S.L.Freeland,, Last Revision: 10-November-1999

What is SolarSoft?

The SolarSoft system is a set of integrated software libraries, data bases, and system utilities which provide a common programming and data analysis environment for Solar Physics. The SolarSoftWare (SSW) system is built from Yohkoh, SOHO, SDAC and Astronomy libraries and draws upon contributions from many members of those projects. It is primarily an IDL based system, although some instrument teams integrate executables written in other languages. The SSW environment provides a consistent look and feel at widely distributed co-investigator institutions to facilitate data exchange and to stimulate coordinated analysis. Commonalities and overlap in solar data and analysis goals are exploited to permit application of fundamental utilities to the data from many different solar instruments. The use of common libraries, utilities, techniques and interfaces minimizes the learning curve for investigators who are analyzing new solar data sets, correlating results from multiple experiments or performing research away from their home institution.
Some of the primary goals of the SSW are...

Provide a large reuse SW library
The software library represents an evolutionary system tracing back to SMM, through Yohkoh and SOHO, TRACE, and eventually will incorporate SXI, HESSI, and other solar observatories. Many common "solar physics" , file i/o, system, IDL structure manipulation, data display, etc. tasks have already been addressed by others (many others in some cases!)

WWW index which allows searching for SSW routines by category and/or string pattern is available.
Provide a system which is largely hardware-system and site independent
Installation and setup utilities simplify tranportation to systems. Fundamental shared software is written in hardware-independent and site-configuration independent form. The SSW setup utilities support local configuration files to get sites up and running
Promote the use of certain standards which facilitate coordinated data analysis
Through use of suggested standards, many powerful routines are immediately available for the analysis of new data sets.
The SSWsuggested Keywords and Tags descibes pointing and time standards.
Application for overlay, alignment, scaling, rotation, etc of any SSW instruments via Dominic Zarro's Mapping software
Promote an evolutionary environment
Feedback and contributions from the many SSW institutes and users are strongly encouraged. Utilties to simplify remote SSW upgrades and accept user contribution are designed to make the system evolutionary instead of stagnant and divergent.
Provide access to supporting ancillary data bases
Access to supporting data sets from ground-based and satellite-based solar observatories are provided in consistent formats to facilitate coordinated analysis
Provide a file-format independent analysis environment
To accomodate the largest number of solar data sets, file I/O is isolated and analysis applications are designed to operate on objects which are independent of file type.
Provide integrated access to other IDL packages
When IDL libraries are identified which provide a useful extension to SSW capabilities, we will attempt to integrate them into the SSW system. For example, the Chianti Package, K. Dere et al. is now fully integrated into the SSW distribution and analysis environment for UV/EUV emission line analysis.

A "typical" SSW installation is looks something like...

|	 |	  |			       |		       |                       |
SITE    GEN	  SOHO			       YOHKOH              (...missions...)    (...packages...)
	(SSW)	  |			       |                   
		  -------------------- 	       ------------------
		  |    |   |     |    |        |    |   |   |   |
		 (soho)                      (yohkoh)

The "GEN" branches contain general purpose (IDL, setup) which are applicable to branches below - thus the SSW-GEN contains globally useful routines (instrument/mission independent) and the MISSION-GEN contain routines which are mission dependent but may be used by all instruments within the mission (mission pointing, epehermeris, etc). The SITE directory is available for local SW and definition of SSW environmentals/logicals in terms of local pathnames.

The SSW installation procedure and system design allows local configurations which contain a subset of this tree - thus, an EIT/SXT/Chianti only installation is ok and would look like...

|       |       |               |                | 
		|               |                | 
		----		----             Chianti
		|   |		|   |

SSW setup startup utilities define the IDL environment based upon users SSW instrument selection. (not shown are links to Astronomy and other IDL libraries which are added by the SSW startup)