IDL 8.8.1 Release Notes

See the following sections:

For system requirements, see Platform Support for ENVI 5.6.1 and IDL 8.8.1.

New Features

.PRO Files Ported to Native C/C++ Code

For improved performance, the following classes were ported from PRO code in the lib/datatypes folder to C/C++ code in idl.dll:

  • HASH
  • LIST

Additionally, the new procedure SAVEFILE_CLEANUP was added. This procedure inspects the given routine save files and removes any routines that could cause problems in modern IDL. See the SAVEFILE_CLEANUP topic in IDL Help for details and usage.

Macintosh M1 Support

Support for Macintosh M1 platforms has been added.

MKL_FFT Routine

The MKL_FFT routine (Math Kernel Library Fast Fourier Transform) was added to upgrade FFT performance. MKL_FFT returns a result equal to the complex, discrete Fourier transform of Array



QUERY_PNG has been updated to return more metadata from a PNG file, including custom fields.


H5_PARSE has been updated to read in UTM8 encoded string data.


JSON_PARSE has been updated to improve parsing speed. In comparison tests between IDL 8.7.3 and 8.8.1, speed was 3 - 9 times faster, depending on the size of the JSON files being parsed.

Updated Windows File Selector

The Windows file selector user interface for the DIALOG_PICKFILE() function has been updated. For details, see DIALOG_PICKFILE.

OpenGL Hardware Rendering Support

OpenGL hardware rendering is not fully supported on Linux VMs with the VMWare SVGA device driver. For full OpenGL hardware support on a VM, switch to using an nVidia driver.

To identify which driver is being used, run this compound command:

w = IDLgrWindow(Renderer=0) & w.GetDeviceInfo, All=all & print, all, /Implied

If the driver is VMWare SVGA, you will see properties such as this:

"NAME" : "SVGA3D; build: RELEASE;  LLVM;"
"VENDOR" : "VMWare, Inc."
"VERSION" : "3.0 Mesa 17.2.3"

Backward-Compatibility Issues

As of IDL 8.8, IDL uses Java 11. If you had Java 8 code in your previous version of IDL, you may need to recompile using Java 11.

Fixed Issues

H5D_READ performance was slow.
IDL-69094 Allow user to get custom header information in IDL using QUERY_PNG.
IDL-69757 H5_PARSE failed to read in UTF8 encoded string data.
IDL-69901 Update the Windows-level file selection dialogs called by DIALOG_PICKFILE.
IDL-70726 The limitations of IDL Virtual Machine mode when working with IDL_IDLbridge were missing from Help documentation.
IDL-70727 Syntax coloring was not fully working when the workspace was switched in IDL 8.8.
IDL-70753 IDL 8.8 Workspace became corrupted if "Customize" was selected in Eclipse.
IDL-70764 Text edits in the text editors for IDL on Mac Big Sur were delayed.
IDL-70777 Text rendering issues were occuring in the MacOS Editor.

Library Updates

The 3rd party libraries listed below have been updated to new these versions:

  • AdoptOpenJDK JDK and JRE, 11.0.11
  • Chromium Embedded Framework, 91.1.22
  • cURL, 7.77.0
  • Eclipse CVS Client, 1.4.1700.v20210303-1800
  • Eclipse Git,
  • Eclipse Platform, 4.20.0.v20210612-2011
  • FreeType, 2.10.4
  • GDAL, 3.2.2
  • GEOS, 3.8.1
  • JasPer, 2.0.32
  • libHaru, 2.3.0
  • libjpeg-turbo, 2.1.0
  • libpng, 1.6.37
  • libxml2, 2.9.11
  • OpenSSL, 1.1.1k
  • python, 3.7.10, 3.8.10, 3.9.5
  • Spatialite, 5.0.0

The following 3rd party libraries have been added in this release:

  • POCO, 1.10.1

Known Issues

Workbench Instability with M1 Mac

Workbench instability issues occur due to Java AdoptOpenJDK running with Rosetta on M1 Mac. To work around this issue, replace the java in INSTALL_DIR/bin/bin.darwin.x86_64/jre with Azul Zulu OpenJDK JRE 11.0.12+7 (Zulu:11.50.19 version) found here: https://cdn.azul.com/zulu/bin/zulu11.50.19-ca-jdk11.0.12-macosx_x64.dmg.

Help Display on MacOS

Using the IDL Help System on MacOS with the Safari web browser results in the error "The operation couldn't be completed," or it displays a blank page. By default, Safari prohibits some local file operations; the error occurs when a temporary HTML file auto-created by the Help system attempts to perform a redirect to the specific IDL Help content. There are two workarounds to display the Help:

  • In Safari, enable the Disable Local File Restrictions setting.
  • If you prefer not to disable local file restrictions in Safari, use Chrome or Firefox as your browser to open IDL Help content.
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