About flaunch -- FTOOLs Launcher

FTOOL Launcher version 1.0

flaunch is a new tool and as such is still under development.

Unfortunately, the hyper-help utility built into the itcl interface does not handle some HTML constructs properly, so this help is best viewed with Netscape at this time.

List of All available HELP Topics
Helpful Hints on general problems.

An FTOOL GUI environment which allows the user to edit FTOOL parameter files, and run ALL FTOOLS, whether interactive or non-interactive from within a graphical interface, developed at the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC) at NASA/ GSFC.

This tool is presently being proto-typed and is under design. Some of the windows may change as will the options present as time goes on. Generally buttons will probably have been absorbed into menu's so if a button is not present the user should look under the various menu's present. Also, the look will generally remain the same. This is an beta verion of this tool and more options will be added over time.

A new user should call "flaunch" and chose the "Options" menubutton and "select" the appropriate configuration parameters and "save" that information. This will create a ".flaunchrc" file in the users $HOME directory which contains this information.

This tool has two separate and distinct functions (as distributed):

  1. If called from the command line with a task specified, i.e., flaunch fdump the tool is spawned in such a way that it displays a parameter editing window, and when "Run" all output is directed to the original calling window, i.e., the GUI terminates completely. [This is a configurable option and can be set from the "Options" menu in the "flaunch" window.]

  2. If called alone, i.e., flaunch then the tool operates as a complete FTOOL environment allowing the user to run multiple FTOOLs and examine the output from each executed task in real-time in either their own "terminal window" or via an output log file that is created. This allows the user to run tools in the background while running others in the foreground and interactively inputting information if necessary, e.g., fplot. This option is the most powerful of the two, and will eventually allow the user to create interactive scripts and then submit them, or save them to be run at another time via this tool.

Certain FTOOLs have problems displaying their output in real-time to the little terminal emulator due to the speed of the output, or require interactive I/O and there is no way to determine these Ftools by simply examining their parameter file. However, the user can control if a task is to be run completely in the background in a non-interactive manner, or in an interactive manner. (In either case all output is properly echoed to the log file which Flaunch allows the user to examine.) The tools that are known to cause problems at this point are:

Fdump: does NOT pause (as one would expect) when the output file specified is STDOUT and the page set to yes. This is due to the fact that Flaunch calls all tools specifying all parameters on the command-line. Fdump requires that more NOT be specified on the command-line for paging to be active. the user can control which parameters are included in the command-line string.

Fplot: requires that the user call the tool in an interactive mode, to issue commands to pgplot, or to "quit" the session, alternatively the "iconified" window can be open.

It should be noted that in general the FTOOLS which are most problematic are not particular suited for interactive usage. The functions of these tools have been superceded by the "Fits Viewer - fv". This tool allows the user to interactivelyl chose files, view them, plot the data, and edit the data as well as the headers in an interactive manner. The user can either call "fv" via the "Select a Task" window where "fv" is entered as the task to execute, or by using either the "Browse Files" option in the "flaunch" window and using the "fv" button after selecting a file, or the "File selection" option of the "File" menubutton in the "Parameter Editing window"

Getting started:
There are two basic ways to start flaunch.

  1. The first causes "flaunch" to run as a complete interactive ftools environment, allowing the user to edit, run, and examine the screen output, and all created data files, from executed ftools:
    Call flaunch.
  2. The second (which is configurable in the "Options" menu) causes flaunch to act as a simple parameter file editor. Once the user us satisfied they can submit the tool, this causes the flaunch session to terminate, and the tool to be executed in the original calling window:
    Call flaunch saextrct.


Mouse Buttons:


Project Engineer:
Dr. Brian K. Elza (elza@gsfc.nasa.gov) (301) 286-3568
Please send your comments, questions or feedback to:
Brian K. Elza
Last modified: Mon Jul 28 14:51:55 EDT