The IDL-based SolarSoft (SSW, SSWIDL) software library and distribution framework continues to be used by a substantial fraction of solar physics researchers, even as other solar physics software packages such as Python-based SunPy grow in usage. In a 2020 survey of researchers in the field of solar physics, 73% of respondents reported using IDL compared to 66% who use Python*. The overwhelming majority of solar physicists using IDL use SolarSoft. In particular, SolarSoft now supports the latest missions in the Heliophysics System Observatory, including the Parker Solar Probe, Solar Orbiter, and GOES 16 and 17 missions. In addition, SolarSoft is used in the data production pipelines of many current missions, including SDO, IRIS, and Hinode. SolarSoft is used for generating much of the content of the Heliospheric Events Knowledgebase (HEK). Given the field’s enduring embrace of solarsoft and the value it provides, we are working to provide additional tools to integrate SolarSoft with the latest developments in scientific data analysis, image processing, and software package distribution systems. SSWIDL versions for reading and writing imagery, data, and metadata in the latest and most efficient formats are being developed. The current software distribution system is being augmented to use Git. Seamless access to both SolarSoft and SunPy tools in one interface will allow researchers to work in a single environment. SSWIDL support for running on Jupyter notebooks, and Jupyter-based interactive tutorials are being developed. Here we present the current status of these and other tools.
*Bobra et al, 2020, ‘A Survey of Computational Tools in Solar Physics’, 10.1007/s11207-020-01622-2 10.1007/s11207-020-01622-2