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6.1 How External Modules Interface with Geomview

External modules appear in the Modules browser in Geomview's Main panel. To run a module, click the left mouse button on the module's entry in the browser. While the module is running, an additional line for that module will appear in red in the browser. This line begins with a number in brackets, which indicates the instace number of the module. (For some modules it makes sense to have more than one instance of the module running at the same time.) You can kill an external module by clicking on its red instance entry.

By default when Geomview starts, it displays all the modules that have been installed on your system.

For instructions on installing a module on your system so that it will appear in the Modules browser every time Geomview is run by anyone on your system, See Module Installation.

When Geomview invokes an external module, it creates pipes connected to the module's standard input and output. (Pipes are like files except they are used for communication between programs rather than for storing things on a disk.) Geomview interprets anything that the module writes to its standard output as a GCL command. Likewise, if the external module requests any data from Geomview, Geomview writes that data to the module's standard input. Thus all a module has to do in order to communicate with Geomview is write commands to standard output and (optionally) receive data on standard input. Note that this means that the module cannot use standard input and output for communicating with the user. If a module needs to communicate with the user it can do so either through a control panel of its own or else by responding to certain events that it finds out about from Geomview.