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Visual Editor for AML
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We welcome comments & questions, send email to cti@ctigis.com

Visual Editor for AMLTM (VA)
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will Visual Editor for AML (VA) work in Unix?
  2. I have a Windows computer, but ARC/INFOTM is installed on a Unix computer. How can I use VA?
  3. What makes VA different from other programming editors?
  4. Will VA check my AML for errors?
  5. Can VA help document and organize my AMLs?
  6. Why do some of my AMLs load more slowly in VA than other text editors?
  7. Does VA have line numbering?
  8. Do you have a similar product for Simple Macro Language (SMLTM )?
  9. How much does VA cost?
  10. What do I get when I buy VA?
  11. What types of payment do you accept?
  12. Who uses VA?

If you have specific questions or suggestions to make VA a better program please direct them to: info@ctigis.com

ARC/INFO , Arc Macro Language (AML), and Simple Macro Language (SML) are trademarks of Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.






Will Visual Editor for AML (VA) work in Unix?

No, VA is a Windows 32-bit application and therefore requires Windows 95 or Windows NT to run. However, VA can save AMLs in Unix format (see prefence dialog at right box) Image1.gif

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I have a Windows computer, but ARC/INFO TM is installed on a Unix computer. How can I use VA?

You can run VA on the Windows computer and save AMLs in Unix format for use in Unix ARC/INFO. In this scenario, VA will not be able to access ArcDoc, but all other features will be available (the figure below indicates VA is running on a computer without ARC/INFO).

You can copy the ArcDoc files to your Windows machine and then point VA to use that directory. The Windows version of ArcDoc can be found on the Win NT CD that ships with ARC/INFO. Simply copy the entire 'help' directory to a directory on the Windows computer, (ie 'D:\arc\help'). In the preferences diolog in VA enter 'D:\arc' as the ARC/INFO directory. This will cause VA to look for a directory 'D:\arc\help' for the ArcDoc files.
VA message box image
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What makes VA different from other programming editors?

VA is specifically designed for AML files and integrates with ARC/INFO in several ways.  VA recognizes and stores various AML elements such as ARC/INFO coverages, variables, routines, system commands, etc. into useable ‘lists’. These lists can indicate problems with the AML, can be used for documenting the AML, or can be used to navigate the AML.
VA Grab
The VA Help system is quite advanced to accommodate a variety of situations in which a user may need help. General Help brings up Arc Help Topics with an option to organize by functional or alphabetical list. Context sensitive help is available for highlighted commands, and VA will provide the user with a choice for help within a certain ARC/INFO module if the command is used in more than one module. If a highlighted command or word is not found, VA offers to open ArcDoc for the user. Image3.gif
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One of VA’s most powerful features is called Quick Start. The Quick Start feature saves the active AML and then automatically runs the AML in the selected Arc window. Quick Start is tremendously useful for debugging or quickly seeing the effects of "tweaks" in your AML (see figure above right). Image5.gif
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Will VA check my AML for errors?

Yes and No. VA will flag the following errors:
  • Non ARC/INFO, ambiguous, or truncated commands
  • Unbalanced percent signs %
  • Unbalanced brackets [ ]
  • Missing coverages or data files
  • Unbuilt coverages

    However, VA does not check:

  • Valid number of arguments
  • Correct usage of arguments or commands
Image6.gif
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Can VA help document and organize my AMLs?

Yes, VA has several features to help users document their AML code. VA features an AML library that users can build, update, and search for AMLs. VA will soon have a library for routines as well. Users can also copy and paste VA’s unique list information into other applications for documenting purposes. New AMLs started with VA are given a default header, with date, time, and user name automatically inserted. A time stamp feature is also available for inserting into your code to help document the development history of you AML (see figure below for example of library search).

VA library search

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Why do some of my AMLs load more slowly in VA than other text editors?

VA will load large AMLs more slowly than other text editors because VA scans the AML for coverages, variables, routines, system commands, labels, comments, etc. during the opening process. VA organizes the AML elements into unique ‘lists’ (e.g. a list of all variables used in the AML) that the user can then use during AML development. VA also applies coloring to AML code components during opening.

Due to a user request, we have added a preference to VA that allows users to turn off ‘coloring’ to speed up opening of large AMLs.

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Does VA have line numbering?

Yes, VA indicates the current line number in the lower status bar (or SpeedBar as we call it). Users can click on the "Line" button on the SpeedBar and type in a line number to jump to.  We are considering adding line numbers along side the code as well if enough users request it. What do you think?

VA speedbar image

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Do you have a similar product for Simple Macro Language (SMLTM )?

Yes, we also developed Visual Editor for SML (VS) which contains many of the same features as VA. VS is also available on our Website in an evaluation version.

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How much does VA cost?

VA’s price is variable depending upon the user environment. The following prices are currently in effect:
Single Licenses (all U.S. Dollars)
  • Commercial $300
  • Public / Not for Profit / Student $210
  • Academic Institution $150
Significant discounts are available for multiple licenses. Please contact CTI for details.

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What do I get when I buy VA?

In addition to the VA software, users get free updates and revision to the VA program for one year. Also, we are very responsive to user requests, so our users often get program features that they specifically request. For example, a user requested a feature to copy the information from VA’s ‘lists’ to help his documentation process. Now, right clicking on a VA list will copy it to the Windows clipboard.

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What types of payment do you accept?

We accept Checks, and Purchase Orders

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Who uses VA?

At the moment, regional and local government agencies, private corporations, and educational institutions use VA. VA is currently used in Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Vermont. Professionals in many other states and countries are also evaluating VA at the time of this posting.

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