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Chapter 5. MEL > Maya's Embedded Language: Some Specific Essentials

Maya's Embedded Language: Some Specific Essentials

MEL is an internal scripting language, compiled and executed by the Maya Executable as its interpreter. MEL's programming syntax style could easily and quickly be described as similar to the C programming and Perl scripting languages. The true power of MEL does not lie in a sophisticated and difficult language to learn or use. Instead, its power lies in the fact that it's a very simple and easy language that offers full control over Maya's runtime environment, including UI windows and widgets, all of the thousands of native embedded MEL commands, and the capability to create and execute your own custom scripts and functions inside the robust environment.

MEL is a top-down, function-based, procedural scripting language. Each MEL procedure should perform a single task and, in turn, return the result of that task to the next called procedure or function until the script is finished executing and all tasks are complete. Remember, MEL is a single-paradigm language. Things such as user-defined datatypes, objects, classes, methods, and templates are not conventions in MEL. Even things such as pointers or passing references to a function do not exist. Memory is managed completely by Maya; all array variables grow automatically and are deleted from memory by Maya's garbage collector as soon as the function exits scope. We'll talk more about variables, declarations, and syntax in the upcoming sections, but MEL makes it all very simple for the end user.


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