IDL versions

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Most general-purpose routines in SPEDAS (through at least the SPEDAS 3.1 release) support versions of IDL 6.4 and later. Maintaining this level of backward compatibility is becoming increasingly challenging, as operating systems and relevant standards evolve, and library maintainers introduce new features developed for IDL 8 and above. It is likely that future SPEDAS releases will require IDL 8.4 or above.

Supported IDL Versions

  • HTTPS downloads: Many data providers (notably, CDAWeb, NOAA, and the MMS SDC) have discontinued the ability to download data via HTTP, due to security concerns. Some of them have configured their HTTPS servers in a way that requires IDL 8.4 or above to download data.
  • MMS plug-in: IDL 8.4 or later is required to download data using the MMS plug-in.
  • THEMIS plug-in: The THEMIS plug-in is backward compatible to IDL 6.4, with one exception: users wishing to download data from the SPDF mirror will need IDL 8.4 or above.
  • HAPI: hapi_load_data requires IDL 8.3 or later due to usage of ORDEREDHASH (
  • Mac users: Updates to the Mac operating system, Java, or the XQuartz X11 package have a tendency to cause problems with IDL that will often require an update to the next IDL version to fix.
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