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Data is passed between module input and output ports. In order for the module to understand how to handle the data (or even whether it can handle the data), the data must be in a defined form or type. Each port can deal with only one type. When a port is selected for connection, IRIS Explorer tells the user which ports in the map can handle that data type by highlighting those ports in blue. IRIS Explorer also prevents you connecting incompatible ports by disabling those items in the menu.
IRIS Explorer has a number of pre-defined data types which the modules included with the product use. It is also possible to add new data types. Because new types will not be compatible with the included modules, it is worth ensuring that the existing data types are unsuitable before adding data types to IRIS Explorer.
There are five standard IRIS Explorer data types.
A scalar value. This can be integer, floating-point or a string. Parameters are generally used to control behaviour of a module.
A generalised, multi-dimensional array having data and coordinates. Used to store point-based values. This is probably the most widely used data type in IRIS Explorer (see The Lattice Data Type for more information).
A hierarchy of lattices, with information on how they are connected. Used to store element-based (e.g. edge, face, volume) values.
An Open Inventor scene graph (collection of geometric primitives).
A set of information about part of a scene displayed by a module.
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