IDL 8.7.1 adds the IDL Package Manager (IPM), a package manager for IDL libraries. You can install libraries from the Internet with a single command in IDL, even installing dependencies for the library if needed.

You can install IDLdoc easily with the following command:

IDL> ipm, /install, ''
Package: idldoc, Version: 3.6.2 installed

My other main IDL libraries can be installed with:

IDL> ipm, /install, ''
Package: mgunit, Version: 1.6.0 installed
IDL> ipm, /install, ''
Package: mglib, Version: 1.2.0 installed

I think this is a pretty exciting feature and will be looking to expand my use of it. It provides a very simple mechanism for installing libraries, including their dependencies, and can also perform updates with a single IDL command.

My mglib library also has DLMs contained in the package, but these will only work for Mac and Linux. Creating this package was trickier than the others and showed some limitations of the current multi-platform DLM support in IDL. For example, the .dlm file and Linux/Mac shared object files with platform-specific names are in the package, but I couldn’t build the Windows DLL right now. So a DLM will appear to be available for all platforms, but it is not actually available for Windows.