McIDAS Programmer's Manual
Version 2015

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Using this manual

The McIDAS-X Programmer's Manual is designed to be an instructional guide for new McIDAS-X programmers and a reference for experienced McIDAS-X programmers. It assumes that you know the Fortran and C programming languages, and have a basic knowledge of McIDAS-X and your operating system.

This manual provides the information that you need to:

This section discusses the following topics:

How this manual is organized

The McIDAS-X Programmer's Manual is divided into seven chapters plus appendices, a glossary and an index. Use the table below as a general guide to help you find the information you need.

If you're interested in

Turn to

Knowing what's in this manual and who it's written for, how to get help, and other McIDAS-X documentation that you can reference

Chapter 1, Introduction

The basics about developing applications programs in McIDAS-X, including the types of data available in McIDAS-X and the formats and conventions to use when writing online helps

Chapter 2, Learning the Basics

Setting up the McIDAS-X environment, and compiling, testing and debugging your McIDAS-X code

Chapter 3, Getting Started in McIDAS-X

A description of the McIDAS-X library functions that you'll use to write your applications programs

Chapter 4, McIDAS-X Utilities

Learning how to use McIDAS-X library functions to access data files

Chapter 5, Accessing Data

The file formats for the data files developed for applications running under McIDAS-X

Chapter 6, Format of the Data Files

Writing and maintaining locally developed servers for ADDE

Chapter 7, Writing ADDE Servers

SSEC's guidelines for writing online helps, and information about satellites and data parameters

Appendices: A, B, C, D

Definitions of some terms used in this manual


The detailed descriptions for each API function that you need to build applications

Online man pages

Conventions used in this manual

Becoming familiar with the symbol, text and screen conventions in this manual will make the text easier for you to read and understand.

The conventions described below are:

Symbol conventions


1., 2., 3., ...

Numbered items indicate a task with two or more sequential steps.


This symbol indicates a list of items that are not sequential.


This symbol indicates a reference to other parts of this manual or to companion documentation for additional information.

Text conventions

You will type keyboard entries exactly as they appear, leaving a space between each term or number in the command line. Always press Enter after typing a keyboard entry.

Screen conventions

System prompts and responses, and code examples look like this:

c --- set up the ADDE transaction

100   continue
c --- read the data block
    status = mcalin(handle, data_buffer)
    if( ) then
       call edest('Data Read failed',0)

c --- got a line of data
      else if( status.eq.0 ) then

c --- read the line prefix
       status = mcapfx(handle, prefix_buffer)
       if( ) then
          call edest('Prefix Read failed',0)
          goto 100

c --- process the data
         goto 100


Code samples longer than one page are not boxed.

An ellipsis ( ... ) in a code sample means one of the following:

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