(updated February 2001)
Mesquite's modular nature has such extensive effects that users will have to become at least to some extent familar with the concepts of modules and how they interact. An understanding of the modular system will help the user understand giving commands to Mesquite via menus and scripting, and will help the user understand the results obtained.
The page on how Mesquite works introduces modules and how they cooperate. In brief, modules link together to perform calculations and display the results to the user. The linkage of modules is in the form of a tree, with the root module being the "trunk" Mesquite module itself. Which modules are currently active depends on the files the program has read and the calculations the user has requested.
An installed module is one available to be used: it is sitting as a file or a series of files on your disk or web server. Mesquite can find these modules and, if approprate, can get them started up. Among the installed modules might be some that you never use, because you don't happen to need their calculations.
When Mesquite starts up, or when the user requests new windows, calculations, and so on, some of these installed modules are started up to do the work. These running modules are the active modules.
This characterization is a bit misleading, however, since many active copies of a single module on disk can be running at once. That is, the installed module on disk can be thought of as a blueprint for a machine, and each time Mesquite needs to start up a module, the machine is built and started. If Mesquite needs another machine of the same sort, it can build a new one from the blueprint. Many machines (active modules) from a single blueprint (installed module) can be built and be running simultaneously.
(To the programmer, the installed modules are the available classes that are subclasses of the basic module class; an active module is an object instantiated from one of these classes.)
To be installed and found by the Mesquite system, a module must be within the mesquite directory of Mesquite Folder.
Thus, if you open up the Mesquite_Folder, you might see the following
Each of the items in bold above is a directory (folder) that contains modules. Within minimal, you might see:
Each of these directories is for one module. For a module to be found and used by Mesquite, it must be present in a directory whose name is the same as the class file for the module (e.g., the class file for the module "Basic Data Window Coordinator", BasicDataWindowCoord.class, must be in a directory named BasicDataWindowCoord).
After finding all the installed modules, Mesquite creates a web page listing all available modules.
While Mesquite is running you may want to learn what modules are currently active. In the Help menu the Active Modules menu item displays a window that displays the modules currently active:
Mesquite is using a File Coordinator, which in turn is using various modules to manage parts of data files. If you touch on the name of the module in this window, you will be taken to a web page summarizing information Mesquite has been able to gather about the module. If a "Manual" button appears, it means that there is a manual available; touching it will display it in your web browser.
You can see the modules involved in producing a window by touching the "Show tree of modules" button in the window's information bar.
Mesquite gathers information about each module and summarizes it in an information page for each module. These are linked from the page available via the Modules Installed menu item in the Help menu while Mesquite is running. As well, some individual modules have their own manuals in the form of web pages. These are also linked from the Modules Installed web page.