I have been interested in creating a better command line interface to IDL for a long time. I have been using the wonderful IPython 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 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.

rIDL screencast