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Topic: Menus for MEX and S-functions
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jul 17, 1997 4:16 AM

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Glenn Macala

Posts: 1
Registered: 12/7/04
Menus for MEX and S-functions
Posted: Jul 16, 1997 12:13 PM
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Hi All:

Back in 1993, I sent a suggestion to MathWorks for improving the useability
of MEX functions and S-Functions.

The idea was to provide popup menus that a user would complete to specify
the interface between user written FORTRAN or C code and Matlab. For
example, the menu would contain fields for the user to type in the names of
calling routines and arguments, argument types, etc, for MEX or S-functions.

A similar approach was followed by a product made by Boeing called EASY5.
This approach made it very simple to include user written code in their
block diagram simulation tool.

I still have not seen anything like this appear in Matlab/Simulink, although
I once read that the makers of the NAG scientific library had made such a

Does anybody (including MathWorks) know if such a facility exists in
Matlab 5 (or at least is planned as a future improvement)?

I have included my original e-mail suggestion and the MathWorks (John Little)
response to it at that time (1993).


<======================= Begin Included Message =======================>
From gam Tue Apr 6 14:53:09 1993
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 14:53:06 PDT
From: gam (Glenn Macala)
Subject: Menus for MEX and S-functions
Cc: gam@dvorak

Hi Suggestee:

I've used Simulink for quite a while now and find that the MEX file facility
and the S-Function facility are both necessary and very difficult to use.

Given your windowing tool facility, it should be easy for Mathworks to provide
a USER FRIENDLY menu to fill out when one desires to make a MEX file or an
S-function. Then your routines could take the information in these menus and
create the MEX or S-function and any necessary interfaces. This bit about
writing interfaces between FORTRAN and C programs and Matlab is totally

The main reason for using both Simulink and Matlab is to free the engineer
from the details of computer programming and to let him get on with the
engineering. Both Matlab and Simulink accomplish a giant step towards this
goal EXCEPT when MEX functions or S-functions must be used. Then Matlab
and Simulink take a GIANT step backwards toward confusing, tedious programming
that has nothing what so ever to do with the engineering design work to be

Please implement this suggestion soon! This problem is really a BIG impediment
to using Matlab/Simulink for serious engineering problems.


Glenn A. Macala
Guidance & Control Section
M.S. 198-326
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099

phone: (818)354-6398

<======================= The response from MathWorks =======================>
From SUGGEST_1@MathWorks.COM Thu Apr 8 20:17:50 1993
X-Priority: 4
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1993 23:18:08 +0000
From: SUGGEST 1 <SUGGEST_1@MathWorks.COM>
Subject: RE>Menus for MEX and S-functions
To: Glenn Macala <gam@dvorak.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>
Cc: Andy Grace <Andy_Grace@MathWorks.COM>


Thanks for your suggestion. I will forward it to the SIMULINK development
manager for him to think about.

Regards, John Little

<======================== End Included Message ========================>

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