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Re: IDLgrLegend broken

Pavel wrote:
> I found out that if an instance of IDLgrLegend object is saved to a .sav
> file and then restored, the IDLgrLegend class definition is not restored
> correctly (unless IDLgrLegend is already instanced in the current IDL
> session). Moreover, attempts to use IDLgrLegend in the same IDL session
> fail if an instance of IDLgrLegend was first restored in that session.

It's a fundamental problem of IDL objects, deriving from the way methods are
resolved. It occurs because IDLgrLegend has a superclass (IDLgrModel). When
IDL first tries to call a method (e.g. SomeMethod) of a restored IDLgrLegend
object it doesn't know that this is available as a method of the IDLgrLegend
class (IDLgrLegend::SomeMethod) so it searches for and finds the
superclass's method (IDLgrModel::SomeMethod). Thereafter, until IDL is
restarted or reset, it flatly refuses to be told that there is an
IDLgrLegend::SomeMethod which is supposed to override the superclass's
method, no matter how many times you compile the new method.

The simplest workaround is to call IDLgrLegend__Define *before* restoring
your IDLgrLegend object (that is, of course, if you know you are about to
restore one). This causes IDL to compile the file idlgrlegend__define.pro
and, on the way, to compile all the methods for IDLgrLegend that are
included in this file.

This problem is related to another one that was discussed in a thread called
"Important object lesson" in June 1998:  IDL's refusal to recognise a new
method for an object that has already been instantiated without it.

Here is my understanding of how it works:

    If IDL encounters


    the three situations are:

     1. IDL finds a MyClass::MyMethod in memory and uses it. (In the normal
    course of events the method will have been included in the
    myclass__define.pro, before the myclass__define procedure, so it will
    have been compiled the first time an instance of the class was created.)

    2. Not finding MyClass::MyMethod, IDL searches up the inheritance tree
    in a way described somewhere in the IDL documentation, finds
    ASuperClass::MyMethod in memory and uses it for the remainder of the

    3. Failing 1 & 2, IDL searches the !path for myclass__mymethod.pro (and
    maybe then for similar files for all superclasses). This can take a long

Two relevant points are:

    1.  IDL searches--all the way up the inheritance tree--in memory before
    searching on the disk. (For performance reasons, obviously.)

    2. Once a method binding has been established--i.e. a rule like "if
    method MyMethod is called on a object of class MyClass, call the
    superclass's method, ASuperClass::MyMethod--then this is never
    revised. (I think this is also done for performance reasons.)

I hope that explains it. I find that I can understand it just long enough to
it down!

Mark Hadfield
m.hadfield@niwa.cri.nz  http://katipo.niwa.cri.nz/~hadfield/
National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research
PO Box 14-901, Wellington, New Zealand