Foreword

David Stern

Founder, Research Systems, Incorporated

My goal in writing IDL has been to create a tool for scientists and engineers that could be used both for ad hoc data analysis and as a programming language for building technical applications. IDL is a specialized fourth-generation language providing a framework that includes functions and components for scientific computing and visualization. It is the ability to quickly and easily investigate data; to rapidly apply various fits, filters, and transformations; and to then immediately see the results that sets IDL users apart from those who run Fortran or C programs. Unlike C, Fortran, or even Java, IDL is an interactive tool that can be programmed or scripted.

I still enjoy using ...

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