DIRA was developed starting from 1984 by the
Data Base Working Group
as a package for VAX/VMS system. In the middle of the 1988 the group decides
to rewrite all the software (about 50.000 FORTRAN rows of code) to have a
more efficient product that can run on Unix and on VMS system. This
extensive upgrade was called DIRA2.
The new product is compatible with the catalogues data of the previous
version, but can't use the PDB system files created with old version of
DIRA. The command PDB_TRANSL provide the convertion of
old PDB in a new one.
The most important differences between the old DIRA and the new DIRA2 software are:
- The new code is not VAX/VMS dependent.
- The commands have a new user
interface, based on screen masks, that
supplies default values, help, and shows available catalogues and catalogues
- A new query language, that agrees with SQL and FORTRAN style logical
expressions, is available. The query language support numerical and character
- DIRA2 can manage different coordinates type (equatorial, galactic,
supergalactic) written in different formats in the same catalogue. Consequently
the names of the coordinates are not yet combined to 'RA' and 'DEC'.
- More commands create new fields from existing data. This new fields
are distances between sky objects, distances on tangent planes, numerical
function of existing fields, pointers to records position of original
The organization of this manual is also changed. All the reference to the
FORTRAN subroutines callable from user program are moved from this manual to
another manual called "Programming in DIRA " available in
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