Program Editors

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Program Editors Overview

Some of the Fractal Science Kit fractal generator properties pages contain Fractal Programs. These pages, called Program Editors, allow you to view/edit a program's Instructions, modify a program's properties, or to choose a different program altogether. This page describes features common to all Program Editors.

There are 12 different types of Fractal Programs supported by the Fractal Science Kit fractal generator.

These programs form the basis for all fractal processing and fall into 4 major categories:

See also:

The following sections describe features common to all Program Editors.

Program Selection

Fractal Science Kit - Program Editor Program Selection

At the top of the page is a section used to select a program from the set of programs you have written or the set of built-in programs of the appropriate type. The section title, Fractal Equation in the above example, gives the type of the program. The Based On selector lets you choose the program you want to use.

When you select a program, any changes you have made on the page are lost, and the properties and instructions for the selected program are loaded onto the page. When you view the fractal's properties page, the Based On selector displays the program that was last used to initialize these properties. If that program has been deleted, the Based On selector will be empty but the program instructions and properties are still available since they are saved with the fractal file.

The In Sync status is either Yes or No. Yes indicates the program's properties and instructions match the program that this page is Based On. No indicates that changes have been made to either the program's properties or instructions (or both), or that the program that these instructions are Based On was changed after this fractal file was created. If In Sync is No, the Synchronize button is enabled. If you wish to discard the changes made to the program and reload the original program's properties/instructions, click Synchronize. If the original program no longer exists, the Synchronize button is disabled.

When you click Synchronize, any changes you have made are lost; i.e., the original program's properties/instructions are reloaded and the undo buffer is cleared. If any instructions in the properties section are changed, all of the properties are reset to their default values. Please be careful.


When you install an update to the application and the update includes changes to a built-in program, any saved fractals you have that use the program in question are not affected; i.e., the original program instructions are saved within the fractal file so that your fractal produces the same results as before the update. However, if you open the fractal and view the Program Editor for the changed program, the In Sync status is No since the program no longer matches the built-in program. Do not click the Synchronize button to update the program to the latest version. Doing so may change the program properties or program instructions in such a way as to change the fractal image. For example, If any instructions in the properties section were affected by the update, all of the properties are reset to their default values. Of course, as long as you do not save over your existing fractal properties file you can always reload it.

Program Properties

Fractal Science Kit - Program Editor Program Properties

In the middle of the page are 1 or more sections containing properties specific to the type of program you are viewing/editing. The example above displays the properties associated with a Fractal Equation. You can change these properties as required and the changes do not affect the original program that this program is Based On.

Program Instructions

Fractal Science Kit - Program Editor Program Instructions

At the bottom of the page is an editor pane that displays the program's Instructions. The instructions shown above are those for the Fractal Equation called Mandelbrot. Here you can make local changes to the program's code. See Editing Text for details. These changes do not affect the original program that this program is Based On.

Toolbar Buttons

Fractal Science Kit - Program Editor Toolbar Buttons

The toolbar buttons on the Properties Window are:

When the page displayed in the Properties Window is a Program Editor, the toolbar buttons Save Program, Toggle Code View, and Refresh Properties Pages are enabled. Otherwise, these buttons are disabled. The last 2 commands (Preview Fractal and Open Documentation) are enabled for all properties pages.

Save Program

Clicking the Save Program button displays the Save Program dialog which allows you to update/rename the program that this page is Based On or to save your program under a new name. The Save Program command does not save the fractal nor is it necessary to invoke Save Program to save your changes as part of a fractal; for that, use the Save Fractal Properties command on the Fractal Window. The Save Program command creates/modifies a program in My <Program Type>, and is used to make your changes available to other fractals.

Fractal Science Kit - Program Editor Save Program Dialog

When you click the Save Program button, the Save Program dialog is displayed with the name of the original program in the Name field, and 3 buttons at the bottom: Save, Save As, and Cancel. Save updates the original program with the properties/instructions given in the editor. If you change the Name field, Save updates the original program and renames it based on the name given in the Name field. If the original program is a built-in program or no longer exists, Save is disabled. Save As creates a new program in My <Program Type> with the given name/properties/instructions. Note that while it is possible to name a program using the same name as an existing program, this practice should be avoided. When you click Save to update an existing program, the original program is lost.

Toggle Code View

The Toggle Code View button hides the sections in the middle of the page containing the program's properties and expands the program's instructions to fill the space. This is called Code View. Clicking Toggle Code View again, restores the visibility of the sections in the middle of the page and shrinks the program's instructions to make room. Toggle Code View is useful when you are primarily concerned with viewing/editing the program's instructions. When Code View is active, the Toggle Code View toolbar button is depressed.

Refresh Properties Pages

The Refresh Properties Pages button is used to refresh the program's properties pages defined in the properties section of the instructions. Typically, you would execute the Refresh Properties Pages command to reset the properties on all of the program's properties pages to their default values as defined in the properties section of the instructions. Another, less frequent use of this command, is to update the page hierarchy after adding or removing properties pages.

When you change the properties section of the instructions, you can test your changes by simply clicking on the associated pages in the page hierarchy on the left, and interacting with the modified controls. However, when you add or remove a page altogether (i.e., by adding/removing 1 or more Page Statements), you will need to click the Refresh Properties Pages button to compile/update the set of pages defined in the properties section of the instructions so the pages are added to, or removed from, the page hierarchy.

Preview Fractal

Preview Fractal generates a preview (in the Preview Window) of the fractal that would result if you were to execute the Display Fractal command on the associated Fractal Window. This is useful when you have made 1 or more changes to the properties and want a quick look at the effects of those changes without incurring the cost of redisplaying the fractal in the full window. If the Zoom In or Zoom Out state is active, the zoom is applied to the preview. The Preview Fractal command is also available on the Tools menu of the associated Fractal Window but is provided here as well, for quick access.

Open Documentation

The Open Documentation command opens the documentation in your browser to the page that describes the currently selected properties page. See Installing the Documentation for details on downloading a disk-based version of the online documentation to your machine.


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