How can I update my Surfer 6 scripts to work in the current version?

This article gives helpful hints for converting your Surfer 6 scripts into scripts that will run successfully in newer versions of Scripter.


The newer Surfer automation model, introduced in Surfer 7, is different than Surfer 6. Surfer 7 still supported the older Surfer 6 automation model in addition to the new model, but support for the older model was completely dropped in Surfer 8. Surfer 6 scripts may require considerable revision to work with Surfer 8+. 


Unfortunately, there is not an automatic way to convert scripts from the Surfer 6 automation model to the new model.  To help learn the newer automation model, I suggest starting from the Object Hierarchy graphics in the Help file.  Several changes were required that may break old script files.  Most of these are a result of moving to a VBA-compatible scripting language:

  1. When a wireframe plot is selected the default name is "Wireframe" rather than "Surface". 
  2. "Surfer.App" is the Application object for the old Surfer 6 interface. "Surfer.Application" is the new Surfer 7 Automation model.
  3. The commands Surfer.FileNew(int iDoc) and Surfer.FileOpen(FileName,iDoc) no longer support iDoc==2. This created an editor document which is no longer supported. This will silently fail to minimize the effect on existing scripts.
  4. The new Scripter requires named arguments to be specified with := whereas the old Scripter required the single =.
  5. Scripter statements must be contained within a Sub block. The main program should be within a "Sub Main", "End Sub" block. Surfer 6 Scripter allowed stand-alone statements outside blocks. The old "End" statement should be changed to "End Sub"
  6. Subroutines used to be specified by labels. They now must be specified with "Sub XXX" and "End Sub" statements where XXX is the old subroutine label.
  7. The old "gosub" statement is no longer allowed. Delete it and call the subroutine directly. For example "gosub DoWork" should now just be "DoWork".
  8. The old Print statement is not supported. Use Debug.Print or MsgBox.
  9. Arrays must be dimensioned with the dim statement.
  10. Global variables must be declared outside the body of sub blocks.
  11. It is not possible to jump to labels in other subroutines.
  12. The \ line continuation character is not allowed. You need to use the underscore character _ for the equivalent functionality.
  13. Comments are not allowed after the line continuation character _.
  14. The Surfer 6 macro command FileNewWindow() always returns true (success).
  15. If Surfer 7 is started via Automation, the default directory is set to the applications startup directory. It used to be set to the Windows System directory.
  16. Surfer 7 Scripter uses End If (space between end and if) and Surfer 6 Scripter uses Endif (no space).
  17. Surfer 7 Scripter requires Option Explicit to be declared prior to the Sub .. End Sub. Surfer 6 Scripter does not support Sub .. End Sub, so Option Explicit can be declared anywhere.
  18. Surfer 7 Scripter does not allow the variable type suffix characters (%$#?&@!) in the DIM statement with the As Type syntax and Surfer 6 Scripter does allow it, e.g.

    Surfer 7 Scripter: 

    DIM a As String
    DIM b$
    DIM  c$ As String  'ERROR Unexpected text 
    a$ = "Test"  'or
    a = "Test2"  'both ways work, a = a$

    Surfer 6 Scripter:
    DIM a$ As String
    a$ = "Test"
    a = "Test"  'ERROR Type Mismatch, a <> a$


Some additional differences between Surfer 6 automation and the Surfer 7 automation model (used in all subsequent versions) are:

  1. The Surfer 6 Scripter time$() and date$() functions display an error message in Surfer 7 Scripter: "Function is defined with a different value type." Use the Surfer 7 Scripter functions time() and date(), or time and date with no parentheses (no $).
  2. The Surfer 6 Scripter sleep() function is not supported in Surfer 7 Scripter, which displays the message "Expecting an existing scalar var". Use the Surfer 7 Scripter wait() function, or wait without parentheses.
  3. The Surfer 6 Scripter function cls() to clear the output window is not supported in Surfer 7 Scripter.
  4. Surfer 7 Scripter uses If .. End If (note space in End If). Surfer 6 Scripter uses If .. Endif (no spaces in Endif). Attempting to run a script in Surfer 7 Scripter with Endif displays the error message "Expecting an existing scalar var".
  5. Surfer 7 Scripter treats a variable with a suffix as the same variable without the suffix, and Surfer 6 treats them as different variables.

    Surfer 7 Scripter: 

    DIM a As String
    a = "Text1"
    a$ = "Text2" 
    Debug.Print a$;" ";a
    'Prints "Text2 Text2", a$ = a

    Surfer 6 Scripter:

    DIM a As String
    DIM a$ As String
    a = "Text1"
    a$ = "Text2"
    print a;" ";a$
    'Prints "Text1 Text2", a$ <> a


Updated February 14, 2017

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