I have been interested in creating a better command line interface to IDL for a long time. I have been using the wonderful [IPython](http://ipython.scipy.org/moin/) interface to Python since I began programming in Python a couple years ago and I always have wanted the equivalent interface for IDL.

My goals for the project are:

1. implement all the functionality of normal command line IDL
2. use GNU Readline to get a lot of command line editing power including tab-completions for filenames, routine names, variable names, keyword names, etc. and better history searching
3. make `.edit` work on the command line (it works for the IDL Workbench and the old IDLDE, but not command line IDL)
4. add useful “magic commands” i.e. meta-commands that are handled by an rIDL pre-processor

My current prototype at least addresses each of these ideas.

Check out the [screencast](http://michaelgalloy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/ridl-screencast.mov) showing my progress so far. I would like to get all the current IDL command line functionality into rIDL before making a formal release, but expect some type of pre-release soon.