Getting Started with AVS/Express Visualization Edition


This document contains an overview of AVS/Express, a development tool that is used to create data visualization applications. This document provides a brief description of the AVS/Express interface, procedures for starting and exiting from AVS/Express, and tutorials that both introduce you to and teach you how to use some of the AVS/Express features.

A brief description of each chapter in this manual is provided below.

Chapter 1, Welcome to AVS/Express.

Chapter 2, Using AVS/Express Demos and Examples.

Chapter 3, Creating an Application Using the Wizards.

Chapter 4, Assembling a Data Visualization Application

Chapter 5, Modifying the Data Visualization Application

Chapter 6, Assembling a Data Visualization Application 2

Chapter 7, Creating a New Component

Chapter 8, Creating a Group Data Parameter

The tutorials in this document build upon one another. In other words each tutorial uses information from previous tutorials, and although it is not a requirement, you should complete the tutorials in the order in which they are presented. You should be able to complete each tutorial in approximately 30 minutes.

After reading this manual and completing tutorial, you should feel comfortable using AVS/Express to create simple applications. If you choose not to complete the tutorials, you may find the information useful as an extension of the Using AVS/Express manual.


AVS/Express is both a development environment and a data visualization tool that can be used by a wide range of users. You should be familiar with the concepts listed below in order to make the most effective and efficient use of the AVS/Express functionality.


The following conventions are used in this guide and in all documents produced by AVS.

Convention Example
Press OK.
Select File -> Save.
Plain Bold Text
This typeface indicates a button, menu, or a menu option.
... a widget is a small
Bold Text
This typeface indicates a new terms or a term that may have special meaning for a particular application.
Edit the .login file and add ...
Refer to the User's Guide for ...
You must change your settings...
Italic Text
This typeface is used to indicate a file name, a reference to another section or document, or it might be used for emphasis.
Computer Font
This typeface indicates the contents of a file, a message or prompt, or the actual text that you must type for a command.
cd <directory>
<brackets> or <brackets>
Brackets identify a place holder. In some cases you supply information, for example, a file name or a directory. In other cases, the place holder identifies a value that is automatically assigned by the system.
File -> Save Compiled Project
Indicates a menu selection. In this example, you click on the File menu and then select Save.
bar xvZf /dev

(line continuation marker)
Indicates that the text or command is shown on two lines even though it must be entered on a single line.
Click the left mouse button (or the indicated mouse button). If a mouse button is not specified, assume the left.
Click the middle mouse button.
Click the right mouse button.
Rapidly click the indicated mouse button twice. (If a mouse button is not specified, assume the left).
Hold the Shift key down and click the indicated mouse button. (If a mouse button is not specified, assume the left).
Position the pointer over an item, press and hold the mouse button down, move the mouse while the mouse button is still pressed, and then release the mouse button when the move is complete.

File Naming Conventions

File naming conventions differ between UNIX and Microsoft Windows (NT and 95) environments.

This document uses UNIX conventions except where specifically referring to Windows syntax.

AVS/Express Documentation and Online Help

AVS/Express is shipped with a Winhelp-based online documentation, a context-sensitive online help system. The contents of the documentation and the online help are explained below.


The following section lists the printed documents provided with AVS/Express.

Except for the Release Notes and Installing AVS/Express, the manual is updated with each major release of the product. However, for the intermediate, "point" releases, the most recent updates are available in the online documentation and on the Customer Support Web site.

The information in the Release Notes describes the new functionality and any known limitations with the product.
The Release Notes are updated with each release of the product.
The Installing AVS/Express section contains the hardware and software prerequisites, and detailed installation and licensing instructions.
The Installing AVS/Express section is updated with each release of the product; it is not available in an online format.
This section provides a product overview and a series of tutorials that guide you through the basic AVS/Express capabilities.
The Using AVS/Express section explains how to use AVS/Express. This section contains descriptions of AVS/Express' features, commonly used procedures, and information associated with developing runtime applications.
This section describes how to use AVS/Express to process data so it can be rendered and viewed. The section starts with a brief introduction to visualization techniques. Later chapters in the section provide greater detail as they explain how to import and manipulate data, how to apply visualization functions to render the data and to produce useful images.
This section describes how to use some of the specialized AVS/Express objects. The procedures and techniques that are introduced in this section explain how to use AVS/Express with databases, how to create a user interface for your application, and how to use the specialized graphing and annotating objects.
Online Help

The AVS/Express online help system is a context-sensitive, Winhelp-based help system that provides context-sensitive information for all of the AVS/Express objects. Online help is convenient and easy to use; you can point at an objects to access information specific to your selection, or you can use the index to quickly find information on a particular topic.

Customer Support

Do not hesitate to contact Advanced Visual Systems if you need any assistance while using AVS/Express.

To contact Customer Support, refer to the Customer Support Web site to find the phone number and email address for your country:

If you do not have Web access or are uncertain about which country's office to contact, you can send email to the central support office at or call 1-800-428-7001.