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IDL 8.5 Release Notes

Supported Platforms

Platform Hardware Operating System Supported Versions
Windows Windows Intel/AMD 64-bit 7, 8, 10
Macintosh Intel 64-bit OS X 10.9, 10.10
UNIX Intel/AMD 64-bit Linux Kernel 2.6.32, glibc 2.12
SPARC 64-bit Solaris 10
Intel/AMD 64-bit

An X-Windows manager is required for Macintosh. The software products were tested using XQuartz 2.7.4.

New Routines and Features

For information on new routines and features, see "What's New" in the IDL Help.

Backward-Compatibility Issues


Default Value Changed for Tile Cache Size Preference
The default value for the IDL_GR_TILECACHESIZE preference has been changed from a default of 512 MB to 0. A value of 0 indicates an "unlimited" tile cache size: memory usage will continue to grow as more graphics tiles are cached. You can set this preference in the IDL Workbench Preferences dialog.
Live Tools have been removed
The obsolete Live Tools routines have been removed from the IDL installation. These routines have been obsolete since IDL 6.2. If you have code that uses the Live routines, you should migrate your code to use the new function graphics routines.
Code SAVE Files Created with IDL 8.3 Cannot be Restored in Previous Versions
In IDL 8.3 the IDL Save file revision level was increased from 11 to 12 because of the new colon operator (see the "What's New in IDL 8.3" Help topic). Save files that contain IDL code and that are created with IDL 8.3 and later versions cannot be restored in previous versions of IDL. If you want to distribute a code SAVE file to other users who may only have IDL 8.0, IDL 8.1, or IDL 8.2, you should create your SAVE file using one of these earlier IDL versions.

Note: This change does not affect older Code SAVE files or SAVE files that contain data.
IDL Workspace Migration
IDL does not automatically update the IDL workspace between releases. After upgrading to a new IDL version, you have the following options:
  1. Create a new workspace to use with the new IDL version. You will need to reset any IDL Workbench preferences you may have set in the old version.
  2. Continue using the old workspace without modification. New views may not be available.
  3. Use the Window > Show View > Other menu option to update the workspace to specify the views you want to display.
IDL Core Preference Migration
IDL does not automatically migrate IDL core preferences between releases. After upgrading IDL to a new version, you should reset any IDL core preferences you want to use with the new IDL version by using the Preferences dialog or the PREF_SET routine.
Additional Documentation is Provided In Acrobat (PDF) Documents
The online help contains all the routines and functions in the IDL language. Documentation that does not exist in the online help is provided in fully searchable PDF format as part of the IDL installation, located in <install_dir>\help\pdf.

Known Problems

All Platforms

IDLffVideoWrite Cannot Create Animated GIFs
Because of vendor issues in the ffmpeg library, IDLffVideoWrite cannot create animated GIF files. Use the WRITE_GIF routine instead.

Installation error on Windows platforms: "Key not valid for use in specified state"
Some customers have reported this error during the installation process. It is caused by a Microsoft update (KB2918614), which affects the Windows installer service. Workaround:uninstall this Microsoft update. For more information, see the Microsoft Community website.
IDL-42545 WIDGET_TREE Drop Event Can Cause IDL to Crash if an Error Exists in the DRAG_NOTIFY Callback Routine
If there is an error (such as an undefined variable) in the custom DRAG_NOTIFY callback routine, IDL may freeze or crash since the error halts execution in the child routine and IDL cannot return to the calling function.

: Handle potential problems in the callback routine by including CATCH statements in your code. See the documentation topic "Responding to Drag Notifications (Callbacks)" for more information.
IDL-55393 Breakpoints in Files Opened via Links, Shortcuts, or Alternate Paths
To improve performance, IDL always compiles the first version of a file it finds in its path. If you open a file in the editor and set a breakpoint, then compile from a version of the same file with a different path, IDLwill not assume that the two files are the same. As a result, IDL will not stop at the breakpoint set in the second file. Alternate paths to the same file can be constructed via UNIX links, Windows shortcuts, mapped drives, or UNC paths.

Workaround: Make sure that the full path to the file in which you set the breakpoint is the same as the full path to the compiled file. If you use the IDL Workbench, compiling using the Workbench menus or toolbars will ensure that the same path is used for compilation and debugging.
IDL-49236 Deleting a Project or a Directory Within a Project While the Project Is Open Causes Exceptions when the Workbench Exits
When a project file or a directory within a project is deleted from outside the Workbench (for example, from Windows Project Explorer) while the project is open, a warning message may be issued while the Workbench is still running. An exception may occur on exiting the Workbench.

Formatter Preferences for Keywords and Class Names are Ignored by the Source > Format Command
The keyword and class name formatting preferences set on the IDL Formatter preference page are not applied when the code is highlighted and the Source > Format command is selected.
IDL-58532 Default UTF-8 Encoding is Corrupting .pro Files with Non-English Characters
Non-English characters are converted to symbols when imported into the IDLWorkbench. Importing a .profile containing non-English characters in IDL permanently corrupts the file with bad characters. Workaround: Before opening a file or before saving an open file, change the file encoding to ISO-8859-1 for Spanish or German, or to Shift-JIS for Japanese.

To change the encoding for an individual file, open the file in an IDL editor, then select File> Properties. In the Resources dialog box, change the Text file encoding preference.

To change the default encoding preference for IDL, select Window > Preferences. In the Preferences dialog box, choose General > Workspace. Change the Text file encodingpreference.



IDL Crashes on Macintosh and UNIX When Performing Graphics Operations Where GL Drivers are Present
Possible workaround: Rename the gl_driver.so file (located in bin\bin.<platform>) to gl_driver.ba.
IDL-60473 Accessing Preferences while IDL is Busy May Hang Workbench
Trying to change Preferences while IDL is busy (for example, when a lengthy command is being executed) may cause the Workbench to hang.
IDL-61842 IDL on Windows 7 May Have Unpredictable Behavior When Using Graphics
The cause may be graphics cards that are unsupported in Windows 7. Please see a list of supported graphics cards on the Microsoft.com website. You may want to upgrade your graphic driver or switch the IDL Graphics preference to use software rendering.

Using the IDL_Java Bridge Causes the Workbench to Ignore the Current Directory in CLASSPATH

Workaround: Copy the .class file to any other directory explicitly listed in CLASSPATH.

Macintosh Platforms

IDL-60599 On Macintosh OS, Only One Workbench Instance Can Run at a Time
Even if the preference "Prompt for workspace on startup" is set and multiple workspaces are available, only one instance will run. Workaround: Run the Workbench from the initscript located in the idlde.darwin.x86_64.app/Contents/MacOSdirectory of your IDL installation.
IDL-64149 Widget Interface Loses Focus When Selection is Made in a Drop-down List
Workaround: In X11 Preferences, enable "Click-through Inactive Windows"

Graphics Rendering Causes Memory and Device Errors
XQuartz version 2.7.2 causes these error messages when creating IDLGraphics. When IDL is installed, the Macintosh operating system may direct you to install the most recent version of XQuartz. Workaround: Use the latest version of XQuartz.
IDL-68845 Launching the IDL Workbench on Macintosh May Prompt Installation of Java v1.6
If you launch the IDL Workbench on Macintosh without first having Java v1.6 installed, the Macintosh OS may prompt you to install it first.This will happen even though IDL includes Java v1.7. For moreinformation on this issue, please see:http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11919004/eclipse-4-2-mac-os-x-10-8-ml-and-java-6

Workaround: Install the Macintosh version of Java 1.6 when prompted. The Workbench will continue to use Java v1.7 as it was installed with IDL. Another workaround is to add a softlink as sudo from Frameworks 1.6 ->1.7, as described in the link above.

Windows Platforms

IDL-27165 Using DIALOG_PICKFILE with the MULTIPLE Keyword Limits the Maximum n Files or Maximum n Bytes for a File Array
When attempting to open multiple files using DIALOG_PICKFILE, the operating system has a maximum buffer of 32767 bytes.
IDL-47445 Export Bridge Instantiation Object Creation Failure with Embedded License
Attempting to create an export object with an embedded license fails when no printer is set up.

: Install and set up a printer before running IDL.
IDL-48454 WIDGET_TIMER Can Cause Applications To Freeze Until An Event Is Sent To The Application
WIDGET_TIMERevents fail after 10 events. This problem happens in the following cases:
  • Timer events are chained together by setting the next timer within the handling of the current timer and before the "work" section of the event handler is performed.
  • The next timer goes off during the current timer event processing (for example, during a lengthy calculation).
Workaround: Chain timer events by setting the next timer after any computations are completed. For smoother performance, set the next timer based on how long the computations execute, which accounts for variances in machine speed. For example, to fire the timer once every second, set the next timer to 1.0 - (time to perform computation)
IDL-49641 Updating Edited Variable Values is Slow While IDL is Busy or Blocking
If you edit a variable value using the IDL Workbench Variables view while IDL is busy (for example, when a lengthy command is being executed, or when a widget application is blocking), it may appear that the variable is not being updated. The new variable value is displayed when IDL is no longer busy. (Related to ID 49604.)
IDL-66357 Installing into a Directory Named with Multibyte  Characters May Cause the IDL Workbench to Not Launch
If you are installing IDL into a directory that contains multibyte characters, path names in the idlde.ini file may be truncated. 

Workaround for32-bit systems:
In the  <install_dir>\IDLxx\bin\bin.x86\idlde.inifile, edit the following lines:
Line 2 should read: <install_dir>\IDLxx\bin\bin.x86\jre\bin
Line 14 should read:Dosgi.sharedConfiguration.area=<install_dir>\IDLxx\bin\bin.x86\configuration
Workaround for64-bit systems:
In the  <install_dir>\IDLxx\bin\bin.x86_64\idlde.inifile, edit the following lines:
Line 2 should read: <install_dir>\IDLxx\bin\bin.x86_64\jre\bin
Line 14 should read:Dosgi.sharedConfiguration.area=<install_dir>\IDLxx\bin\bin.x86_64\configuration
IDL-66363 Executable for a C++ Project that Uses COM_idl_connect.tlb Needs to be in\bin directory to Run
If you create a C++ project that uses COM_idl_connect.tlb,the .exe must be installed in <install_dir>\bin\bin.x86or <install_dir>\bin\bin.x86_64 to run. Alternatively, you can add the install path to the PATH environment variable.

UNIX Platforms


DIALOG_PRINTERSETUP Causes IDL to Hang When Called from a Modal Widget
This is a known problem with no known workarounds except to use DIALOG_PRINTERSETUP with a non-modal widget.
IDL-41964 IDLDoes Not Run in Security Enhanced Linux
Some recent versions of Linux implement mandatory access control in the Linux kernel using the Linux Security Modules framework. IDL will not run in such an environment without a modification to the security context for the IDL binaries. Workaround: Either disable SELinux or modify the default security context for IDL. See Help Article 3092 for details.
IDL-43301 Upper Left Corner of Tree Widget is Never a Valid Drop Zone
When the ability to drag and drop tree widget nodes has been enabled, the UNIX tree widget does not recognize the upper left corner of the widget as a valid drop zone. This area typically extends over the icons of the first two nodes (but not the labels). This is a vendor issue. You can drop items onto the first two nodes by moving the cursor over the labels instead of the icons.
IDL-55427 IDLDataminer Requires latestlibstdc++
Third-party libraries used by the IDL Dataminer module require a library that may not be available by default on some newer Linux systems.Attempting to run the IDL Dataminer may cause IDL to issue an error similar to the following:

% DLM_LOAD: Error loading sharable executable.
Symbol:IDL_Load, File =/rsi/qa/unix/idl71/bin/bin.linux.x86_64/idl_dataminer.so
libstdc++.so.5:cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

You will need to install the appropriate libstdc++compatible library for your platform.
IDL-55537 IDLnetURLObjects with ENCODE Property Fails on Linux 32-Bit
Using IDLnetURLwith the ENCODE property set to a value other than 0 fails on 32-bitLinux systems.
IDL-57381 Missing 64-bit Library
IDL requires a 64-bit version of libXp. Red Hat-based Linux distributions such as RHEL and Fedora may not install this library by default. On Red Hat you can obtain this library using the following command:

yum install libXp.x86_64
IDL-58106 DIALOG_PRINTERSETUP Crashes on Linux 64-bit running in the Workbench
Calling DIALOG_PRINTERSETUP from the Workbench causes 64-bit IDL to crash.

To set up a printer, launch IDL in command line mode and run DIALOG_PRINTERSETUP. Once you have set up a printer, the information is cached in your home directory. Then printed IDL programs will go to the appropriate printer regardless of whether you are running the Workbench or command line IDL.
IDL-58460 IDL Graphics Cause Crash in Ubuntu Versions of UNIX
Recent versions of Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distributions may not ship with the libstdc++.so.6 library, which is required by Xerces. You will need to download this library and install it in the /bin/bin.linux.x86directory of your IDL installation. (On 64-bit installations, this directory is /bin/bin.linux.x86_64.)
IDL-59497 IDL Graphics Fail with Software Rendering on Linux
IDL graphics in the Workbench in software rendering mode may fail on Linux machines if the display is local and Xinerama is not enabled. Workaround: Configure Xinerama on the system or run from the IDL command line.

Java-IDLBridge with Drawable Windows May Not Render Properly with Software Rendering
You may run into problems when using the Java-IDL Bridge with drawable windows and software rendering. The window may not display anything. This affects the example code in the IDL documentation (IDLWindowExample.java and IDLgrWindowExample.java).

Workaround: If nothing appears in the drawable window, change to hardware rendering by setting your drawable object's RENDERER property to zero (i.e.,RENDERER=0).
IDL-69332 Selecting the Help Preference Can Crash the IDL Workbench on Some Linux Systems
Selecting Window > Preferences> Help on some Linux systems may cause the IDL workbench to crash. Workaround: Open the idlde.ini file and find the -vmargsline. Add the following new line after the -vmargs line:


Problems Fixed in this Version

IDL-69187 Attempting to use GRIB_GET_VALUES() with GRIB2 files crashes IDL for Linux
GRIB_GET_VALUES should now work properly on all supported platforms. 
IDL-69210 IDL crashes when calling IDLnetURL::GetFtpDirList on certain FTP servers
IDLnetURL::GetFtpDirList should now work properly on all FTP servers. 
IDL-69220 Java bridge not configured properly when running 32-bit IDL from a 64-bit installation
The software installer builds a Java bridge configuration file specific to 32-bit or 64-bit platforms. For a 64-bit installation, the Java bridge is configured for 64-bit Java. When running 32-bit IDL from a 64-bit installation, the Java configuration file does not work and IDL issues an error message that it cannot initialize the Java bridge. 
IDL-69244 DENDRO_PLOT: Axis ranges are slightly off
The axes ranges for DENDRO_PLOT have been fixed. 
IDL-69280 FFTCENTER keyword shifts X,Y, and Z even when DIMENSION keyword is used
Previously, for FFT, if you used both the CENTER and DIMENSION keyword, then IDLwould  shift the center of all dimensions, including those which were not undergoing the FFT. Now, when both CENTER and DIMENSION are used, FFT only shifts the center of the dimension given by DIMENSION. 
IDL-69316 Windows: After calling Dialog_Pickfile, IDL's I18N locale can be different
On certain Windows systems, when shell extensions such as Tortoise or iCloud are installed and set to a different locale, then calling DIALOG_PICKFILE would change IDL's locale. IDL now automatically sets the locale back to its default value before returning from DIALOG_PICKFILE. 

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