on sensor input. The C++Builder mobile app communicates to this valve controller via Bluetooth, and provides overall control, as well as giving insight into sensor values and more. The end result is a system for garden or field irrigation that provides control over and saves a considerable amount of water.
The judges were impressed by the mix of hardware and software into an impressive solution, as well as the important goal of the project.
A very different type of problem, but one many people may be familiar with: optimising file sizes. Many formats can give wildly varying file sizes for the same apparent quality when exported by different tools (One of the judges personally found this recently when one video editing tool exported a file at 2.5GB, and another at just 85MB. Same file, equivalent quality settings as far as was possible in each app’s UI.)
This tool can compress more than 400 different file types, and aims to be able to optimise any file you give it, without any loss in quality – whether that’s an image, audio, movie, or anything else. In other words, this is not a zipping tool: it is an optimisation tool.
The judges were impressed by the immense variety of files it handles, and that it is available open source for free. User reviews on its download page also show it as highly valued.
As a side note, the developer uses TwineCompile for speedy builds, which is available for free in GetIt.
3rd Place: Virtual Display Manager by iShadow
During the pandemic, many people are working from home, but may not have the same office setup they were able to use in the office, such as multiple monitors. Multiple screens are a great productivity boost for many people.
This software creates multiple virtual monitors (including across multiple real monitors) to help people have more virtual screen space. The judges were struck by the problem (one we had not considered ourselves) and the potential usefulness of solving it, and were especially impressed by the technical difficulty that must have gone into the solution.
We had many submissions to the contest and there are a number of other entries we’d like to note. These are in no particular order:
- Aldo Balsamo – COVID tracker
The entrant explained that at their university, students who live in a university dormitory must have their temperature checked every time they enter a building, and if it is under 37.5 they get a sticker. This can only occur during the day, there is no solution at night. This is not an ideal tracking solution. The software allows temperature records to be tracked at any time, and provides a better solution than a sticker.
Judges’ notes: The app is not in use, since it was written for a university project rather than as a solution to the problem. Nevertheless we were impressed with the author’s identification of a system that could be improved, and their use of C++Builder to quickly write an app.
- M Noltmeer – SimpleLocaliseLibrary
Localisation is important for many applications because it provides an app in the language and paradigm that someone expects. But not all libraries are easy to use.
This library is a simple but useful localisation library allowing different translations of text to be loaded easily for text specified in code. It updates the UI at runtime immediately when a language is changed, and supports flexibly loading language translations at runtime.
Judges’ notes: Localising is important to help availability and access to technology. This is a straightforward solution (thus the ‘simple’ in the name) but also looks like it provides enough flexibility for many use cases.
- ST Software – ST Audio Player
This is a music player for Windows, supporting almost any file format, with features like sorting and editing inside an easy to use and good-looking interface.
Judges’ notes: Playing music is not really a problem for most people, which is why this is only an honourable mention. However the app itself is impressive, with a very nice UI that reminds us of older Windows Media Player or similar era players — we expect many people would find its UI and controls intuitive compared to some other common media software today. It also makes nice use of the modern Windows 10-style VCL controls (for example, you can see a toggle switch in the screenshot.)
Congratulations to each of the above! We’d like to thank all entrants, and it’s great to see the variety of software created with C++Builder. Entrants notes often commented on the ease of creating a great UI and the speed of development compared to other software – one of the winners specifically noted migrating to C++Builder from another solution – and we’re very happy to see the wide variety of software and the good uses to which C++Builder is put, many of which can help the world. It’s great to know it has such positive impact. Thank you !