Ready, Set, Go: Introducing the New RTI Getting Started Guide
Written by Rachel Haas
June 23, 2020
We’ve all seen it: Someone gets a flashy new electronic gadget as a present, opens the box, deftly tosses aside the instruction manual and heads off, plug in hand, to the nearest wall outlet. You can't exactly do that with RTI Connext® DDS, but maybe you deployed it to meet one or two of your most immediate connectivity needs without knowing that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Connext DDS can do for you.
With that in mind, we’re pleased to announce the release of RTI's new Getting Started Guide! It provides a modular approach to mastering the many capabilities of Connext DDS. And to help you conquer the conflict of time management, each of the different modules has a “time-to-complete” designation. The updated Getting Started Guide includes exciting new content and covers the concepts, tools and APIs you need to know to hit the ground running.
For example, when I first started at RTI almost three years ago, I knew nothing about Connext DDS. I had to learn from the ground up, like many of you. I can still remember what it was like to be wrestling with some of the essential concepts: What's the big deal about keys and instances? A Publisher and a DataWriter aren't the same thing? I know what Quality of Service (QoS) is, but what’s the best way to configure it?
So naturally, I was very excited to join some of my more knowledgeable co-workers in writing a revamped Getting Started Guide for Connext DDS. Oftentimes, neophytes and experts can feel at odds. This time, we were a team with a common goal.
Fig 1: In "Introduction to Data Types," you can quickly learn how Topics, Data Types, and DataWriters/DataReaders can work together in your system
This Getting Started Guide is geared towards people who want to get their hands on the code, and quickly. Or, you can take your time, review and write the concepts to memory at your own speed. The Getting Started Guide is self-paced and here whenever you need it.
Personally, what I like most about the guide is that it layers concepts tutorial by tutorial. With each hands-on exercise, a new light bulb can go off over the reader's head, as each example builds upon the previous one. And as I mentioned, the guide is modular: you could get started with Data Types in one chapter and switch over to Discovery in another. Finally, it is truly a "getting started" guide, in the sense that it doesn’t try to introduce everything you’d need to know, but just what you need to start a strong foundation - one that you can continue to build code on.
It’s also important to mention that the Getting Started Guide is a work in progress - our intention is that it will continue to evolve. So we'll be adding more modules in the coming months, along with new concepts and tips that can help you do more with Connext DDS. Currently, you can choose from two C++ APIs, but we'll be adding more languages as well. Look for updates on our community Documentation page or the News feed in RTI Launcher.
In the process of drafting and user-testing of the new guide, we pushed each other hard to achieve the highest possible level of clarity to make even the more niche concepts easy to understand. We want our customers to be well-positioned for success based on industry best practices. And as I like to say, "If I can follow it, anybody can!" I have every reason to believe that's true for the new Getting Started Guide, but of course, if you have suggestions for improvement, don't hesitate to let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Check it out here and let us know what you think!
About the author
Rachel Haas is a Senior Technical Writer at RTI. She has worked at RTI for nearly 3 years and has 25 years experience as a technical writer in Silicon Valley