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LAS customisation and philosophy

In the process of customising LAS for our data and have a question on
philosophy. LAS is an excellent, sophisticated package that is clearly
in a state of development. The documentation for current release
describes customisations at various levels - from the XML files
to hacking javascript and perl. Is there a sense developing of the level
at which customisations should be applied?

I ask because one might like, for instance, to be able to specify contouring
parameters by variable and view.

LAS v5 allows you to specify contour levels
in the XML (ferret properties), but not 'do_contour'. So if I want to
do contour overlays for a yz slice, I need to use script_prefix and adapt
draw_2d.tmpl (even though I can specify the levels in XML).

Similarly, if I want to vary the plot based on the region
selected (this is something that is useful, for instance, with curvilinear
grids, which I have), that info is not passed to the ferret template
scripts (setup_region was moved to Ferret.pl "to allow embedded quotes"), and
I suspect I might need to hack Ferret.pl!

One further example - we have a very large set of data (150GB gzipped), which
LAS accesses via DODS in order to handle decompression. It would be nice
to be able to display a message to the user if a compressed DODS file
is selected, that decompression will take a minute. This will presumably
require some combination of perl and javascript hacking.

I'm not sure I have a well-posed question here, but am really just wondering
whether there is a set of canonical customisations developing that will
be supported at a high level, in order to avoid having to understand and
fiddle with LAS throughout its layers.

Thanks to the LAS team for a very impressive piece of e-engineering!

 - Andrew

Andrew Woolf  (awo@mail.nerc-essc.ac.uk)
Environmental Systems Science Centre (ESSC)
Reading University
3 Earley Gate
Reading RG6 6AL
Phone: +44 (0)118 931 8741   Fax: +44 (0)118 931 6413

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