McIDAS Programmer's Manual
Version 2006

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Using the online man pages

The online man pages provided with the McIDAS-X software contain detailed descriptions of all the API (Application Program Interface) functions that you will need to build McIDAS-X applications.

The McIDAS-X man pages differ from Unix man pages in two ways.

In this section, you'll find the following information about using the man pages.

Setting the Environment

You must modify the MANPATH environment variable in your .profile (ksh) or .cshrc (csh) files before you can view the man pages.

  1. Login to your account and open the .profile or .cshrc file.
  2. Add ~mcidas/man to the MANPATH environment variable.
  3. Logout and login again for the change to take effect.

Viewing man pages

To display the man page for an API function, enter the command below from the Unix prompt.

Type:  man APIfunction

For example, if you wanted to display the man page for the API function sdest, you would enter the command below.

Type:  man sdest

The man page is displayed as shown below.

   sdest    - Puts a string to standard I/O device or file.

   sdest (character*(*) charstring, integer n)

   charstring  - Character string to be output.
   n           - An integer that will be output after the string.

Input and Output:


Return Values:

   If 'n' is zero it is not printed.



If you don't know the name of the API function, or want to search for all the API functions related to a particular topic, you can use the xrefit command using the formats below.

The xrefit command searches the name and category fields for matchword. In the sample sdest man page, the Name field contains the description puts a string to a standard I/O device or file and the Categories field contains the word text.

Use the xrefit matchword option to list all the APIs that contain the specified matchword in the name or categories fields. For example, to list all the API functions that contain the word convert, you would enter the command xrefit convert. A subset of the output is shown below.

graphic        McTSTimeToXAxis   Converts a time object to a TV element
graphic        McTSValueToYAxis  Converts a value to a TV line number
converter      Mcargparse        Parses text into arg-fetching structure
day/time       Mccydtodmy        Converts ccyyddd to day/month/year
sys_config     Mcdev2uc          Converts keyword DEV= character value
user_interface Mcstrtodbl        Converts token to type double format
text           cfe               Converts a real character*12

The first column lists the category, the second column lists the API function, and the third column provides a one-line description of the API.

To further define your search, use the -c flag, which lists the APIs whose categories match the specified entry. For example, to list all the API functions with the category converter, you would enter the command xrefit -c converter. A subset of the output is shown below.

converter      mcargparse        Parse text into arg-fetching structure
converter      mchmstostr        Converts a time to a character string
converter      mcinsort          Performs an insertion sort on a list
converter      mcpcal            Parses a list of comment cards
converter      mcstrtodbl        Converts token to type double format
converter      mcucvtd           Converts an array of double precision

Directory location of the man page files

The McIDAS-X man files have names such as sdest.3, Mcgettime.4, and mcgetimageframenumber.3. The extension refers to the subdirectory containing the man files. The file is a cross-reference file containing a one-line description of all the API functions. The xrefit function searches this file, as described in the previous section.

The McIDAS-X man page files and tools are placed in the ~/mcidas/man directory, except for the search function xrefit which is stored in ~mcidas/bin. All man files have the .3 extension and reside in the man3 subdirectory, as shown in the table below.

Directory Contents





all other man page files


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