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IDL Syntax summary

(from http://fermi.jhuapl.edu/s1r/idl/idl_syntx.html)

Index

Definitions
Assignment
If
For
While
Repeat
Case
Goto
Block
Common
Procedure
Function

Some definitions

Operators: Items like +,-,*,/ and so on.
Constants: Items like 3, [3,2,5], "A string", AND, OR, and so on.
Variables: A named item used to store a value.
Expression: A constant, variable, or set of constants and/or variables combined by operators.
Statement: A single IDL statement or a statement block (see below).
Routine: A procedure or a function.

Assignment

Purpose: place a value in a variable.
Syntax: Variable = expression
Examples:
x = 7
num = [12,32,52,12]
y = 3*x^2 + 7*x - 5
cat = dog

 

Notes: expression may be a constant, variable, or combination of terms and operators

If

Purpose: Conditionally execute a statement.
Syntax:
if expression then statement
if expression then statement1 else statement2
Examples:
if y lt 0 then t=2
if y lt 0 then t=2 else t=3
 if y lt 0 then begin
    t=2
    txt='Negative'
  endif
 if y lt 0 then begin
    t=2
    txt='Negative'
  endif else begin
    t=3 
    txt='Non-negative'
  endelse
  
if ((x gt -2) and (x lt 3)) and ((y gt 5) and (y lt 8)) then t=2

 

Notes: For complicated expressions parentheses may be used to make sure expression has the desired meaning.

For Loops

Purpose: Repeat a statement a specified number of times.
Syntax: for variable = init, limit, step do statement
Examples:
for i=0,9 do print,i
for t=1.0, 0.01, -.01 do plots,x*t,y*t
  for ix=0L, n, 10 do begin
    x(j) = xx(ix)
    j = j+1
    print,ix
  endfor 
Notes: The loop variable has the same data type as the initial value (init above). Make sure to use the correct data type for the initial value. A common error is: for t=0,1,.1 do ... which gives an infinite loop since .1 added to an integer variable does nothing. This is easily fixed: t=0.,1,.1 (note the 0. instead of 0). Another common error is not forcing a loop variable to be a long integer when the loop can go above 32767. The fix is: for i=0L,...

A for loop may be executed 0 times if the loop variable starts beyond the loop limit.

While Loops

Purpose: Repeat a statement while some condition is true.
Syntax: while expression do statement
Examples:
while x gt 0 do x=x-1
  while not eof(lun) do begin
    readf,lun,txt
    print,txt
  endwhile
Notes: A while statement may be executed 0 or more times depending on the value of the expression.

Repeat Loops

Purpose: Repeat a statement until some condition is true.
Syntax: repeat statement until expression
Examples:
repeat x=x-1 until x le 0
  repeat begin
    readf, lun, x
    x = x-c
  endrep until x le 0
  
Notes: A repeat statement is always executed at least once.

Case

Purpose: Selectively execute a statement based on the value of an expression.
Syntax:
    case expression of
expression:    statement
. . .
expression:    statement
else:          statement
           endcase 
Examples:
       case animal of
'cat':   print,'meow'
'dog':   print,'arf arf'
'bird':  print,'tweet tweet'
else:    print,'??'
       endcase
       case t>0<2 of
0:       begin
           txt = 'red'
           err = 0
         end
1:       begin
           txt = 'green'
           err = 0
         end
2:       begin
           txt = 'blue'
           err = 1
         end
       endcase
Notes: The expression following the word case is compared to a list of expressions. The statement corresponding to the first match is executed. If no match is found the statement following the else is executed. Else is optional but if no match is found and else is not included an error will result.

Goto

Purpose: Jump to a specified label in a routine.
Syntax: goto, label
Examples:
       . . .
loop:
       . . .
       goto, loop
       . . .
       goto, err
       . . .
err:   print,' Error ...'
       . . .  
Notes: May only be used in routines. Program flow jumps to the specified label. If label does not occur in the routine a compile error results.

Blocks

Purpose: Allows multiple statements to be executed anywhere a single statement is allowed.
Syntax:
  begin
    statement 1
    . . .
    statement n
  end
  
Examples:
if x lt 0 then begin print,x & a=2 & endif
for i=0, 10 do begin readf, lun, txt & print,txt & endfor

 

Notes: The plain end statement may be replaced by a more specific end statement for the following cases: if, else, for, while, and repeat. The corresponding end statements are: endif, endelse, endfor, endwhile, and endrep. While not enforced, these should always be used so the compiler can do better error checking. Only the case statement uses the plain begin/end pair to execute multiple statements for a match (the endcase is not really one of the end statements).

Common

Purpose: Share variables between routines or remember values between calls to a routine.
Syntax: common name, variable_1, variable_2, . . . variable_n,

name is the name of the common block. Variables are matched by position so need not have the same name in each routine.

Examples:
common xkodak_com, x, y, dx, dy, file, count
common random_plot_com, seed

 

Notes: A single routine may use a common to save the value of a variable between calls. Some examples of where this is useful: to remember default values, to remember a seed value for the randomu (or randomn) function since the system clock is used if no seed is given and for fast computers the same seed may be used for several calls.

Several routines may use a common to share status values. In such cases it is useful to store the common in a separate file and include it in each routine (@filename where @ is in column 1). This way only a single copy of the common need be maintained.

A good way to name commons is to use the main routine name followed by _com, like xkodak_com. This helps prevent the accidental use of the same name for diffrent commons.

Procedure definition

Purpose: Specify a procedure name and parameters.
Syntax: pro name, parameter_1, parameter_2, ... parameter_n

name is the name of the procedure.

Examples:
pro test, a, b, c
pro compute, x, y, z, flag=flg, help=hlp

 

Notes: A procedure must end with an end statement and may have one or more return statements inside. If program flow reaches the final end statement a return is implied.

Example calls to the above procedures:

test, 2, 3, out

compute, x, y, z, /flag

Function definition

Purpose: Specify a function name and parameters.
Syntax: function name, parameter_1, parameter_2, ... parameter_n

name is the name of the function.

Examples:
function test, a, b, c
function compute, x, y, z, flag=flg, help=hlp

 

Notes: A function must end with an end statement and must have one or more return statements inside. A return statement in a function must include the return value: return, value.

Example calls to the above procedures:

a = test(2, 3, 5)

t = compute(x, y, z, /flag)

 

 

IDL courses C. Morisset 2004 IA/UNAM V 2.2

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