|Automatic Check for Updates
IDL 8.6: By default, every 7 days IDL will automatically check for updates on startup. If a new version is available, IDL will report this in the output console. You can enable or disable this feature using the new IDL_UPDATE_CHECK preference or by using the Preferences dialog in the IDL Workbench.
|New Licensing Method
IDL 8.6: IDL licensing is now managed through a 3rd-party solution from Flexera Software. You obtain the license through a portal hosted by Flexera, then you can choose to activate the license on a license server or on an individual node-locked machine. Details about licensing IDL are documented in a standalone help topic in your IDL installation.
IDL 8.6: with the new IDL licensing, several keywords to the LMGR licensing function have changed. In particular, the DEMO, EMBEDDED, EXPIRE_DATE, FORCE_DEMO, INSTALL_NUM, LMHOSTID, SITE_NOTICE, STUDENT, and TRIAL keywords have been deprecated. These keywords are still accepted but are quietly ignored and return 0 as the result.
IDL 8.6: Recent macOS releases do not allow users to modify DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH. Because of this, the Python Bridge no longer requires you to set DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH (see IDL-69603 below). To avoid problems running IDL you should remove any DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH settings from your bashrc or cshrc shell scripts.
|Graphics Font Improvements
IDL 8.6: The graphics functions now use the DejaVuSans font by default. This produces better-looking text in plots and visualizations. If desired, you can use the FONT_NAME property to switch back to the default "Helvetica" font.
|Python-to-IDL Bridge Error Handling
IDL 8.6: In the Python-to-IDL bridge, when an IDL command encounters a syntax or runtime error, the bridge will now throw an IDLError exception and halt execution of your Python script. To take advantage of the new error handling, when you import the "idlpy" library into Python you should now import the entire module:
from idlpy import *
|Python Bridge Data Type Conversions
IDL 8.6: To improve consistency between IDL and Python, some of the data type conversions have changed. Python OrderedDict is now converted to an IDL Ordered Hash and vice versa, to preserve the key order. IDL structures (which used to be converted to Python dicts) are now converted to Python OrderedDict, to preserve the structure tag order.
|Solaris Sparc Feature Support
IDL 8.6: Support for Dataminer, DICOM Read/Write (IDLffDicomEx), and IDLgrMPEG has been dropped on Solaris Sparc.
|Solaris x86 Feature Support
IDL 8.6: Support for IDLgrMPEG has been dropped on Solaris x86.
|_REF_EXTRA as a keyword
IDL 8.5.2: In previous versions, if you used _REF_EXTRA as a keyword when calling a routine,
IDL would quietly put the keyword into the _EXTRA structure for the called routine.
This would lead to unexpected and incorrect behavior because the keywords would not actually
be passed through as "true" keywords. IDL will now throw a syntax error at compile time if it
encounters _REF_EXTRA as a keyword to a routine.
To fix your code, you should pass the _ref_extra value using _EXTRA when calling your subroutine.
function MyRoutine, _REF_EXTRA=extra
|!VERSION BUILD_DATE Change
IDL 8.5.2: For the !VERSION system variable, the BUILD_DATE field has been changed to
include the build identifier. The field now has the format "MMM DD YYYY (REVISION)",
where MMM is the month name, DD is the date (with an extra space for dates less than 10),
YYYY is the year, and REVISION is the build identifier.
For example: "Feb 29 2016 (306707)".
|IDL Workspace Name Change
IDL 8.5.1: The name of the IDL Workspace used by the Workbench has been changed from
IDLWorkspace85 to just IDLWorkspace. After installation, you should go into your
home directory and rename the IDLWorkspace85 folder to IDLWorkspace.
|Default Value Changed for Tile Cache Size Preference
IDL 8.5.1: The default value for the IDL_GR_TILECACHESIZE preference has been
changed from a default of 512 MB to 0. A value of 0 indicates an
"unlimited" tile cache size: memory usage will continue to grow as more
graphics tiles are cached. You can set this preference in the IDL
Workbench Preferences dialog.
|Live Tools have been removed
IDL 8.5: The obsolete Live Tools routines have been removed from the IDL installation.
These routines have been obsolete since IDL 6.2. If you have
code that uses the Live routines, you should migrate your
code to use the new function graphics routines.
|Code SAVE Files
Created with IDL 8.3 Cannot be Restored in Previous Versions
IDL 8.3: The IDL Save file revision level was increased from 11 to 12 because of the
new colon operator (see the "What's New in IDL 8.3" Help topic). Save
files that contain IDL code and that are created with IDL 8.3 and later
versions cannot be
restored in previous versions of IDL. If you want to distribute a code
SAVE file to other users who may only have IDL 8.0, IDL 8.1, or IDL
8.2, you should create your SAVE file using one of these earlier IDL
change does not affect older Code SAVE files or SAVE files that contain
|IDL Core Preference Migration
IDL 8.0: IDL does not
migrate IDL core preferences between releases. After upgrading IDL to a
new version, you should:
Reset any IDL
preferences you want to use with
the new IDL version by using the Preferences dialog or the PREF_SET
Documentation is Provided In Acrobat (PDF) Documents
IDL 8.0: The online help
contains all the routines and functions in the IDL language.
Documentation that does not
exist in the online help is provided in fully searchable PDF format as
part of the IDL installation, located in <install_dir>\help\pdf.