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Rayfront 1.0 User Manual

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Running the Program

Standalone Operation

Assuming that the package is installed and configured correctly, you can start the program by typing the command "rayfront" into a shell window (DOS console window). If your system supports file associations to automatically start a program when selecting a file of a specific type in a graphical file system browser (like the Explorer on NT, or the KDE file manager), then you can just click (or double click) on a *.rif file, and the program will start using this file as the current variation.

Starting within a Project
If you start Rayfront inside a project directory, then it will automatically find all its variations and display them in the variation selection combobox. The variation with the most recent modification date will be selected as the current variation.

Starting with a File Argument
You can give the file name of a *.rif file as argument to the call of Rayfront, like (bold is what you type):

[your shell prompt]$ rayfront variation_1.rif

(The executable for demo versions is named rfdemo.)
If the file exists, then the program will select it as the current variation, and display all *.rif files found in the same project directory in the variation selection combobox. This is equivalent to starting Rayfront on an existing file through the mechanisms of a graphical file system browser.

Starting Anywhere else
If you start Rayfront in a location where it doesn't find an existing *.rif file, then it will display a file open dialog box. You can use this to search for an existing *.rif file anywhere on your system.

Creating a New Project
If you want to use the current directory as a new project directory, then you can cancel the file open dialog, and select the "New..." button below the (still empty) "Select Variation:" combobox, found in the "Variation" section of the main program window. Please make sure that you only do this in a new and otherwise empty directory, or the created mix of project data and other existing directories and files may soon confuse you, and possibly the program as well.

If the directory for the new project doesn't exist yet, then you can select the "Project->New Project" menu entry. In the new dialog, you can enter the name of the new directory, or select and create it with the file open dialog invoked by the "Browse..." button. After completing the dialog with directory and initial variation name, the new project will be created and loaded.

Operation within Autocad/Intellicad

If everything is installed and configured the right way, then you can type (load "rayfront") [including the parens] into the Autocad/Intellicad command line. This will initialize two new commands, and prints the following:

RAYFRONT and MAKEFIELD defined

MAKEFIELD creates measuring fields in Autocad/Intellicad, which are just special blocks. The command will ask you to specify the front left, front right, and back left corner of the field. You can move, and copy this block around as you like, and change it's X and Y dimensions with the properties dialog if required.

RAYFRONT starts the main Rayfront dialog. Working with the program is mostly unchanged. If you didn't store your dwg file in the project directory then you'll have to tell Rayfront where your rif file is. This is only necessary for the first invocation, or if you want to switch to a different project directory. Otherwise, Rayfront will remember the project and variation last used, and immediately open those if you start it again from the same Autocad/Intellicad editing session.

there are three features in Rayfront that are only available when running within Autocad/Intellicad:

Import from Autocad/Intellicad...
This button in the Project Setup area is normally disabled. Clicking it will open a dialog to configure the geometry conversion process. After you make your selections and press Ok, you can select entities in the Autocad/Intellicad graphics window, which will be converted and stored in the project in the right places.

In the image setup area, the view selector gets a new button to Import... views from Autocad/Intellicad. A selection dialog will offer the names of all modelspace views and the *current* view, if also in modelspace.

A similar Import... button appears with the field selector of the numeric setup area. This function first asks you to pick a measuring field in Autocad/Intellicad (as previously created with MAKEFIELD). Next you can either select an existing (in the project) view to update, or you can enter a name to create a new entry.

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