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For scan designers

Flint supports several metadata to improve the plot rendering.

This informations have to be known and defined at the build step of the scan.

The default scan commands provide this metadata, but if you create your own scans, you have to feed useful information on your own.


The scan_info dictionary allows you to add extra information to a scan.

A field channels, already feed by the Scan object is used to annotate each channel with information.

Flint will mostly read that structure to know what to do with the live data.

On BLISS side, the ScanInfo object provides methods to feed this structure. There is no need to edit it manually.

Global metadata

This metadata must be at the root of scan_info.

  • npoints (int): Number of expected points for the scan.
  • npoints1 (int): Number of expected points of the first axis of a mesh scan
  • npoints2 (int): Number of expected points of the second axis of a mesh scan

That’s one available option used Flint to compute a progress bar for a scan.

size per channels.

  • data_dim (int): Dimensionality of the scan
  • dim (int): Alias of data_dim

Flint uses this metadata to display the data as a scatter if equals to 2.

Channel’s metadata

Here is an example to update few metadata to a channel named my_channel:

from bliss.scanning.scan_info import ScanInfo
scan_info = ScanInfo()
# The channel name is a fullname
scan_info.set_channel_meta("my_channel_name", start=1, stop=2)

scan = Scan(

List of channel’s metadata

Everything is optional, but have to be well typed.

Better to refer to the documentation of ScanInfo.set_channel_meta which is probably up-to-date.

  • For curve/scatter
    • start (float): Start position of the axis
    • stop (float): Stop position of the axis
    • min (float): Minimal value the channel can have
    • max (float): Maximal value the channel can have
    • points (int): Amount of total points which will be transmitted by this channel. It is used to compute the scan progress. And it could be used to optimize memory allocation.
  • For scatter
    • axis_points (int): Amount of points for the axis (see scatter below)
    • axis_kind (string): Kind of axis. It can be one of:
      • forth: For an axis always starting from start to stop
      • backnforth: For an axis which goes forth, increment the slower axis and then goes back
      • step: For extra dimensions for axis which have discrete position
    • axis_points (int): Amount of axis points contained in the channel. For scatter this amount of points will differ from the amount of point owned by the same row, or column.
    • axis_id (int): Interleaved position of the axis in the scatter. Smaller is faster. 0 is the fastest.
    • axis_points_hint (int): Used for irregular scatters. Flint will use it to display this scatter as an 2D histogram. This hint became the number of bins to use (number of pixels)
  • For any kind
    • group (string): Specify a group where the channel belong. All the channels from the same group are supposed to contain the same amount of elements at the end of the scan. It also can be used as a hint to help interactive user selection. If nothing is set, Flint will group the channel using it’s top master channel name from the acquisition chain.

Curve rendering

  • min/max will be used to constrain the default displayed view.
  • start/end will be also used to constrain the displayed view.

Then min and max should be set close to the real data which will be provided by the channel. Using theoretical range of an axis is not a good idea.

Scatter rendering

This can be used for general cases of scatters

  • start/end/min/max are used to constrain the default displayed view. This way the full data range can be visible from the beginning to the end of the acquisition without rescaling every time a new data is received.

Other metadata are used to optimize the solid rendering of the scatter. This can reduce the CPU load and avoid blinking of the display.

Plot description

Plots can be described in the scan_info, and stored in the plots field.

If there is no plot description (when this field is not there), Flint will try to infer plots from other scan_info fields.

If this field is an empty list, Flint will consider that there is no plot to display. This can be useful to ignore the content of a scan, for example for a sequence of scans.

For now, very basic plots are supported for curves and scatters.

Here is an example.

from bliss.scanning.scan_info import ScanInfo
scan_info = ScanInfo()

scan_info.add_curve_plot(name="unique-plot-name2", x="axis:sx")

scan_info.add_1d_plot(name="unique-plot-name3", x="energy", y=["mca1"])

The default BLISS commands uses this API to specify the default channels to use as axis for the curve and the scatter plots. In this case the plot name is not set, cause it is considered as a default plot.

If you want to use standard scans, you can override this plot by defining the default plot in the scan_info passed to the standard scan command. It will not be redefined.

For your information in BLISS 1.9, the previous code will generate a dictionary looking like the following one. But it is not recommended to generate it manually, in case of changes.

plots = [
        "name": "unique-plot-name"
        "kind": "scatter-plot",
        "items": [
            {"kind": "scatter", "x": "axis:sx", "y": "axis:sy", "value": "diode2"},
        "name": "unique-plot-name2"
        "kind": "curve-plot",
        "items": [
            {"kind": "curve", "x": "axis:sx"},
        "name": "unique-plot-name3"
        "kind": "1d-plot",
        "items": [
            {"kind": "curve", "energy": "mca1"},

Scan sequence

Metadata can also be added to the BLISS scan sequence in order to make them understandable client side.

  • set_sequence_info can be used to say how many scans are expected. This is used by Flint to display the progress of the sequence.
  • A sub scan must be added to the sequence before running. This is needed to provide parenting of the scans in Flint.
from import Sequence
from bliss.scanning.scan_info import ScanInfo

scan_info = ScanInfo()

seq = Sequence(scan_info=scan_info)
with seq.sequence_context() as scan_seq:
    for i in range(10):
        s = loopscan(10, 0.5, tomocam, run=False)