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Re: Coyote Library

Jason P. Meyers (jpm7934@cis.rit.edu) writes:

> Here are my questions for Dave which I think will be of general
> interest:
> 1.  Is there a single zip file that contains all of the publicly
> released "Coyote Library" files?  Purpose:  Ability to place all coyote
> files in a single directory.

Well, here is the problem. Life goes on, but
books are kind of static creatures. (This is true
even the way I publish books, which is to make small
print runs and update frequently.)

What happens to me is that I get a good idea,
which is still a novel enough occurrence that
I act on it right away, and I make a change to 
a file. But I have already described how a program 
works in one of my books. So the question always
becomes, "Is this a change I can get away with
substituting for a 'book file' without anyone
suspecting? Or this a fundamental change to a 
program that is more along the lines of 
the way the program *should* have been written
if I was thinking straight when I wrote it."

Sometimes its the former, and--less frequently--
it is the latter. In any case, book files
tend to diverge from my library files over time.
Because I like to delude myself that *someone* must
be reading the darn things, I hate to overly muck
with book files. This is especially so with First
Edition programs, which go w-a-a-y back in time.

So, to answer your question, if it were me I would
get the "library" programs, coyoteprograms.zip. These
are always the most up-to-date versions of any programs
I talk about. For the most part, these programs will
work in a fashion that is similar to the programs with
the same names that are described in your book. (If the
program works radically differently, I have given it
a different name. For example, PS_FORM in the 1st Edition
and PSCONFIG in the 2nd Edition.) If you can handle
a little messiness in your life, you will probably not be
overly confused. And if you are, I'm always standing by. :-)

If you do as Jason does, and installs several versions
of the programs, make sure the "library" directory is
first on your path. I have a conglomerate sub-directory
myself, that I create by installing the book files first,
and then overwriting everything with the same name by
installing the library files. (Actually, I have directories
coming out the wazoo, which is one of the real problems
with this kind of publishing, but that is a story
you really don't want to hear.)

So far, the good news. Now a bit of the bad. :-)

I don't have enough hours in the day to update the
zip files every time I make a change to a program.
So, unless a program has a fatal error, the zip files
are updated frequently, but not constantly. If you are
using a program that doesn't seem to work correctly,
you should always check for the latest version by 
downloading the specific instance of the file from
my web page:


This version is always concurrent with what I am using

Now, as far as PWD goes, that darn thing much be
one of those virus programs. I don't have a clue how
that program got into the book files, except that
it is so darn useful that I probably copied it
about 100 times on my computer so I would never be
without it. :-)

And to complicate things even more, when I teach
courses I always carry around a file called coyotecoursefiles.zip.
This contains *everything*: book files, program files, neato-keno
files, whatever I have lying around that I think might be useful
in a class. This is sometimes available via anonymous FTP, but
not always. I usually post it about a week before I teach a 
class and remove it about two weeks afterwards. (It is really
too much effort to keep this current with everything else.)
This is the contents of the subdirectory I have on my own
personal IDL path. If it is there, you can get it like this:


> Finally, I would like to thank Dave yet once again for a great set of
> programs.  I find my self using them without even knowing it.  

Jason has become one of my biggest fans. **Blush.** He must
have gotten a good grade on his final project. :-)



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