There are numerous challenges when creating a big Phase II program. This advice is sorted into the different stages of writing the program. Please feel free to contact us (through firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need more advice or help.
- We highly recommend you use a computer with 2 GB of physical memory (RAM) or more for big programs.
- Be sure when you install APT that you select the option "My machine has 2 GB or more of memory". (Note that if you are using a site installation the lowest memory requirements was probably chosen. Install your own local version of APT.)
Strategies for creating a big program
1) Use APT to perfect a template visit (or subset of a visit). Use the Orbit Planner and Visit Planner to make sure the template is as close to what you need as possible.
2) Create your copies by one of three methods:
a) Use the Edit>Multiple Duplicate feature to create large numbers of similar exposures or visits.
b) Use the File>Export>Export Text Proposal feature to create the new text representation of your perfected 1 visit program. Then use a script or text editor to create duplicates and import the program back into APT.
c) If you are creating a mosaic, consider using the new mosaic building capability. Watch the mosaic training movie to get a sense of the capabilities.
Strategies for repetitive editing
Reguardless of how you created your big program in the first place, you may find that you need to make a small repetitive change to lots of exposures later on (like change the CR-split on all the exposures). This could be very tedious with the Form Editor. Alternatives to consider:
- Use APT's Spreadsheet Editor. Please be sure to save often and quit and restart APT regularly.
- Use the File>Export>Export Text Proposal feature to create the text representation of your program and use a text editor to search and replace.
- If you made the program with a script, modify the script that you used to create the big program in the first place.
Strategies for reviewing
It can be hard to see what you need to see when you have written a big proposal. Here are some tips:
- If you have lots of repetitive diagnostics (warnings or errors) in your proposal that need to be waived, you need to review your diagnostics sorted by type rather than by element of the proposal. You can do this by bringing up the "Errors and Warnings" tool (big red X in the tool bar) and then go to the menu called "Errors and Warnings" (same line as File and Edit) and select "Summarize".
- Try viewing the proposal in Spreadsheet mode. This allows you to see the parameters of all the target, visits, or exposures in a tabular format. You can even rearrange or close columns and sort the rows to aid in review. Note that parameters that have a diagnostic show up with a pink background.
Strategies for processing
If you find you are having trouble processing the program (running the Orbit Planner and Visit Planner with the "Run All Tools" button) here are some suggestions:
- Work on program in pieces. For instance if you have 5 targets that are each being observed many times, make 5 versions of the program. Or if you have 50 similar visits make five 10 visit programs. Be sure to give the unique targets and visits different numbers (and unique file names to the different pieces). After you have perfected your small programs paste them together. Use the File>Export>Export Text Proposal feature and then use a text editor to build the complete proposal.
- If you are not working on scheduling issues, do not run the Visit planner. You can now process multiple visits directly in the Orbit Planner without having to use "Run All Tools" button.
If you run into memory problems
If you have been editing for a while and all of the sudden every click takes much longer you are probably having a memory problem. Click on Help>Show Memory Monitor. Click on the "GC" (garbage collect) button at the bottom of the window a couple of times. You should then save your program. For a fuller discussion please see the APT Memory Issues page.