New Project: Control SimH via a web browser


This place has been very quiet for 3 years+, but I now have more time and headspace to concentrate on DEC related stuff.

I just wanted to put up a brief post to describe my new DEC-related project.

The project centres around creating a web-based API and control panel GUI for the SimH Computer History Simulator.

In initial investigations into viability are using Python 2.7.6 on Ubuntu Linux and the Flask website micro-framework. This provides a lightweight, easy-to-work-with web framework that, at least for development purposes, requires no Apache server stack.

The current 4.0 SimH beta code (available via GitHub) permits use of a telnet terminal to control the simulator. Using Python’s native telnetlib module, I am currently intending to throw telnet commands at the terminal to see what I can make it do. That will hopefully, int turn, lead to the implementation of a Alpha-grade version of an API on which I can build a web front-end. Eventually I would like to investigate using the simh_frontpanel.h C API instead, which is the ‘official’ formal C API built into the latest 4.0 beta version of SimH. That presents an additional challenge in that there is no Python to C wrapper for the simh_frontpanel API. This presents another issue I will likely address going forward, either by bringing in a C / Python module developer or learning to do it myself (which right now I don’t fancy).

Thus far I have the flask app bootstrapping and a very simple API class that spits out some telnet strings. It’s progress… of sorts!

Stay tuned for more shenanigans!

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