CIMA Configuration Files
CIMA configuration files
CIMA configuration files offer You a conveniant way of saving CIMA
set-ups to files. You can save receiver, IF/LO and backend set-ups,
source selections and observing mode parameters. Then instead of
making this selections interactively when You are observing, You can
just load and apply the configuration files.
CIMA configuration files have to have the suffix
but You don't have to remember that since CIMA will add this suffix
automatically to any configuration file You create. CIMA is also
generating a short index of what a configuration file contains which
will be shown when You select a configuration file for loading.
Note that this page only describes configuration
files used in CIMA version 2.3 or later! Earlier versions of
CIMA use three different types of configuration files:
'.wapp'. These configuration files are NOT
'.conf' and vice versa. You must thus
create new configuration files, if You are migrating from earlier
versions of CIMA.
What You can put in a CIMA configuration file
You are free to select which of the following set-up(s) You want to
include in Your configuration file:
Note that if You do a 'Load and apply' on a configuration file the
'Signal path', 'Source' and 'ALFA' set-ups will be applied
automatically. However, the 'Calibration' and the 'Obs mode' only set
up the parameters --- You will always have to press the 'Observe'
- 'Signal path' --- sets up the receiver,
IF/LO path and backend(s) --- this is bunched together in one package
to prevent incompatible combinations
- 'Source' --- selects a source catalog
and a source
- 'Catalog' --- selects a source catalog
--- 'Catalog' should be used instead of 'Source' when You want to
specify a source catalog but not select a specific source
- 'ALFA' --- sets up reference beam, ALFA
rotation and possible sky angle tracking
- 'Calibration' --- selects a source and
sets up the parameters for a calibration
- 'Obs mode' --- selects an observing mode
and sets up the parameters
Use of CIMA configuration files in command file scripts
Configuration files can be used with the 'LOAD' command
in a CIMA command file script. A configuration file used in a command
file script should only contain the 'Signal path' and possibly a
'Catalog' selection. Any other set-up will be ignored! If the
'Catalog' selection is used, then You don't need to use the
'CATALOG' command. NOTE starting with CIMA version 3.1 You can also include an optional
ALFA set-up in the configuration file used with the
'LOAD' command. The 'Signal path' must, however, always
be included in a file used by 'LOAD', so it is not valid
to just have an ALFA set-up in a configuration file intended for
command file use.
Manipulating CIMA configuration files
Since CIMA configuration files are plain ASCII-files, it may be
tempting to modify them manually. DON'T!!! CIMA configuration files are
computer-generated files that MUST NOT be touched. CIMA does
not perform any error checking when loading a configuration file and
any modification to a configuration file can thus lead to
unpredictable results including situations where CIMA will claim that
it has done exactly the things You asked for, but where it has
actually done something completely different! The proper way to modify
a configuration file is to launch CIMA (typically in off-line mode),
load the configuration file to be modified, make the changes, apply
them (with the 'Accept' or 'Apply' buttons) and then save a new
configuration file. Note that the 'apply' stage is important --- CIMA
saves the configuration that has been applied (except for
'Calibration' and 'Obs mode').
CIMA configuration files now come with a version control system. If
You try to load a configuration file with a different version number
(most typically because You have an old configuration file), CIMA will
warn You about it. In that case, You are forced to use the 'Load only'
option to load the configuration file, inspect the selected set-up
carefully, apply the set-up (with the 'Accept' or 'Apply' buttons) and
then save a new version of the configuration file. Note that the
'apply' stage is important --- CIMA saves the configuration that has
been applied (except for 'Calibration' and 'Obs mode'). To make it
easier to save an updated copy of the configuration file, there is a
button (introduced in CIMA version 3.1) in
the configuration file saving window called 'Set up like last loaded
file' which will copy the file name, file description and content
selection from the last loaded file into the save window.
Note that the configuration file version number is not the same thing
as the CIMA version number. The configuration file version number is
changed whenever there is a modification to the data stored in
configuration files, so Your configuration files may become old even
if You stay with the same version of CIMA.
Configuration file strategies
The use of configuration files saves time, since You don't have to
type in rest frequencies and source coordinates each time You are
observing. It can also prevent You from observing with the wrong
parameters because You are tired and type in the wrong value in the
middle of the night.
Whether You should use a single configuration file or use several
depends on the type of the project. If Your project is to observe one
source with a single set-up, then You can put everything in one big
configuration file. However, if you are going to observe different
sources or using different set-ups, it is better to have several more
specialized configuration files. For example, for a project to observe
a couple of source with different observing parameters, You could
select to have the receiver, IF/LO and backend set-up in one
configuration file, and then have one configuration file for each
source which selects that source and sets up the observing parameters
to be used for that source.
You can return to the main CIMA page by clicking here.
This page is administered by Prakash Atreya
( patreya (a) naic . edu ) and was last updated on 11 December 2008.