Herschel Tools Contributor's Guide

Issue 2.0, 14 March 2012

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This document describes how you can provide data reduction tools to the Herschel Science Centre, to make them available to the astronomical community.

You are welcome to share your scripts and tools, implemented in Jython or Java, with other observatory users. Submitted tools must be accompanied by documentation that describes their purpose and algorithms, and how to install and use them (see Tools documentation in this document).

Contributing scripts

Contributing single Jython scripts, or collections of related scripts, is the simplest way to share code with the community. Such scripts are intended to be run from the Editor view of HIPE, much like routines from the IDL Astronomy User's Library are run from the IDL environment.

You can also contribute scripts for other environments, such as IDL or CLASS, if these played a role in the reduction of your data.

Contributing Jython or Java plug-ins

With plug-in we denote any external component that can be integrated into HIPE. This can be a task (a special type of function, usually for data processing, such as fitFringe), a view (a window within HIPE, such as the Editor view) or a perspective (a set of windows within HIPE, such as the Workbench perspective).

The Herschel Science Centre has developed a framework to install, update and uninstall user-contributed plug-ins within HIPE:

  • To check the list of available plug-ins, see this page.
  • To learn how to install and uninstall plug-ins within HIPE, see the user's manual.
  • To learn how to contribute plug-ins for HIPE, see the author's manual.

For an introduction to all the ways in which you can contribute to HIPE, with an emphasis on developing and modifying plug-ins, see the Contributing to HIPE tutorials on the HIPE Community website.

For a more in-depth description of HIPE internals and more advanced development topics, see the Contributing to HIPE pages on the official Herschel Science Centre wiki.

Tools documentation

The delivery should include documentation containing the following:

  • Name of author or authors, affiliation, email.
  • Associated Herschel proposal identifier.
  • List of HIPE versions with which the module is compatible.
  • Purpose of the software.
  • Description of the algorithms.
  • Short user's manual.
  • Description of the Highly Processed Data Products derived with the modules, if applicable.


The responsibility to maintain and update the contributed tools lays on the contributors. The Herschel Science Centre will provide no support for problems with these tools, or for problems arising in HIPE because of these tools. Users will download and install the tools at their own risk. This disclaimer will be clearly displayed on any download page provided by the Herschel Science Centre.

The Herschel Science Centre may decide to integrate tools of outstanding quality into the official HIPE distribution. In this case, support to users will be provided.

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Topic revision: r6 - 2012-05-23 - DavideRizzo
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