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Loading and Saving Programs

Science programs may reside in three locations: (a) in the Gemini Observing Database, (b) in a local database on your hard disk or (c) in an export file on your hard disk. Retrieval and storage of programs from these locations, and the important differences between them, are described below.

(a) Retrieval and Storage from the Gemini Observing Database

Phase I proposals that have been approved by the ITAC and Gemini Director will be translated into the Observing Tool "Science Program" format and stored in a database at the Observatory. Soon after notification of a successful proposal you will receive a password and database access instructions. As the first step you should check out an authentication key with the Key Manager. Once you have an active key, bring up the Open Program dialog by clicking the Open button on the startup screen or main toolbar of the scence program editor. You can also select the File...Open menu item.

The Open Program dialog gives a list of all programs in the local database and program in the remote database that you have access to with the active key. Programs in the local database have a black font. Available programs in the database are displayed with a grey font. The key and site are given in the window title bar.  You may iimit the programs being displayed with the checkboxes for site, program type (e.g. queue or classical) and with the semester selection menu.

Open Program dialog

Download a program by either double-clicking on the row for the program or highlighting a row with a single click and then clicking Open.

The Manage Keys button will open the Key Manager.

The Refresh button will refresh the program list from the observing database.

After completion of Phase II observation definition you should set the appropriate observation's status flags and upload your program back into the database using the Sync command.

(b) Saving, Loading, and Deleting Program in the Local Database

Science programs that are imported from XML files or retrieved from the Gemini databases are stored in a local database on your hard disk. Whenever a change is made to a science program (e.g. editing an observation details), the modified program is automatically saved to the local database.

You can open science programs from the local database, either into the current or a new science program editor, and delete programs in the database from the Open Program dialog described above.  Recall, local programs are displayed with a dark font.

The bar along the bottom of the Open Program dialog gives an indication of the amount of memory used by the local database.  Fifty megabytes is a recommended limit but more can be used. You may start to see some performance degradation if the local database is larger than this amount. 

To delete a local program bring up the Open Progam dialog, select a local program, and then click Delete. You will be prompted for confirmation. If the program exisits in the observing database, then you can always download it again. This is a good way of reverting any unwanted local changes and restoring the version from the database. If the program is only in the local database, then deleting is permenant unless you have a XML backup copy (see below).

The local database is stored on your hard disk. For OT 2013B and earlier under  Windows XP and 7 the .jsky folder is stored in C:\Document and Settings\[user name]. Under Solaris, Mac OS X, and Linux the path is [home directory]/.jsky/spdb. For the 2014A and latter OTs the local database is stored in [home directory]/.ocs15/[OT version]/data/edu.gemini.pot/spdb. These are binary files and cannot be edited. If you have unwanted multiple copies you can delete these files directly (or move them to a different directory). 

caution Note the binary spdb files cannot be transferred directly into a new version of the OT. If youwish to (re-)use previous science programs in a new OT release you should first export the database into XML format as described below.

(c) Importing and Exporting XML files

Science programs can be written to disk as XML files e.g. for communicating with Co-Is and safe-keeping. These eXtensible Markup Language files consisting of ASCII tags and values. The file structure is complex and therefore it is not advisable to edit the XML directly.

You can save and load XML files from the File...Import/Export XML menu items. Each imported XML file is stored as a separate science program in the local database. If a science program with the same program reference number already exists youwill be prompted to cancel the file load or continue. In the latter case a temporary program reference number with format <program id>-copy<n> is assigned.

If the imported program exists in one of the observing databases then you can sync with the database by clicking the Sync button. You will be prompted for the site to connect with and then the OT will attempt to sync the program with the program with the same program id in the database. You will probaby get a significant number of sync conflicts that you will have to resolve.  Therefore, if a program is in one of the databases then we recommend that you download a fresh copy of the program rather than sync with an old version imported from the XML backup.

You can import and export an entire directory of XML files with one action. This is useful if you wish to transfer files into a new version of the Observing Tool because the binary files in the local database cannot be transferred directly. For the 2014A OT we recommend that you do not import a large number of programs into the local database as it will significantly increase the launch time of the application. 

As the Observing Tool is under active development it cannot be assured that future versions will be backwards compatible with the current XML format.