On this page, we provide some information on how to use ANIMAL. Due to the way this web page is organized, the individual components may be somewhat hard to locate - therefore, they are gathered on this page.
- Please make sure that you have Java 7 (or later) installed on your computer. If this is not the case, please first download a Java distribution. Unless you want to develop animations using the AlgoAnim API or write new generators, you will not need to install the (larger) JDK (Java Development Kit) and can also use the JRE (Java Runtime Environment).
- Download the most recent version of ANIMAL. At the time of writing, this is version 2.3.30. On the home page, you will find a link to the current download, as well as on the Available Downloads page. Please download the JAR file. Do not click on it, as this will cause some browsers to try to run the software, or display the file contents, neither of which is correct. Simply go to the context menu (typically by pressing the right mouse button over the JAR link), and choose the "save as" option.
- To get a running start at ANIMAL, I recommend that you also download the ZIP file containing "all" (more accurately: a lot of) hand-made animations. This download is available in English or in German. As the language determines the language of the texts in the animation, make sure you download the "right" file!
Please unzip this file somewhere on your hard disk - a special directory called "anims" or something similar is a good idea, as the files contain about 50 animations each.
- You can now start ANIMAL by running the JAR file, typically by double-clicking on it. If you prefer to use the shell, please use the following command: java -jar animal-x.jar, where you need to replace "x" by the current version number (for example, java -jar animal-2330.jar).
If your computer has at least 1GB of RAM, you can speed up the program by allowing Java to take more RAM as follows:
java -Xms256m -Xmx768m -jar animal-2330.jar
This example will allow Java to allocate 256 MB RAM initially and use up to 768 MB. You should experiment with these values, as the "best option" depends on how much RAM you have and on how many programs you are running at the same time.
- You should now see a small window that shows you the progress of starting up ANIMAL. After a while, the main window will appear.
- To view one of the pre-made animations, please open the "File" menu and select "Open", or click on the "Open" button in the main window. Navigate to the directory where you stored your animations, and select one (the file type should be "animation/animal-ascii-compressed" for files ending with ".aml", and "animation/animalscript" for files ending with ".asu"). Select one animation file and confirm your choice. Animal will now load the animation and show it in the animation window.
The buttons at the bottom allow you to control the animation by stepping through it at your own speed. The buttons in the "Navigation" area take you to the start or end of the animation, pause it, go one step backward, or play the current step. The "kiosk mode" buttons allow you to see a "smooth movie" of the complete animation, either in forward or backwards direction. Please click on "pause" to interrupt this movie. The text field allows you to directly jump to a given step by entering its number, and the slider to the right indicates the progress and can also be dragged for a "fast forward / fast rewind".
Finally, at the top of the window you can control the speed and magnification.
To create a new animation manually using the GUI or the built-in ANIMALSCRIPT language, please consult the associated documentation available on the documentation page.
ANIMAL also comes with a large set of prepared "animation content generators". Please select "Generate..." in the "File" menu to start the interface, select an output language (e.g., en for English, de for German), a programming language (e.g., Java), an algorithm type (e.g., Sorting), and then the concrete algorithm (e.g., BubbleSort). You will then see all generators available for your choice.
By selecting one and clicking on Confirm, you will be taken to a dialog where you can enter the input values for the algorithm and may also be able to make some color selections. After pressing the confirm button, you can save the animation file or press "confirm" again to directly run the generated content inside ANIMAL.