Lifespan – Astrology Software
In the early days of my excursion into astrology, I used an application called Astrolog, made by Walter Pullen, to try out horoscopes. That version of Astrolog did not have a graphical user interface, so all of the interaction was on a terminal, using plain text. As a poor grad student, I did not want to put down money on fancy software, especially since I didn’t know if my interest in astrology was anything more than a passing fancy.
Turned out that my interest in astrology never did wane, and in those early years, Astrolog served me quite well. Gradually, I got more proficient in astrology and began practicing it more regularly and more seriously. I was doing horoscope analysis for friends and family, discussing astrology with like-minded people on discussion forums (or “bulletin boards” as they used to be called), doing research work testing various astrological theories on horoscopes, and so on. I found that Astrolog was no longer adequate for my work, for a couple of reasons. For one, the plain text interface was getting way too cumbersome for prolonged use. Moreover, I found that I wanted to try various permutations of horoscope features that simply weren’t available in Astrolog.
Which is when I decided to write my own astrological application, with a fully graphical user interface, and build all the features I wanted, exactly the way I wanted. As a computer scientist, I also wanted to challenge myself to build a fairly comprehensive software program with lots of bells and whistles. I called the program Lifespan, and began working on it earnestly. Initially I was only thinking of building features for Western tropical astrology, but at that time I had also become fairly well-versed in Vedic (Indian) astrology, and I decided I wanted to incorporate all the essential Vedic horoscope features into Lifespan. It took about a couple of years of part time work (I had a day job!) to get Lifespan to be more or less what I had envisioned.
I will spare you the technical details, save that at the heart of the horoscopic calculations are equations for the orbital motions of the planets, and trigonometric functions that are used to determine the houses in a horoscope chart–all available online. What I am saying is any capable programmer can build their own horoscope charting program if they are really interested, and have some time to spare.
Over time, as with any software application, Lifespan began to show signs of aging. Technology, especially for user interfaces, had gotten a lot better. I wanted to redo the the user interface of several of the horoscope charting features of Lifespan, to enrich the astrologer’s experience. So I went ahead and reworked much of the user interface recently, for both the Western and Vedic systems. All the illustrative figures of horoscopic elements and full horoscope charts used on these pages have been generated in Lifespan. I hope you find them to be clear and helpful as you engage in the process of learning astrology. Enjoy the journey!