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README

SUMMON - A general 2D visualization prototyping module
Copyright 2005-2011 Matt Rasmussen 
rasmus@mit.edu

- For install instructions see INSTALL
- For documentation see doc/summon_manual.pdf

Summary

    SUMMON is a python extension module that provides rapid prototyping of 2D
    visualizations. By heavily relying on the python scripting language, SUMMON
    allows the user to rapidly prototype a custom visualization for their data,
    without the overhead of designing a graphical user interface or
    recompiling native code. By simplifying the task of designing a
    visualization, users can spend more time on understanding their data.

    SUMMON was designed with several philosophies. First, recompilation should
    be avoided in order to speed up the development process. Second, design of
    graphical user interfaces should also be minimized. Designing a good
    interface takes planning and time to layout buttons, scrollbars, and dialog
    boxes. Yet a poor interface is very painful to work with. Even when one has
    a good interface, rarely can it be automated for batch mode. Instead, SUMMON
    relies on the python terminal for most interaction. This allows the users
    direct access to the underlining code, which is more expressive, and can be
    automated through scripting.

    Lastly, SUMMON is designed to be fast. Libraries already exist for accessing
    OpenGL in python. However, python is relatively slow for real-time
    interaction with large visualizations (trees with 100,000 leaves, matrices
    with a million non-zeros, etc.). Therefore, all real-time interaction is
    handled with compiled native C++ code. Python is only executed in the
    construction and occasional interaction with the visualization. This
    arrangement provides the best of both worlds.