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Re: Interesting IDLgrContour Bug

Harold Cline (harold@rsinc.com) writes:

> The bug itself is already being investigated, I wanted to follow-up on
> the customer service issue.
> Upon investigating the reply, I find that it was simply a
> miscommunication.  My apologies to David if he felt he was being brushed
> aside.  The tech support engineer intended to convey that it is beyond
> the scope of technical support to address a bug when it is presented
> within a large section of code or an application.  In order to
> effectively deal with the bug, we need to be presented with the smallest
> possible case or example which illustrates the bug.  Please refer to
> this tech tip for details:
> http://www.researchsystems.com/services/output.cfm?tip_id=2988.
> I apologize for this misundertanding and am in turn following up with
> technical support to make sure that we do not cause a similar
> misunderstanding in the future.

The misunderstanding was probably entirely my fault.
I discovered the problem in an IDL graphics objects
program, which--as anyone who has written one knows--
can be quite large. However, the suspect code was
quite small and isolated to just 8-10 lines in the
larger program. I wrote a small test program to 
illustrate the differences between the object program
and identical code in a direct graphics contour plot,
and I offered an explanation of what I thought was the
problem with the IDLgrContour object.

But what I probably failed to do was indicate as clearly
as I could have where the isolated code was in the 
larger program. I frankly don't blame the engineer
for telling me to spend some more time on it. I think
I would have done the same thing under the circumstances.

Subsequent discussions with RSI engineers about the
problem have, of course, proved once again that nothing
with computer software is as simple as it seems. But
I think we have all come to a better understanding of
what the problem is. I now understand *why* the problem
occurs and can see that RSI has reasonable arguments
for how the contour object works. I think I demonstrated
to their satisfaction that under particular circumstances
their approach doesn't produce the expected result. I'm
perfectly satisfied now that we both understand one another.



David Fanning, Ph.D.
Fanning Software Consulting
Phone: 970-221-0438 E-Mail: davidf@dfanning.com
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/
Toll-Free IDL Book Orders: 1-888-461-0155