PST: Starting up Soar

(How to get a copy of Soar is available in the Soar FAQ.)

On the Mac

You may have been presented this tutorial on a diskette. You should (but don't have to) copy the tutorial from the diskette to the hard drive. Doing so will make things run faster and more smoothly, but is not required.

In the Macintosh environment you simply double click on the SoarJavaDebugger.command (in the main directory) icon to start it up. You should see a termain start up, and then a window, "Soar Debugger in Java", as part of a GUI.

Rules are loaded from a full path specification or from Soar's current directory. pwd will print out the current directory; cd will change it. ls will list the files in the current directory. The initial current directory is the one that MacSoar is started from.

Directories on the Mac start with the disk name, and are separated by a "/". You might typically load files like "Harddrive/MacSoar/hts9.soar". Directories can be accessed relative to the current directory by preceding their name with a "/". From within MacSoar, the command cd ".." moves you up from the current directory. If you only use files from within the folder Soar is in, you won't need these commands.

Soar is easier to learn on the Macintosh and easier to use for small systems. However, the Macintosh version has been not as well supported as the Unix version in the past, but currently (9/11), the latest versions are moving towards equivalency.

Should you require MacSoar, then the latest information and option to download an up-to-date version of MacSoar can be found at the U. of Michigan Soar Software Archive.

On UNIX machines

There are two recommended ways to start up Soar under UNIX.

  1. The most efficient way is to start up the Emacs editor and run Soar in a shell there. To do this, type "emacs", and a Emacs window will appear. (If you don't know how to use Emacs, you should do the Emacs tutorial by holding down the control key and typing 'h' and then 't'.) But, you will have a lot to learn.

    Then press and release the escape key and type "x", and then type "shell" and hit a carriage return. A window in Emacs will appear that acts like a UNIX shell (for it is). Then type "soar9" (if you have the alias set up) or the full path to Soar.

    You can hide this buffer, jump to it as you would any other buffer, scroll it, cut and paste. You can also type "ESC-p" repeatedly to recall previous commands.

  2. You can simply start up Soar in a plain shell window. This does not provide as much support, but you don't have to know Emacs. If you are going to work with Soar for a while, or will use computers for more than a year, it is worth learning the powerful Emacs editor.

You may find that creating an alias for it is worthwhile. To do this, insert in your .login file the following line:

alias soar9 /Users/ritter/ritter/402ist/SoarSuite-9.3.1-osx-x86_64/

If you are using Unix, here are some further changes you may want to make.

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-fer 10sep11