About the Data Manager
All data used by any iTool is first loaded into the iTools Data Manager, which keeps track of which data items are associated with an iTool visualization. The Data Manager provides a convenient and structured environment in which to import and view files and variables.
The process of loading data into the Data Manager is entirely automatic if you specify data when launching an iTool at the IDL command line or if you open a data file using the Open command from the iTool's File menu. In these cases, the iTool will import the data in the specified file or variable and create a visualization of the default type for the selected data and the iTool you are using.
If you want more control over the process of creating a visualization, you can load data into the Data Manager manually, either from a data file or from one or more variables that exist in your current IDL session. Once a data item is placed in the Data Manager, it is available to all iTools until it is removed. Methods used to place data into the Data Manager are described in this chapter.
The IDL iTools support several data types. Data import and export capabilities within each iTool allow you to access these various types of data. File readers allow you to import data stored in binary formats, ASCII files, and several image file types.
You can also create file readers for other data types besides those provided in IDL. For more information on creating file readers and creating your own iTools, see Creating a File Reader.
Data Manager Interface
The Data Manager's graphical user interface consists of these elements:
- Data Tree View - This window, on the left side of the dialog, shows all of the data items available within the Data Manager. Depending on how data items were added to the Data Manager, they may be collected into groups of related items; for example, individual image channels associated with a true-color image will show up underneath the Data Manager entry for the image itself. The data tree view will be empty unless you have read or imported data into the Data Manager.
- Data Properties- This window, on the right side of the dialog, shows you all properties and their values for the data item selected in the data tree view.
- Help - This button will invokes the IDL online help system.
- Import Variable - This button allows you to select a variable in the IDL Main scope to import into the Data Manager. For more information on importing a variable into your Data Manager, see Importing Data From the IDL Session.
- Import File - This button allows you to select a data file to import into the Data Manager.
- Dismiss - This button will dismiss the dialog.
Data Item Management
In addition to the ability to import new data into the Data Manager, you can rename, duplicate, or remove existing data items.
- Renaming data - To rename a data item, enter a new name in the Name field on the data property sheet.
- Deleting data - To delete an unused or outdated data item, select the item in the tree view, click the right mouse button to display the Data Manager context menu, and choose the Delete option.
- Duplicating data - To create a copy of an existing data item, select the item in the tree view, click the right mouse button to display the Data Manager context menu, and choose the Duplicate option.