A simple Fortran project
Single Fortran files can be compiled and run without creating a project. Simply
open the file and press Ctrl+Shift+B to build and then Ctrl+F5
to run or use a right mouse button click and select Run to Cursor. You can
change the associated compiler options using the Options dialog selected from
the main Tools meanu.
When this approach is inadequate you will need to
create either a project shell or a full project
In order to get started we shall create a new project
containing a very simple Fortran program. Select
Project from the main
a) Select the Project Type.
b) Browse to an existing folder to hold your
project source files or type in the Location of a new folder.
c) Type in the Name of the project file (we shall
call this Project1). The extension (.ftn95p) will be added for you. For
simplicity the project file name can be the same as the name of the
folder. It will also be the default name of the target (the executable or
d) Click on the Open button to create the project.
Now we add a new item to the project. In the Project Explorer window, use
the right mouse button to click on the Project1 item and then select
Item from the resulting popup menu.
Build menu item in this popup menu that
we shall use in a moment. Note also the item in the tree called
References . This is used to provide
references to additional libraries and DLLs when they are needed in the linking
Free format source
file in the resulting dialog box and type in a name for the file (we
shall call this freeformat1.f95). The location is normally the project folder.
Open to create the file and to add it to
the project. The file will be opened for you.
When the child window is maximised its name appears on a Files bar.
If the Files bar is not visible, select Files Bar
in the main View menu.
Type in a simple program.
Now click on
Build in the Project Explorer popup
menu (see above). The program is automatically compiled and linked and any
error messages are reported in the Output window. After a successful build you
can run the program by selecting
Start from the Project Explorer popup
menu (or press Ctrl+F5).
Tracking compilation error messages
If your program contains compilation errors, these appear in the Output
dialog. Double click on an error line in order to go to the error in
the source file.
Changing between modes
When a project is created in Plato it is automatically set to be a Win32
application in CheckMate mode. In order to change the mode, use the
Configuration drop down list on the main toolbar.
Release mode can be selected when a solution is ready for use/shipping. The
Debug and Checkmate modes plant debugging code that allows you to step into the
code using the Silverfrost Win32 debugger (SDBG) which is automatically called by
Plato. The Checkmate mode is recommended for development.
Note that you can also change from Win32 to .NET. However, for .NET it is
better to use Microsoft Visual Studio because the Silverfrost plug-in for Visual
Studio provides an intergrated debugger for .NET.
The simplest way to get started using SDBG is to set the cursor on a line
in the program, click on the right mouse button and select
Run to Cursor from the popup menu.
This launches SDBG and sets a break point at the cursor position.
You can then use SDBG to view the local variables, step through the program,
etc. For further information see Using SDBG.
Changing the compiler options
So far we have used the default compiler command line options based on
CheckMate. Options for a project can be changed from the
Project Properties dialog. Click with
the right mouse button on the Project1 item in the Project Explorer window and
This displays the Project Properties dialog that contains a section like that
show below. Change the entries in this dialog in order to configure the project
as a whole.
The Output File Type is one of EXE,
DLL and MDL.
The linker options can also be changed from this dialog box. To do this select
Linker Options from the tree on the left
When your project contains a number of files, you can set different command
line options for a particular file by using the
File Properties window as follows.
Click with the right mouse button on the file freeformat1.f95 in the
Project Explorer window and select Properties from the popup menu.
Custom compiler options drop down
list you can opt to
Append to or
Override the global project options. Now
type in the options in the box labeled
switches. For example, if the project is set to debug rather than
Checkmate mode then a particular file might be set to CheckMate mode with the
Creating a Solution
You can combine more than one project into a Plato Solution. For example, you
could combine a project to create a Fortran executable together with a project
to create an associated DLL that is called by the executable.
If a project is open and you then open or create another project, you are
prompted to either close the existing project or create a Solution that includes
the two projects. Further projects can then be added to this
solution. Existing solutions can also be opened directly from the Open Project
The Project/Solution Explorer window will display the project for the currently
active file. Alternatively you can right click on the current project node in
the Explorer window and the popup menu provides options to view another
project or remove the current project from the solution.
Plato does not provide a mechanism to build a solution as one action. You must
select each project in turn and build them separately and in the right order.
Creating additional source file folders
The Project Explorer window automatically provides a node for Source Files, for
Include Files and also for Resource Files. The Include and Resource File folders
are automatically populated by Plato whilst you have control over the files to
add to the list of Source Files.
Also you can add named folders for new grouping of your source files. Simply
right click on the project node and select Add New Folder, then click on the
default folder name in order to change the name to your choice. Source files can
then be dragged from one folder to another.
Note also that a source file can renamed by selecting the node for the file and
then using a siingle click on the node to begin editing the name. Click
elsewhere to end the edit.