By far, the best resource for MEL and Maya on the web is
http://www.highend3d.com/. From here you can download thousands
of MEL scripts of all levels of complexity, but be aware that the
quality of coding varies from script to script. Highend3D also
has a mailing list, specifically aimed at Maya developers, to
which you should subscribe. There is also a mailing list archive
with a search function at http://www.highend3d.com/maya/list_servers/.If
you have a question, chances are the question has been asked
before, so searching that mailing list before asking is a good
There is also a vibrant MEL forum at http://www.cgtalk.com/.
Matt Estella’s Maya wiki: http://www.tokeru.com/t/bin/view.
1.1.3 Using an Appropriate Editor
To write MEL, you should never actually use the Script Editor, as its
functionality is far too limited. For even simple scripting, you will
need a text editor for programmers. Here are some of the most pop-
ular editors used by MEL programmers:
Crimson Editor (http://www.crimsoneditor.com/) is a professional
source code editor for Windows. It offers many powerful fea-
tures for programming such as highlighting, undo/redo, user
tools, macros, spell checker, and more.
jEdit is another neat free editor (http://www.jedit.org/). jEdit is
much more than just a text editor, though. Through various
plug-ins and macros, jEdit can be integrated into Maya and func-
tion as a full-featured programming environment. jEdit will also
function on every operating system that Maya does, so it’s easy
to use wherever you are using Maya. Detailed docs can be found
at http://www.highend3d.com/maya/tutorials/using_tools_scripts/
In this book I will be using an integrated editor called MEL
Studio Pro, which is actually a plug-in for Maya and replaces
the Script Editor completely. You can find more information
Under the Hood
Chapter 1
about MEL Studio Pro at http://www.digimation.com/. The downside
of MEL Studio Pro is that it is for 32-bit Windows only.
A recent addition to the MEL editors list is MaxYa,which
offers a free learning edition at http://www.tarzworkshop.com/. Besides
the fact that it does MEL and Python, the immensely cool thing
about MaxYa is that it works independently from Maya, which
not a plug-in, yet it is perfectly integrated in Maya. It executes
and sends results back without any command port communica-
tion. Highly recommended!
Chapter 1
Figure 1-1: Crimson Editor
Under the Hood
Chapter 1
Figure 1-3: MEL Studio Pro
Figure 1-2: jEdit
All of these editors offer at least the following functionality:
Syntax highlighting. Comments, procedures, and commands are
highlighted in user-definable colors.
Automatic command completion.
A panel that shows an overview of the procedures, scripts, and
expressions. Double-clicking jumps to that part in the script.
Find and replace functions.
The Script Editor offers, well, almost none of these features other
than a crappy search and replace. They only added line numbers in
Maya 8 or so. Bottom line is: Don’t use the Script Editor for coding
unless you want to end up in the loony bin. I strongly advise you to
download and install one of the editors mentioned above before
reading further.
Chapter 1
Figure 1-4: MaxYa

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