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7.17  Variable names and programming rules (syntax)

The following rules are used in programming SDT and OpenFEM as it makes reading the source code easier.

All SDT functions are segmented and tagged so that the function structure is clearly identified. Its tree structure can be displayed and browsable through the sdtweb _taglist interface. You should produce code compatible with this browser including tags (string beginning by # in a comment), in particular at each command of your function.

In addition, input parsing section 7.17.3 and some utilities for directory handling section 7.17.4, post-treatment display section 7.17.4 and figure formatting/capturing section 7.17.4 have been standardized.

7.17.1  Variable naming conventions

Standardized variable names are

cargindex of current argument. For functions with variable number of inputs, one seeks the next argument with NewArg=varargin{carg};carg=carg+1;
CAM, Camstring command to be interpreted. Cam is the lower case version of CAM.
j1,j2,j3 ...loop indices.
jGroup,jElt,jWindices for element groups, elements, integration points. For code samples use help('getegroup')
i,junit imaginary √−1. i,j should never be used as indices to avoid any problem overloading their default value.
i1,i2,i3 ...integer values intermediate variables
r1,r2,r3 ...real valued variables or structures
ind,in2,in3 ...vectors of indices, cind is used to store the complement of ind when applicable.
out,out1,out2 ...output variables.

The following names are also used throughout the toolbox functions

model, mo1, mo2 ...SDT model structures.
node,FEnode, n1, n2 ...nodes, FEnode is reserved as a global variable.
elt, FEelt, el1, el2 ...elements, FEelt is reserved as a global variable.
EGroup, nGroupstarting index of each group and number of groups in an element structure, see help('getegroup').
cEGIindex of elements for a given group in an element structure, see help('getegroup').
NNodereindexing vector, verifies NodeInd=NNode(NodeId). Can be built using NNode=sparse(node(:,1),1,1:size(node,1)).
ndreindexing object for DOF, verifies DofPos=feval(nd.getPosFcn,nd,DOF). Is built using nd=feval(fe_mknl('@getPosFromNd'),[],DOF);
RunOptrun options, a structure used to store options that are used in a command. RO can also be used.
adofcurrent active DOF vector.
cfpointer to a feplot figure.
gf, uf, ga, ua, go, uorespectively handle and userdata to a figure, handle and userdata to an axis, handle and userdata to a graphics subobject.
gc, evtrespectively active object and associated event in Java triggered callbacks.

7.17.2  Coding style

The coding styles convention are detailed in the example below.

function [out,out1,out2,out3]=my_func(varargin); 

% Here you should place your help
% SDT functions always use varargin for input and [out,out1, ...] for
% output. 

% ask MATLAB to avoid some warnings the in the editor MLint

% Get the command in varargin{1} and strip front/end blanks with comstr
% CAM is as input, Cam is lower case.

%% #Top : main level command Top  ------------------------------
%  the %% is to use Matlab cell, while #Top is a sdtweb _taglist tag
%  by default tags are set to level 1
% Now test that Cam starts by 'top' and then strip 3 characters and trim (+1)
if comstr(Cam,'top');[CAM,Cam]=comstr(CAM,4);

 if comstr(Cam,'manual')
 %% #TopLevel2 : subcommand level 2 - - - - - - - - - -2
 % - - - tells sdtweb this is a level 2 tag 
 % if sufficies to end the line with -2 in practice
 % any other level can be used by adding a higher number at the end of the tag line

  % recover other inputs
  r1=varargin{carg}; carg=carg+1; % get input and increment counter
  % get optionnal input arguments
  if carg<=nargin; r2=carargin{carg}; carg=carg+1; else; r2=[]; end
  % ...

 %% #TopEnd -2
 else; error('Top%s unknown',CAM);
%% #End : typical commands placed at end of function
elseif comstr(Cam,'@');out=eval(CAM);
elseif comstr(Cam,'cvs')
 out='$Revision: 1.7 $  $Date: 2016/03/15 10:53:45 $';
else; error('my_func %s unknown',CAM);

%% #SubFunc : indicates start of subfunctions to taglist parsing
%% #my_sub_fun - - ------------------------------------------
function out=my_sub_fun(varargin)

7.17.3  Input parsing conventions

Passing command options is a critical feature to enable little behavior alteration as function of the user needs although most of the functionality is the same. This allows in particular limiting code duplication.

From the input CAM variable, command option parsing utilities have been defined and standardized. The goal is to build a run option structure from the input command string while keeping the possibility to provide it as an extra argument.

The command parsing code is then

% Usual run options handling
% first possible to recover in extra input
if carg>nargin||~isstruct(varargin{carg});RO=struct;
% then parse CAM for command options,
%  and assign default values to unspecified options
%  values declared prior to the paramedit call are not overriden
[RO,st,CAM]=cingui('paramedit -DoClean',[ ...
 'param(val#%g#"Description")' ...
 'token(#3#"token modes does...")' ...
 '-parS("string"#%s#"parS modes available...")' ...
 ],{RO,CAM}); Cam=lower(CAM);

The paramEdit call from cingui performs standard operations for each token in the second input string of the command. Each token follows the format token(val#typ#"info"), and will generate a case sensitive field token in the structure RO. val is a default value that is applied if the field token is missing before the call. info is a string providing information on the token effect. typ tells the type of input that should be parsed after the token, with the following rules:

The output CAM has been stripped from any parsed data.

The format -token(val#typ#"info") will require the presence of -token in the command to generate the token field in RO.

By convention, to handle interferences between the extra input argument RO and default values overriding, any field present in RO prior to calling paramEdit will be left unchanged by the command.

7.17.4  Commands associated to project application functions

The development of project application functions follow some must have such as project directory handling section 7.17.4, post-treatment handling section 7.17.4, image capture generation section 7.17.4. Some of these steps have been standardized over the years, which are documented in the present sections.


The files relative to a specific application are usually stored in a specific file arborescence. It is thus useful to access standardly defined save directories in a robust manner, regardless of the operating system or the user. Standard applications developed by SDTools usually involve a user defined root directory from which the following subdirectories are defined

Each of these directories may contain any further arborescence to class data as desired.

To allow efficient recovery of a specific subdirectory or file in the final project file architecture, sdtweb provides commands in its utilities (see sdtweb Utils) that should be used by the main project function to search the project architecture subdirectories.

The wd command should package a search in its known subdirectories.

%% #wd -------------------------------------------------
elseif comstr(Cam,'wd')

if nargin==1 % output the possible root directories
 % assume this function is stored in root/m
 % possibly add specific root dirs outside the project
 % should be better handled with a preference
 wd2={'/p/my_files'}; % add as many as needed
 out=[out wd2];

else % get the subdirectory searched
 wd1=varargin{carg}; carg=carg+1;
 % get the project root directory (several ones admitted)
 % find the subdirectory

The fname command should package a file search in the known subdirectories

%% #fname -----------------------------------------------
elseif comstr(Cam,'fname')
fname=varargin{carg}; carg=carg+1;
% get the available root directories
% search for the file


The generation of displayed post-treatments should be handled by a command named View, that will centralize the feplot manipulations required to generate ad hoc displays. Variations of display are handled in the command, first and second input should be the feplot pointer and optionally a deformation data.

A sample call to be handled by the view command could then be.



The generation of image captures from figures (feplot  iiplot or standard MATLAB figures) should be handled by a command named im, that will centralize formatting and saving. This command should

For details on figure formatting, see comgui objSet, for details on figure naming strategy see comgui ImFtitle, for low level image capturing calls, see comgui ImWrite.

A suggested layout for the im command of a sample my_func function is then

%% #im : figure formatting ---------------------------------------------------
elseif comstr(Cam,'im')
% sdt_table_generation('Rep{SmallWide}');comstr(ans,-30)

 if nargin==2 % generate the calling string
   if isfield(varargin{2},'ch') % multiple generation with imwrite ch
    % Create an possibly change to directory
    RO.RelPath=1; % Save links with path relative to current position
   elseif ~ischar(varargin{2}); % Apply reshaping to figure
     gf=varargin{2};if ~ishandle(gf);figure(gf);plot([0 1]);end
     % if feplot, center the display
     if strcmpi(get(gf,'tag'),'feplot');iimouse('resetvie');end    
   elseif strcmpi(varargin{2},'.') % if '.' get automatic naming


 elseif comstr(Cam,'imw1') % Figure formatting options for w1
    out={'position',[NaN,NaN,450*[1.5 2]],'paperpositionmode','auto', ...   
        '@exclude',{'legend.*'},'@text',{'FontSize',14}, ...
        '@axes',{'FontSize',14,'box','on'}, ...
        '@ylabel',{'FontSize',14,'units','normalized'}, ...
        '@zlabel',{'FontSize',14,'units','normalized'}, ...
        '@title',{'FontSize',14}, ...
        '@line',{'linewidth',1}, ...

% elseif ... use as many commands as needed

 else; error('%s unknown',CAM);

This way, the following tasks can be easily performed

% Im calls for figure capturing
gf=figure(1); plot([1 0]);
% Capture an image from figure 1 with formatting w1 and named test.png
% Capture an image from figure 1 with formatting w1 with an automatic name
% Format figure 1 according to w1 options
% Get formatting options for w1

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