In a previous post I set out my “Manifesto for Good Energy Modelling Tools“, in this post I wanted to share an initial public preview of a tool I’ve been working on. The tool is an enhanced editor for EnergyPlus idf files. In creating the tool, I’ve attempted to embrace the concepts in the manifesto (rather, I discovered and developed the concepts as I created the tool). I use the official IDF Editor that comes with EnergyPlus every day—it is the primary tool I use for interacting with IDF files. I have come to respect it and think it is probably the best tool out there right now for working with IDF tools, however, it also has some significant limitations that I decided to address. The working name I’ve chosen is IDF+, but I am hoping to find something a bit more original as development progresses (suggestions are welcome!).
Open Source and Cross Platform
The tool is written in Python and the source code is available under an open source licence at the BitBucket repository. It is currently working on both Ubuntu Linux and Windows, but will eventually work on Mac OS as well.
Lightweight But Enhanced Editor for EnergyPlus
The tool continues in the spirit of the official editor in that it’s a lightweight tool that interacts as directly as possible with the contents of the IDF files.
Full Undo Support
All primary editing features support undo. This includes cut, copy, paste, delete and duplicate. The undo history can be navigated allowing a user to return to previous points in the model’s recent history (within the given editing session).
Filter and Transpose
Both the list of classes and objects are search/filterable. This means a user can show only objects or classes containing arbitrary bits of text. The editing actions can then be performed on this subset of objects. The object list can also be transposed (rows/columns reversed) to show a more traditional spreadsheet-like view.
Highly Flexible Interface
Each of the main interface elements, such as the class list or comments box, can be moved around and resized as a user prefers, or even “undocked” from the main interface altogether to be positioned on a secondary monitor.
On the roadmap are features such as search and replace, visualization of relationships between objects, enhanced contextual menus and help, as well as improvements to speed and visual appearance.
Please Try It Out
The tool is available on BitBucket now. I should consider it to be alpha stage software, meaning that it is for testing purposes only and should not be used for real projects. I would appreciate any feedback!