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Paper: Redesign and Reimplementation of XSPEC
Volume: 238, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems X
Page: 415
Authors: Dorman, B.; Arnaud, K. A.
Abstract: We present a progress report on the redesign of XSPEC. Work has been underway since late 1998 to produce a new version of XSPEC with a code base written in ANSI C++ and with modern design techniques. The new version (XSPEC 12) is expected to be ready for release in 2002. The new version of the program will implement most of the features of the current release, XSPEC 11. The design allows for both the current Tcl command line interface as well as an optional GUI. The existing scheme whereby users can write theoretical model components in FORTRAN 77 will, however, continue to be fully supported. Scientifically, the major change will be to support simultaneous fitting to spectral data containing multiple sources, required for coded mask instruments (such as Integral/SPI that are able, in principle, to separate superposed X-ray sources). The focus of the project is, however, to update the program to take advantages of the progress in programming technology that has been made in the field of Computer Science over the last 15 years since XSPEC was originally released. The main software engineering benefits of the redesign project are an extensible implementation that allows for (a) loosely coupled modules [providing ease of maintenance], including CCfits, a new ANSI C++ interface to the cfitsio library developed as a by-product; (b) extension of the supported data formats by `add-in' user-loadable modules; (c) an independent user interface implementation; and (d) robustness guarantees such as exception safety.
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