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Obtaining StageTools

The StageTools package is distributed from a web site on the Union College Mathematics Department web server. This site [Skip] includes download and installation instructions, as well as documentation for the various components of StageTools.

StageTools runs under the unix operating system (since that is where Geomview runs). Unfortunately, versions for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS are not available, though the recent release of Apple's Mac OS X may see a version for that operating system in the future. On the other hand, excellent implementations of linux exist for both Intel and Apple hardware, and Geomview and StageTools run nicely there. Those planning to work on a Sun workstation should be sure to read the page on the StageTools web site concerning that platform.

To use StageTools, you will need to have a copy of Geomview [Skip]. With the closing of the Geometry Center, Geomview went without change for several years. Recently, however, Geometry Technologies, a company formed by several members of the Geometry Center staff, has begun to update it again. The current version is 1.8.0, but some StageTools users have reported problems with this version of Geomview and complicated CenterStage objects. You may find it more reliable to use the older 1.6.1 version that is still available from the Geometry Center web site [Skip].

You will also need a copy of TCL/TK, which is the language in which StageTools is implemented. Most academic unix installations, and most versions of linux, already should have this installed, but it can be obtained from the TCL consortium [Skip] if necessary. Version 8.0 or above should work. You can determine your version by running the tclsh shell and typing set tcl_version at the prompt. StageTools is known to be compatible with TCL/TK version 8.0.3.

In order to make movies, StageManager calls on several other tools. These are listed on the StageTools web site, with links to their sources. You can use StageTools to script and preview movies without these tools, but will not be able to generate the final MPEG or GIF file without them.

Once you have Geomview and TCL/TK, follow the installation instructions listed on the StageTools web site. Basically, this consists of unpacking the archive, running a script to set the location of the TCL interpreter, and running a second script to put the files in the right place. If all goes well, when you start Geomview, you will see CenterStage and StageManager among the external modules in the Geomview main control panel.

Now you can follow the tutorials for CenterStage and StageManager that are available on the StageTools web site [Skip]. The first leads you through the construction of several objects within CenterStage, including a compound object that is controlled by a slider and a type-in area. The second helps you make a simple animation in StageManager that could be used on a web page. These only touch on a few of the features of StageTools, but they will give you a sense of the programs and their abilities.

If, for some reason, you are unable to get StageTools to work for yourself, you can view the slides [Skip] for a talk given at the conference on Mathematical Tools for Communicating Mathematics, held in Lisbon, Portugal in the fall of 2000. Unfortunately, these are virtually without words, as the lecture explained them. They do include some screen images that show what CenterStage and StageManager look like, however. Many of the pages contain active images that change when you click them; for example, on the page that illustrates the slider, you can click at different positions within the slider to see the effect of setting it to those locations. (You can tell which images are active, as the mouse pointer will turn into a hand when it passes over them). Some images will change more than once, so try clicking several times on these. Usually clicking on some other image on the page will reset the sequence to the beginning again.

[HOME] Davide P. Cervone's web pages
Created: 08 Sep 2001
Last modified: 07 Jan 2001 06:04:47
Comments to: dpvc@union.edu
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