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API_intro.py

# This is not a real module, it's simply an introductory text.

"""
The Blender Python API Reference
================================

 Top Module:
 -----------

  - L{Blender} (*)

 Submodules:
 -----------
  - L{Armature}
     - L{Bone}
     - L{NLA}
  - L{BGL} (*)
  - L{Camera}
  - L{Curve}
  - L{Draw}
  - L{Effect} (*)
  - L{Image}
  - L{Ipo}
  - L{Lamp}
  - L{Lattice}
  - L{Library}
  - L{Material}
  - L{Mathutils}
  - L{Metaball}
  - L{NMesh}
  - L{Noise}
  - L{Object} (*)
  - L{Registry}
  - L{Scene} (*)
     - L{Radio}
     - L{Render}
  - L{Sound} (new)
  - L{Text}
  - L{Texture}
  - L{Types}
  - L{Window} (*)
     - L{Theme} (new)
  - L{World} (*)
  - L{sys<Sys>}

 (*) - marks updated.

Introduction:
=============

 This reference documents the Blender Python API, a growing collection of
 Python modules (libraries) that give access to part of the program's internal
 data and functions.
 
 Through scripting Blender can be extended in real-time via
 U{Python <www.python.org>}, an impressive high level, multi-paradigm, open
 source language.  Newcomers are recommended to start with the tutorial that
 comes with it.

 This opens many interesting possibilities, ranging from automating repetitive
 tasks to adding new functionality to the program: procedural models,
 importers and exporters, even complex applications and so on.  Blender itself
 comes with some scripts, but many others can be found in the Scripts & Plugins
 sections and forum posts at the Blender-related sites listed below.

Scripting and Blender:
======================

There are four basic ways to execute scripts in Blender:

 1. They can be loaded or typed as text files in the Text Editor window, then
 executed with ALT+P.
 2. Via command line: 'blender -P <scriptname>' will start Blender and executed
 the given script.  <scriptname> can be a filename in the user's file system or
 the name of a text saved in a .blend Blender file:
 'blender myfile.blend -P textname'.
 3. Properly registered scripts can be selected directly from the program's
 menus.
 4. Scriptlinks: these are also loaded or typed in the Text Editor window and
 can be linked to objects, materials or scenes using the Scriptlink buttons
 tab.  Script links get executed automatically when their events (ONLOAD,
 REDRAW, FRAMECHANGED) are triggered.  Normal scripts can create (L{Text}) and
 link other scripts to objects and events, see L{Object.Object.addScriptLink},
 for example.

Registering scripts:
--------------------
 To be registered a script needs two things:
   - be either in the default scripts dir or in the user defined scripts path
     (see Info window, paths tab);
   - have a proper header.

 Try 'blender -d' to know where your default dir for scripts is, it will
 inform either the dir or the file with that info already parsed, which is
 in the same dir of the scripts folder.

 The header should be like this one (all double and single apostrophes below
 are required)::
  #!BPY

  # \"\"\"
  # Name: 'Script Name'
  # Blender: 233
  # Group: 'Export'
  # Submenu: 'All' all
  # Submenu: 'Selected' sel
  # Submenu: 'Configure (gui)' gui
  # Tooltip: 'Export to some format.'
  # \"\"\"

 where:
  - B{Name} is the string that will appear in the menu;
  - B{Blender} is the minimum program version required to run the script;
  - B{Group} defines where the script will be put, see all groups in the
    Scripts Window's header, menu "Scripts";
  - B{Submenu} adds optional submenus for further control;
  - B{Tooltip} is the (short) tooltip string for the menu entry.

 note:
  - all double and single apostrophes above are required;
  - B{*NEW*}: you can "comment out" the header above, by starting lines with
    '#', like we did.  This is not required (except for the first line, #!BPY,
    of course), but this way the header won't conflict with Python tools that
    you can use to generate documentation for your script code.  Just
    remember to keep this header above any other line with triple
    double-quotes (\"\"\") in your script.

 Submenu lines are not required, use them if you want to provide extra
 options.  To see which submenu the user chose, check the "__script__"
 dictionary in your code: __script__['arg'] has the defined keyword (the word
 after the submenu string name: all, sel or gui in the example above) of the
 chosen submenu.  For example, if the user clicked on submenu 'Selected' above,
 __script__['arg'] will be "sel".

 If your script requires extra data or configuration files, there is a special
 folder where they can be saved: see 'datadir' in L{Blender.Get}.

Interaction with users:
-----------------------

 Scripts can:
  - simply run and exit;
  - grab the main input event queue and process (or pass to Blender) selected
    keyboard, mouse, redraw events;
  - pop messages, menus and small number and text input boxes;
  - draw graphical user interfaces (guis) with OpenGL calls and native
    program buttons, which stay there accepting user input like any other
    Blender window until the user closes them;
  - make changes to the 3D View (set visible layer(s), view point, etc);
  - use external Python libraries, if available.

 You can read the documentation for the L{Window}, L{Draw} and L{BGL} modules
 for more information and also check Python's site for external modules that
 might be useful to you.  Note though that any imported module will become a
 requirement of your script, since Blender itself does not bundle external
 modules.

Command line mode:
------------------

 Python was embedded in Blender, so to access bpython modules you need to
 run scripts from the program itself: you can't import the Blender module
 into an external Python interpreter.  But with "OnLoad" script links, the
 "-b" background mode and additions like the "-P" command line switch,
 L{Blender.Save}, L{Blender.Load}, L{Blender.Quit} and the L{Library} module,
 for many tasks it's possible to control Blender via some automated process
 using scripts.  Note that command line scripts are run before Blender
 initializes its windows, so many functions that get or set window related
 attributes (like most in L{Window}) don't work here.  If you need those, use
 an ONLOAD script link (see L{Scene.Scene.addScriptLink}) instead -- it's
 also possible to use a command line script to write or set an ONLOAD script
 link.

Demo mode:
----------

 Blender has a demo mode, where once started it can work without user
 intervention, "showing itself off".  Demos can render stills and animations,
 play rendered or real-time animations, calculate radiosity simulations and
 do many other nifty things.  If you want to turn a .blend file into a demo,
 write a script to run the show and link it as a scene "OnLoad" scriptlink.
 The demo will then be played automatically whenever this .blend file is
 opened, B{unless Blender was started with the "-y" parameter}.

The Game Engine API:
--------------------

 Blender has a game engine for users to create and play 3d games.  This
 engine lets programmers add scripts to improve game AI, control, etc, making
 more complex interaction and tricks possible.  The game engine API is
 separate from the Blender Python API this document references and you can
 find its own ref doc in the docs section of the main sites below.

Blender Data Structures:
------------------------

 Programs manipulate data structures.  Blender python scripts are no exception.
 Blender uses an Object Oriented architecture.  The bpython interface tries to
 present Blender objects and their attributes in the same way you see them
 through the User Interface ( the GUI ).  One key to bpython programming is
 understanding the information presented in Blender's OOPS window where Blender
 objects and their relationships are displayed.

 Each Blender graphic element (Mesh, Lamp, Curve, etc.) is composed from two
 parts: an Object and ObData. The Object holds information about the position,
 rotation and size of the element.  This is information that all elements have
 in common.  The ObData holds information specific to that particular type of
 element.  

 Each Object has a link to its associated ObData.  A single ObData may be
 shared by many Objects.  A graphic element also has a link to a list of
 Materials.  By default, this list is associated with the ObData.

 All Blender objects have a unique name.  However, the name is qualified by the
 type of the object.  This means you can have a Lamp Object called Lamp.001
 (OB:Lamp.001) and a Lamp ObData called Lamp.001 (LA:Lamp.001).

 For a more in-depth look at Blender internals, and some understanding of why
 Blender works the way it does, see the U{Blender Architecture document
 <http://www.blender3d.org/cms/Blender_Architecture.336.0.html>}.

Documenting scripts:
--------------------

 The "Scripts Help Browser" script in the Help menu can parse special variables
 from registered scripts and display help information for users.  For that,
 authors only need to add proper information to their scripts, after the
 registration header.

 The expected variables:

  - __bpydoc__ (or __doc__) (type: string):
    - The main help text.  Write a first short paragraph explaining what the
      script does, then add the rest of the help text, leaving a blank line
      between each new paragraph.  To force line breaks you can use <br> tags.

  - __author__ (type: string or list of strings):
    - Author name(s).

  - __version__ (type: string):
    - Script version.

  - __url__ (type: string or list of strings):
    - Internet links that are shown as buttons in the help screen.  Clicking
      them opens the user's default browser at the specified location.  The
      expected format for each url entry is e.g.
      "Author's site, http://www.somewhere.com".  The first part, before the
      comma (','), is used as the button's tooltip.  There are two preset
      options: "blender" and "elysiun", which link to the Python forums at
      blender.org and elysiun.com, respectively.

  - __email__ (optional, type: string or list of strings):
    - Equivalent to __url__, but opens the user's default email client.  You
      can write the email as someone:somewhere*com and the help script will
      substitute accordingly: someone@somewhere.com.  This is only a minor help
      to hide emails from spammers, since your script may be available at some
      site.  "scripts" is the available preset, with the email address of the
      mailing list devoted to scripting in Blender, bf-scripts-dev@blender.org.
      You should only use this one if you are subscribed to the list:
      http://projects.blender.org/mailman/listinfo/bf-scripts-dev for more
      information.

 Example::
   __author__ = 'Mr. Author'
   __version__ = '1.0 11/11/04'
   __url__ = ["Author's site, http://somewhere.com",
       "Support forum, http://somewhere.com/forum/", "blender", "elysiun"]
   __email__ = ["Mr. Author, mrauthor:somewhere*com", "scripts"]
   __bpydoc__ = \"\"\"\\
   This script does this and that.

   Explaining better, this script helps you create ...

   You can write as many paragraphs as needed.

   Shortcuts:<br>
     Esc or Q: quit.<br>
     etc.

   Supported:<br>
     Meshes, metaballs.

   Known issues:<br>
     This is just an example, there's no actual script.

   Notes:<br>
     You can check scripts bundled with Blender to see more examples of how to
    add documentation to your own works.
 \"\"\"

A note to newbie script writers:
--------------------------------

 Interpreted languages are known to be much slower than compiled code, but for
 many applications the difference is negligible or acceptable.  Also, with
 profiling to identify slow areas and well thought optimizations, the speed
 can be I{considerably} improved in many cases.  Try some of the best bpython
 scripts to get an idea of what can be done, you may be surprised.

@author: The Blender Python Team
@requires: Blender 2.35 or newer.
@version: 2.35 - 2.36
@see: U{www.blender3d.org<http://www.blender3d.org>}: main site
@see: U{www.blender.org<http://www.blender.org>}: documentation and forum
@see: U{www.elysiun.com<http://www.elysiun.com>}: user forum
@see: U{projects.blender.org<http://projects.blender.org>}
@see: U{blender architecture<http://www.blender3d.org/cms/Blender_Architecture.336.0.html>}: blender architecture document
@see: U{www.python.org<http://www.python.org>}
@see: U{www.python.org/doc<http://www.python.org/doc>}
@note: this documentation was generated by epydoc, which can output html and
   pdf.  For pdf it requires a working LaTeX environment.

@note: the official version of this reference guide is only updated for each
   new Blender release.  But it is simple to build yourself current cvs
   versions of this text: install epydoc, grab all files in the
   source/blender/python/api2_2x/doc/ folder of Blender's cvs and use the
   epy_docgen.sh script also found there to generate the html docs.
   Naturally you will also need a recent Blender binary to try the new
   features.  If you prefer not to compile it yourself, there is a testing
   builds forum at U{blender.org<http://www.blender.org>}.
"""

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