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MX Input Files

Most MX commands are echoed in code format. Experienced MX operators will compile design code into input files. Therefore when design adjustments are necessary, the input file can be modified and rerun in a fraction of the time necessary to interactively reproduce the design.

Capturing the Code
There is more than one source of MX code available. Input files may be compiled from any combination of the following sources.

  • User creation and sample input files.
  • Cut and paste from the MX Output Window.
  • MX journal files.
  • MX log files.
  • MX Alignment data output.

Programmers File Editor (PFE)
The recommended editor for creating or editing input files is the Programmer's File Editor (PFE). This editor should be installed on all workstations where MX is installed.

Recording a Journal File
A Journal file is a recording of the input code captured during interactive processing. Controlling a recording is similar to operating a tape recorder. Comments may also be inserted into the journal at any time while recording. To begin recording a Journal file:

  1. From the File menu in MX, select Open Journal File.
  2. From the Open Journal File dialog, navigate to the desired folder, specify the journal's File Name, then select Open to continue.
  3. A panel will appear indicating a journal file is activated, select OK to advance to the Journal Recording Methods panel.
    journal recording methods dialog box
  4. From the Journal Recording Methods panel, select Record & Rationalize, then select OK to continue.
    journal control dialog box
  5. Use the Journal Control to Record, Pause, Stop, and Add Comments.

MX Log Files
The input code for every MX session is automatically recorded in a Log file. These files are placed at the projects home directory. The name of the Log file is a culmination of the MX Master Document file name, plus the date and the time the log file is created, then appended with a .log extension.

Minor Option Details
Minor Options define detail specific actions for strings and points. All Minor options are 3-digit numbers (000-999). There are up to 10 items of data associated with each Minor option. The data items are assigned to fields identified by Field Numbers. The type of data assigned to each field has been standardized where possible.

Field Data Item
1 Existing or Reference string label
2 Subsidiary or Secondary string label
3 New or Amended string label
5 & 6 Start point of application (SPRD)
8 & 9 End point of application (SPRD)

Most Minor options are assigned to a single Major option. Minor options that operate within more than one Major option are referred to as Global Minor Options. Refer to MX's Command Language Reference manual for full details of Major and Minor options. Despite not being the latest version, the MOSS Quick Reference Guide also serves the same purpose.

Minor Option Formatting
There are two methods of organizing minor option data, these are known as Fixed Format and Free Format. All Minor option formats begin each line (record) with the Minor option code, then followed by it's associated fields.

Fixed Format
Field data items are placed in specific columns.

Field Columns
Minor Options 1-3
1 4-7
2 8-11
3 12-15
4 16-23
5 24-33
6 34-43
7 44-51
8 52-61
9 62-71
10 72-79

Free Format
Field data items are delimited by commas. There are two Free Format styles allowing various combinations of organizing data.

  • Style I - Each field data item is separated by a comma. Typical data using fields 1, 3, 4, & 7 would read: 100,MAST,,CHLI,-0.025,,,-3.65
  • Style II - The field number is nominated and a value assigned to it. The above example would read: 100,1=MAST,3=CHLI,4=-0.025,7=-3.65
  • It is not required to organize Style Il data in strict sequence. The above example may be organized: 100,3=CHLI,7=-3.65,4=-0.025,1=MAST
  • Styles I & II can also be combined. The above example may be organized: 100,MAST,3=CHLI,-0.025,7=-3.65

Input File Format (Rationalized)

Command Description
000 Your Name, Modified Date
('Moss' clears any previous errors)
Autodraw, ON (to revise display graphics)
Major Option,Model1,Model2 (Major option lines for 3 Models)
Major Option,Model3  
Minor Option,field 1,field 2,…field 10  
Minor Option,field 1,field 2,…field 10 (Minor Option records)
Minor Option,field 1,field 2,…field 10 999  
Major Option,Model1,Model2 (Major option lines for 2 Models)
Minor Option,field 1,field 2,…field 10  
Minor Option,field 1,field 2,…field 10 (Minor Option records)
Minor Option,field 1,field 2…field 10 999 (999 - terminates a Major option)
Finish ('Finish' designates end of input)

Preparation for Input
If the input file involves the creation of a new model, then it is necessary to anticipate the consequence of multiple file inputs. To avoid appending model detail with itself, delete the model prior to new input. Consider it never hurts to delete a model that is not there. To accomplish this, include the following lines after the 'Moss' record and before the first Major option in the file:

Delete,Model Name
Create,Model Name

The Create major option is included for preparation of detail input.

It may be more appropriate to delete certain strings instead of a whole model prior to running an input file. In this case, just delete the strings scheduled for creation. To accomplish this, include the following lines after the 'Moss' record and before the first Major option in the file:

Edit,Model Name
004,3=String Name
004,3=String Name
004,3=String Name (one 004 line for each string to be deleted)

Display Major Options
Journal files and Log files are likely to include display major options.

Switches automatic drawing on or off. By default, Autodraw is ON for interactive MX, and OFF for input files. Automatically drawn strings are displayed in the default style.

Include Autodraw,On at the beginning of an input file in order to update the current display. Include Autodraw,Off to disengage autodraw.

Autodraw has additional options that might be encounterred. Autodraw,save is used to capture the current autodraw status.  Autodraw,Restore recalls the saved autodraw status. These options are not well documented.

Controls the update of the display. Include Display,On (or 1) to update the display immediately. Display.Off clears the screen.

Running an Input File

  1. From the File menu in MX, select Input.
  2. From the Open dialog, browse to locate your file, then select Open to run.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483  |  7 Hazen Drive  |  
Concord, NH  |  03302-0483
Tel: 603.271.3734  |  Fax: 603.271.3914