Intermediate Programming in IDL: Widgets and Objects


This course has finished. However, the source codes developed in the hands-on 3-day class are available online. (Note, this will be of limited use without in-class instruction and/or the RSI training manual.) If you are interested in this or other visualization-based courses (IDL, Python, Houdini, AVS, etc.), please contact the instructor below.


The ANU Supercomputer Facility Vizlab is offering a 3-day intermediate-level course in the scientific visualization and programming language, IDL. Many people use IDL to manipulate array/image data and create basic plots. The focus of this course is to create powerful interactive IDL programs using widgets and object-oriented programming techniques. Course participants will learn:
  • about IDL structures and pointers
  • using IDL widgets to create custom graphical-user-interface (GUI) applications [focus topic]
  • the object-graphics paradigm introduced in IDL 5.0 [focus topic]
  • object-oriented programming in IDL
  • to call external C or Fortran codes from within IDL (if participants are interested)

The intense hands-on course will be held on 18-20 November 2002. As enrolment numbers are limited, participants will be chosen from amongst available applicants based on suitability and to ensure that a cross-section of ANU's IDL users are represented. The closing date for applications is Thursday 31 October 2002.

Date, Location and Time

Prerequisite Knowledge

Applications are invited from all university staff and graduate students with a working knowledge of IDL. Participants should be comfortable writing simple IDL programs, e.g., to read/write data, manipulate arrays and create simple plots, and/or massage image data, etc. No prior knowledge in writing GUIs and object-oriented programming is assumed. Participants interested in learning to call external routines from IDL should have a basic understanding of C. Applicants not meeting these criteria should contact the instructor expressing interest in a beginner IDL course.


The non-refundable course cost of $120, payable upon application acceptance, is strictly to cover the cost of training manuals from Research Systems, Inc. It should be noted that the commercial value of a similar course from RSI is $1800.

To Apply

Interested participants should apply by email being sure to include the following information:
  • Full Name
  • Department and University
  • Contact Details (email, phone)
  • Position (staff, student, postdoc, etc.)
  • Short biography indicating your area of research and typical use of IDL
  • An existing piece of IDL code for evaluation. This code should be authored by you and be typical of your level of IDL proficiency. (Please do not apply for this intermediate course if you have little programming and/or IDL experience - consider waiting for a future beginner course.)

The closing date for applications is Thursday 31 October 2002. Successful applicants will be notified soon after with course payment to be made prior to 8 November 2002.


The course instructor is Darran Edmundson from the ANUSF Visualization Laboratory. Darran has a PhD in computational physics and has been using IDL since 1998. He has recently taught the intermediate IDL course professionally in Sydney for Research Systems Inc. As part of his scientific visualization duties at the Vizlab, Darran uses IDL, AVS, Houdini and the Python programming language.