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Chapter 1. Using Maya Well > Maya's Development - Pg. 5

Using Maya Well 5 Maya is also highly extensible. For artists and animators going about their daily work, MEL provides an easy-to-access scripting language with extensive capabilities. In fact, these scripting features are so rich that the entire Maya user interface is created with MEL. For serious software engineers, Maya also offers a richly featured API to allow them to add extensive new features and wrap them up within Maya or provide them as standalone applications. Data in Maya is also made accessible. Although users may opt to store their data in a binary format, Maya provides an ASCII format, too, which makes all the data in the scene available for inspection or modification. Got a piece of problem geometry? Open the file in your favorite text editor and perform a little surgery. Even better, the file is itself made up of MEL commands. With your MEL Command Reference at hand, you can spelunk through even the most complex of scenes to learn how things are really done. Finally, you can move that data easily between systems. Whether your need is importing an artist's EPS file or exporting an IGES file, Maya is set up to handle it. Want to render with Pixar's Render- Man? Export a RIB file. Developing for the web? Support for Shockwave 3D is in there. You can even develop your own custom data interfaces, from simple things such as using custom attributes to using the API to write an interface to your own special data structures. Data in Maya is inherently designed to be open and available. Maya's Development Unlike our universe of illusion, Maya didn't just spring into being from nothingness. It was carefully designed by veteran software engineers to bring together the best of several earlier 3D products into a modern graphics product that could handle the demands of the new millennium's projects.