Preface -- Using the CIGAL Reference Manual

The CIGAL manual is used as either a printed user's guide, or an on-line resource via CIGAL's HELP command. The exact same information is available in both formats. This manual divides into short topics, each intended to cover only a single aspect of CIGAL's programming language. These short topics are designed for easy reference of the relative information about individual features. This manual is also designed as a learning tool, or an easy way of remembering how to use specific command features on-line. Each entry frequently references other topics containing related information. By following the relevant suggestions, you should be able to quickly locate the information you need.

The fragmented organization of this manual is somewhat less convenient when using the printed manual, particularly for new users looking for introductory information about more general features. To compensate for this, the printed manual is organized into chapters. The table of contents provides a general breakdown of the range of material covered in each specific chapter. At the beginning of each chapter there is a list of the specific topics covered in that chapter. Topics are arranged alphabetically within each chapter. Most chapters contain reference information on specific CIGAL features and therefore assume you already have some idea of what topics you are looking for. If you are new to CIGAL or don't have a specific topic in mind, then concentrate on chapter 1, which contains general information regarding CIGAL's capabilities.