2 Fundamentals of IDL Syntax

This chapter covers the basics of IDL programming. If you are acquainted with a high-level procedural language such as C or Fortran, some of the concepts presented will be familiar. However, IDL differs from these languages in significant ways, and it is a mistake to think of IDL as a simple variant of Fortran. You will find that it pays to learn to think in IDL terms rather than C or Fortran terms, particularly when it comes to the dynamic nature of variable types and the efficiency of array processing in IDL.

In this chapter, the two modes of IDL programming are explained: interactive mode and compiled mode. Then IDL variables are introduced, with emphasis placed on the ability of IDL to redefine the type, size, ...

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