"‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that's all.’"[1]

The IRIS Explorer Module Writer's Guide (UNIX) contains the information you need to master the tools for constructing and installing your own custom-built modules in IRIS Explorer. The options for taking control at different stages of the module-building process are numerous, and you can choose your level according to your current needs.

If your needs are fairly simple, you can take full advantage of the Module Builder's capabilities for automating the process and do very little work yourself, beyond supplying a basic algorithm. On the other hand, you may want to exploit those aspects of the IRIS Explorer product that let you as module writer control the process almost entirely.

To let the IRIS Explorer program do the work is very convenient, and most of the time it is sufficient, but it does set limits on what you can achieve. To be master yourself takes more effort but offers in return access to all the power and flexibility of the IRIS Explorer environment.

About This Guide

The IRIS Explorer Module Writer's Guide (UNIX) describes how to design and build IRIS Explorer modules using the Module Builder.

It provides information about using the built-in IRIS Explorer data types and about defining new data types for your particular needs. There are also sections on how to customize your build environment and set up special subdirectories for module development.

This guide is written primarily for programmers who support computational scientists and engineers in the fields of fluid dynamics, chemistry, meteorology, cosmology, physics, and mathematics. It addresses users who will write module suites for other people to use in the Map Editor.

However, any users who wish to extend the functionality of IRIS Explorer can write their own modules using the Module Builder.

The guide assumes you:

  • can program in either C, C++ or Fortran

  • understand the UNIX operating system and file structure

  • are familiar with the X Window and Motif

In general, the user interface of the Module Builder adheres closely to the Motif standard.

Contents of This Guide

The IRIS Explorer Module Writer's Guide (UNIX) has ten chapters and two appendices. They cover the following topics:

All the chapters contain sample code and refer the reader to source directories in which modules that use the sample code reside. All example code may be found in directories below $EXPLORERHOME/src/MWGcode, where $EXPLORERHOME is the location of the root of the IRIS Explorer distribution (by default, this is /usr/explorer). You can copy this code to your own work area, build the modules and run them in the Map Editor.

This guide has three companion volumes:

  • IRIS Explorer User's Guide (UNIX), which describes the Map Editor and how you launch modules and create maps and applications in it.

  • IRIS Explorer Collaborative User's Guide (UNIX), which describes the features of collaborative visualization and how to write modules that can be used in a collaborative session, i.e., using IRIS Explorer to display and work with the same map at different physical locations.

  • IRIS Explorer Reference Pages, which contains help on all the modules available within IRIS Explorer, and provides information on the Application Programming Interface (API) routines.

[1] Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll