run_stem foo=bar stem_conf_file
This script is the way most Stem applications are started. It does several important things so you don't have to create your own top level scripts. It is not required to execute run_stem to use Stem but it makes it much easier to get it going in most cases. The following are the steps that 'run_stem' does when bringing up Stem.
Many Stem modules and cells look at the Stem environment for default configuration values or global flags. This allows you to control how many of the cells and modules behave when loaded and instantiated. If a Stem attribute in a specification has its 'env' name description set, it will use that name (optionally prefixed with the cell's registration name) as a key to lookup in the Stem Environement. If found there, that value becomes is used and overrides the default and any value set in a configuration file. This allows the user to override default setting from the outside without modifying Stem configuration files. See Stem::Class for more on this. The Stem environment is set from these sources in the following order:
'run_stem' initially looks for a file named 'env' in the first configuration directory (set at install time) and loads it if found. These site and user files both have a simple key=value format with one entry per line.
'run_stem' then will look in your home directory (not supported on windows) for a file named .stem_env and loads it if found.
Any shell environment variable with the form 'STEM_*' will have the 'STEM_' part deleted and the rest of its name converted to lower case. That will become the key in the Stem environment with the value set to the shell variable's value.
Any command line arguments of the form key=value will be parsed out and used to set a Stem environment variable.
'run_stem' then loads all the core Stem modules with a use Stem line.
Any arguments left in @ARGV are assumed to be Stem configuration files. Typically there is only one configuration file but you can have pass in as many as you want. The config file arguments can have a .stem suffix or no suffix. The configuration directory list is searched in order for the file and it is loaded and all of its entries are constructed.
You can override the default configuration directory list (set at install time) by setting the 'conf_path' Stem environment variable from the shell environment or on the 'run_stem' command line. The following are equivilent:
export STEM_CONF_PATH=/etc/stem/conf:/home/foo/.stem run_stem bar run_stem conf_path=/etc/stem/conf:/home/foo/.stem bar
The final operation 'run_stem' does is start the main event loop. If no events were created by the loaded configuration files, this will fail and 'run_stem will exit immediately. If all the created events eventually get canceled, the event loop will exit and 'run_stem' will exit too.