IRIS Explorer - the IRIS Explorer Map Editor
IRIS Explorer is a system for combining small, general tools
called modules to create powerful custom visualization applications.
Modules linked together this way form an IRIS Explorer Map. The
Map Editor is the primary means of interacting with modules that
are cooperating as an aggregate IRIS Explorer application. The Map Editor
is used to start and stop module execution, make and break connections
among modules, and operate controls for the modules themselves.
Use the Module Builder (mbuilder)
application to build new IRIS Explorer modules from existing subroutines
written in C, C++, or Fortran (even without source).
The Data Scribe utility (dscribe) will help
you make modules to convert your data files to and from IRIS Explorer's internal
By default, IRIS Explorer displays a Map Editor window and a
Module Librarian. Modules are executed by being selected in the
Librarian and dragged into the Map Editor window. Modules are represented
in the Map Editor window by small control panels. Larger, more detailed
full-sized versions of the small control panels can be brought up for each
module. Modules may execute on different remote hosts while being part
of a local map. Composite module icons in the Librarian represent complete
maps that contain multiple modules, and turn into multiple control panels
in the Map Editor when executed.
Connections are made among modules by selecting their IO Pads
with the right mouse button. Selected IO Pads display a menu of ports
offered by the module. Selecting an output port, (right-hand IO Pad) followed
by an input port (left-hand IO Pad) of like type will establish a connection.
Connections are represented by lines joining modules.
Groups of modules may be assembled, and represented in the Map
Editor as single small control panels. Controls and ports for the group
may be selected from those hidden on contained modules. Groups of groups
may be composed hierarchically.
IRIS Explorer uses the environment variable EXPLORERHOME to
find the root of its system files. The default location of these files
is /usr/explorer. If you change the location at installation
time EXPLORERHOME must be set to point to the installation
The environment variableCXGLTYPE is also used by IRIS Explorer to
determine the location to search for display-based modules. These can either use
OpenGL or X (via the Mesa 3-D graphics library) for rendering; the former option
usually gives faster rendering speeds, but can only display on X displays that
support the GLX extension. The latter option displays on a wider variety of
hardware. Choose the rendering option by setting CXGLTYPE to
OPENGL or MESAGL.
The following options apply to IRIS Explorer:
- -map mapname
- Starts the specified aggregate application automatically.
- -app mapname
- Starts the IRIS Explorer system without the Map Editor or Librarian windows.
Maps that are saved with visible maximized control panels will have only
those control panels available when executed this way.
- -arenasize size
- IRIS Explorer usually uses shared memory to communicate between modules
on the same host. Applications processing exceptionally large data sets
may need to increase the amount of shared memory allocated for this purpose.
The default value of arenasize is 32 megabytes.
- -base address
- The shared memory arena used by IRIS Explorer is normally mapped at
an address chosen by the system based on previously allocated resources.
Specifying base forces the arena to be mapped at address.
This value may be specified in hexadecimal by prefixing it with 0x.
Normal caveats concerning the location of mapped files and performance
- -level value
- Data input to modules are checked for integrity before being used.
Specifying a value for level sets the level of detail at
which data is checked. Allowed values are:
- 0 A ``magic number'' in the data is checked for validity.
This helps detect data that has already been freed, as a result of reference
count errors in a user's module.
- 1 Memory allocated for the data is checked for boundary
overrun. This helps detect indexing errors which may trash data memory.
- The default level is 0. The detailed levels invoke the less
detailed tests as well. For example, the magic number is always checked
before memory boundaries.
- The level of detail can also be set by setting the CXDATACHECKLEVEL
environment variable to the same integer value. The command line option
overrides the environment variable.
- -script [options]
- Starts the IRIS Explorer system in scripting mode. Scripting can either be
driven interactively or via a script file. The options are:
- specifies the name of an Explorer script file.
- allows interactive scripting via the controlling terminal window.
- allows interactive scripting via a dedicated scripting control window.
- -action integer
- Specifying action defines the action performed when an error
is detected in data. An error message is constructed by the module describing
where in the data the error is, and at what point it was detected. Bad
data is not input to the module. Allowed specifications for action
- 0 The error message is ignored.
- 1 The message is presented in a pop-up dialogue box
that must be dismissed by the user.
- 2 The message is presented in a pop-up dialogue box
and the module halts so that it may be debugged. The module will continue
when the global integer variable cxDataErrorRelease is set to a non-zero
value. The module cannot communicate with the rest of the system while
it is halted. It cannot be fired, connected or disconnected with other
modules, or destroyed.
- 3 The message is presented in a pop-up dialogue box
and the module aborts, causing a core file to be left in the current directory.
- The action can also be set by setting the CXDATACHECKACTION
variable to the same integer value. The command line option overrides the
When IRIS Explorer starts up, it first reads commands from the file
$EXPLORERHOME/Explorer.config, followed by .explorerrc
in the user's home directory. These files contain commands that configure
If a configuration file is marked as executable, IRIS Explorer will attempt
to execute it as a command and will use the text it sends to standard output as
the configuration information. This allows for special configuration files that
are shell scripts that generate the configuration information. Furthermore, as a
special case, if the first line of the file contains only #!CPP then
the file is filtered through the C preprocessor before being analyzed.
These are the available configuration commands:
- modulepath [ [ -prepend ] path]
- path is the directory containing saved maps, modules, and their
resources. Named directories are appended to the end of the existing list
of directories. Use -prepend to add directory names at the beginning
of the list. If no names or options are given, the list of directories
is made empty. The default module directory location includes
$EXPLORERUSERHOME/modules for user modules,
$EXPLORERHOME/modules for non-graphics modules, and one of
$EXPLORERHOME/mesagl/modules or $EXPLORERHOME/opengl/modules
for graphics modules. See the description of the
CXGLTYPE variable above for more information on which directory
of graphics modules is used.
- tempdir dir
- Use dir as the directory containing IRIS Explorer temporary
files. The default value for dir is /usr/tmp.
If the value of the TMPDIR environment variable is wanted for
this variable, use the string %TMPDIR%.
- logfile file
- Sets the name for IRIS Explorer's status log output file. The default
value for file is cxlog.
- category name [module|pattern|directory] ...
- Use category to place modules in special columns in the Librarian.
The special predefined category shelf is used to specify the open
rectangle at the bottom of the Librarian's window. Items listed in this
command may be module names, patterns to match against module names, or
directory names. Module names listed are inserted into the category. Patterns
result in all know modules matching the pattern being placed in the category;
shell file matching rules are used. Directory names cause IRIS Explorer
to search the named directory for all modules, and then they are placed
into the category.
- arenasize size [ mb | kb ]
- Use arenasize to set the size of the shared memory segment.
The modifiers mb and kb may be used to specify arenasize
in terms of megabytes and kilobytes, respectively. See option flag
- arenabase address
- Use arenabase to set the base virtual address for the shared
memory arena on those systems supporting shared memory. See the -base
option flag above.
- host hostname [ -command remote-execution-command
- Use host to enable module execution on remote host hostname.
To run IRIS Explorer as a particular user on machine host, use the
-command option to specify a remote execution command. For example, the
host entry host alaska -command "rsh HOST -l trbrown" will cause
IRIS Explorer to execute on host alaska as user trbrown. The string HOST
expands to the hostname specified as the first argument to the
- scriptfile filename
- Use scriptfile to cause IRIS Explorer to read the mentioned
file as a Skm script language file on start-up. This is useful to preload
a set of scripting procedures into the system for subsequent use.
Most of the resources used by IRIS Explorer are set in the file
$XUSERFILESEARCHPATH/Explorer rather than being compiled into the
program. It is possible to render IRIS Explorer unusable by altering some of
Details on installation are provided in the IRIS Explorer Installer's
Guide appropriate to this implementation. The new features or restrictions
of a version are given in the Release Notes for that version.
Help with creating and running applications with IRIS Explorer is given in
the IRIS Explorer User's Guide,
while the IRIS Explorer Module Writer's
Guide is a guide for users who wish to build their own modules for use
within IRIS Explorer. Information about the collaborative capability of IRIS
Explorer may be found in the IRIS Explorer
Collaborative User Guide. Finally, the IRIS
Explorer Reference Pages contains the man pages for all of the modules
and API calls within the IRIS Explorer library.
On-line information is available using the WWW at http://www.nag.co.uk/Welcome_IEC.html
which also contains links to the ftp sites and other sources of information
about IRIS Explorer and its use. Alternatively, see http://www.nag.com/ in North America or
IRIS Explorer is discussed on the UseNet newsgroup comp.graphics.apps.iris-explorer
To obtain more information about IRIS Explorer please contact one of
the IRIS Explorer Centers:
IRIS Explorer Center
Jordan Hill Road
Oxford OX2 8DR
Tel: +44 (0)1865 516377
Fax: +44 (0)1865 516388
IRIS Explorer Center (North America)
1400 Opus Place, Suite 200
Downers Grove IL 60515-5702
Tel: +1 630 971 2367
Fax: +1 630 971 2346
IRIS Explorer Center Japan (IECJ)
Yaesu Nagaoka Building No. 6
1-9-8 Minato, Chuo-ku
Tel: +81 (0)3 5542 6311
Fax: +81 (0)3 5542 6312
Release 1 and 2 produced by the IRIS Explorer Development Group, Silicon
Graphics, Inc. 1991-1994. Subsequent releases produced by The Numerical
Algorithms Group Ltd. 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001.