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User Shell

The WXP shell is a text menu based interface into the set of WXP programs.  Since WXP is split up into more than 40 subprograms, it may be more difficult to remember which program performs which function.  The WXP shell provides tailorable menus to simplify access.

Shell Basics

To invoke the WXP user shell, type in "wxp" from the operating system prompt. Once this occurs, the WXP shell main menu will appear.

   WXP: The Weather Processor - version 5.0-X11
       Main Menu

    1: Parsing Programs
    2: Plotting Programs
    3: Contouring Programs
    4: Meteorological Calculations
    0: Return to previous menu
   -1: Exit WXP shell


From the main menu, four submenus may be selected.  For example, if you hit "2", the following menu will appear:

    Plot Data Menu

    1: Plot Surface Data
    2: Plot Surface Meteograms
    3: Plot Upper Air Data
    4: Plot Soundings
    5: Plot ETA Model Soundings
    6: Plot MDR Radar Data
    7: Plot NOWRad Data
    8: Plot Lightning Data
    9: Plot MOS Data
   10: Plot MOS Meteograms
   11: Plot Maps
    0: Return to previous menu
   -1: Exit WXP shell


The shell will continue to display selected submenus until the selection is a program to be run. In the menu listed above, all the selections are programs to be run.  When you select a program, the shell will run the selected program.  It will also display the program and any configured and user command line arguments.  If you select "1" the shell will print "Running: sfcwx" and then run the program:

   Running: sfcwx
         SURFACE DATA PLOTTING (Ver 5.0-X11)

   List of available files:
   /home/wxp/convert/96110800.cvt  /home/wxp/convert/96110801.cvt
   /home/wxp/convert/96111120.cvt  /home/wxp/convert/96111121.cvt
   /home/wxp/convert/96111122.cvt  /home/wxp/convert/96111123.cvt

   Enter the surface filename:

The WXP shell remains active and when the program finishes, control is returned to the WXP shell and the same shell menu is displayed. If you happen to exit with a break (control-C), the shell menu will display.

In order to distinguish between the regular programs and the WXP shell, the prompt prints WXP and the name of the current menu:


By convention, the menu item "0" goes back one menu level and "-1" exits the shell.

At any time, you can run any existing command on the system. In other words, the WXP shell behaves like a simplified shell like C-shell.  For example, you can run "ls -las" or invoke editors such as "vi" directly from the WXP shell.  The shell first checks to see if the command you entered starts with a number (hence a menu selection) or is one of the internal shell commands like "set".  If it isn't one of these, it attempts to run the command as listed.

Any menu selection will start with a number such as "1".  The shell allows you to add command line parameters to the menu selection.  In other words, the shell converts the "1" to the string "sfcwx" and anything else specified is passed along to "sfcwx".  For example:

   1 -cu=la -re=mw -va=all -de=d

The shell mode of operation is best for novice or occasional users of the WXP package, as little knowledge of individual program operations is required. For the more experienced user, each program can be run standalone with a multitude of command line and resources available for maximum tailorability.

Internal Shell Commands

The WXP shell has some internal commands that are used to set up the WXP environment. These commands are as follows:

  • help - displays a simple listing of the internal shell commands.
  • menu name - goes to specific menu (name is what shows up in prompt)
  • back - goes back one menu level
  • menu - displays the current menu (useful when menu listing is off)
  • menu off - turns off menu listing, only shell prompt displays
  • menu on - turns on the menu listing.
  • set - displays the current set of environment variables
  • set name=value - sets the environment variable name to value
  • case - lists all case studies
  • case name - enables the case study named name
  • uncase - disable case study feature and returns to using current data
  • exit - exits the shell

Case Studies

The WXP shell has a case study interface, which sets up resources (via environment variables) specific for each case study.  You can list the case studies by running the "case" command:

   *** Tornadoes ***
   in_torn         - Indiana Tornadoes on (2 Jun 1990)
   laf_torn        - Lafayette Tornado on (26 Apr 1994)
   ill_torn        - Lafayette Tornado on (9 May 1995)

There is a header line, which can be used to organize the case studies.  The name listed (such as "in_torn" is used with the case command to set the appropriate case.  Once the case has been selected, the WXP prompt will change showing the case:

   WXP-main> case 90_snow
   Running Case: Cyclone Occlusion over Midwest (3 Dec 1990)

       Main Menu


From this point forward, when you run WXP programs, they will point to data in the case study directory rather than the real-time data directory.

To go back to using real-time data, use the "uncase" command.  The prompt will go back to normal reflecting the change.

For further information about WXP, email technical-support@weather.unisys.com
Last updated by Dan Vietor on July 21, 1998