Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming

IDL Search Path Changes

QUESTION: Whoa! I just opened a new project in the IDL Workbench and it appears to me the order in which IDL searchs my !PATH for *.pro files just changed. Is this possible?

ANSWER: Yes, it is possible. When you create a new project in the IDL Workbench there is a button in the New IDL Project wizard entitled Update IDL path preference when project is opened or closed. If this box is selected, then the project will manipulate your !PATH system variable for you. As far as I can tell, it will do so in a totally unpredicable way, depending upon which which projects you have opened, the order in which they were opened, and so forth. It seems dangerous to me, but it was added as a convenience to new users. Go figure. Microsoft Word users, in particular, seem to appreciate software doing their thinking for them.

If you wish, however, you can manage your IDL path yourself in the normal way of previous versions of IDL. Find the Window -> Preferences menu item. Open the IDL section of the wizard and find the Paths selection. There you can add directories and order them to suit your preference. Note that all directories on your path are analyzed when the Workbench starts up.

If you have forgotten to unset the Update Paths button when you set your project up, you can change it later by right clicking on your project and selecting the Properties selection in the pop-up menu. Go to IDL Project Properties selection. You will find the button to configure this property at the top of the dialog.

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