IDL 8.5 is available for download from the Exelis VIS site, though the official release will be in September. Chris Torrence, IDL developer:

Just to clear up any speculation or confusion, there were some contractual reasons why we needed to release IDL 8.5 and ENVI 5.3 now. But the “official” release will actually be in September, and that’s when we’ll make an announcement and send out emails to everyone.

So just think of this as a perk for those of you who are reading our blogs and on the newsgroup. It’s like being in on the kickstarter before anyone else.

There are some exciting new features in IDL 8.5, including:

  1. function pointers and dynamic methods
  2. wget function
  3. function graphics updates
  4. IDL-Python bridge
  5. Project Jupyter notebok

I will have more details about each of these once I get IDL 8.5 licensed and explore a bit.