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AAOGlimpse 'Plug-out' programs


'Plug-outs' are small separate utility programs that can be used with AAOGlimpse. When AAOGlimpse starts up, it looks for a 'Glimpse' subdirectory in the user's home directory, and if that exists it looks in there for any executable files with a '.glimpse' extension. Each such file will appear in the 'Plug-outs' menu, and can be run by selecting it from this menu. Most useful plug-out programs will interact with AAOGlimpse through its socket interface.

Such a program could be run equally well from the command line directly, and most will be developed in this way at first. However, having them available as AAOGlimpse menu items makes it much easier to run them, and makes the whole thing seem rather more elegant, particularly for users who did not write the programs themselves.

The programs themselves can be written in any way you like. They can be Python programs, C/C++ programs, F90 programs, shell scripts, anything that can be run from the command line. The original one developed at AAO was one that fitted ellipses to out-of-focus camera images taken as part of the HERMES spectrograph testing. This was something of a lash-up, and as such it gives the flavour of what can be done. It consisted of a Python script which did the following:

This abiloty to run almost anything written in any language is arguably one of the main advantages of this scheme. Writing plug-in modules for display programs is often very fiddly, requires detailed knowledge of the program's internals, and must be done in a particular way and usually in a particular language.

There are some things to note when writing such plug-in programs: