I-DE: I-X Domain Editor

I-X Home | Work Area


To provide user configurable task and process modelling tools. I-DE is intended as a process and activity domain modelling variant of a more general modelling support tool called I-AKT being developed under the UK EPSRC-funded Advanced Knowledge Technologies project.

Process Editor Design Notes from Austin Tate

I have made a mockup screen image to provide guidance on the various inputs to the I-DE design.

Click for full size 1024x768 screen image

I made this using Steve Polyak's CDE/CPE tool which has a fair amount of what we want in the graphic views. I attached this to Microsoft's XML Notepad editor which provides a nice tree viewer/editor with each entry in the tree having a row aligned in-line attribute value editor.

The screen is split into 5 main areas and has some important aspects of what I think we need....

  1. MENU BAR -- the usual drop-down menu along the top. Individual toolbars will appear with the individual viewers.
  2. TAB CENTRAL -- this is a stylistic element which we have adopted in many of our user interfaces over the last 20 years. We have had a central bar across our TF Workstation, editors, process panels and so on that has provided buttons, tabs and so on to control what is shown in wind panes that are above and below this central tab belt - I suggest the name "tab central", "central belt", "control belt" or "control centre" for this. Any preferences? We might not only use tabs here. Radio buttons might work better for some selection functions, and buttons to launch other undocked or undockable panels might be added. In general any window pane ought to be undockable to allow for multi-screen working in future.
  3. HOME VIEW -- There is a "home view" in the top left. I consider an anchor or home view important, as we will use many tools and techniques and views, most of which will only provide partial views of the whole emerging model. For this home view it seems to me important that its a pretty complete - even if very simple - view. So it might also be rteferred to as "full view". You should always have the feeling you are seeing the whole model as it emerges. It shpould feel as if all other views are looking at or updating this home view and that the current model is defined vy this view. Load and save of views, as well as import and export of the model should feel as if they work on this home view for clarity. Many of the others tools and viewers will only show specialised aspects or partial views of the emerging model. For this home view I chose a tree view of the complete domain model - which would have MUCH more than just a list of processes in it. It would also contain the global constraints, outstanding modelling issues, and indeed the grammars, lexicons and other information that all are part fo a full domain definition. Added and anchored by row to entries in the table view is an "in-line value editor" which would itself be grammar and lexicon limited suited to the entry to hand.

    Example interfaces that could form a suitable home view may be seen in Microsoft's XML Notepad (shown in the I-DE mockup screen Home View) and XML Spy's Nested Grid View (shown below).

  4. GRAPHICS VIEW -- To the top right is where I would place any graphical views. Of course the interface should eventually allow this to be pulled anywhere, or indeed to be turned off completely - as should be the case for any of the various viewers.
  5. WORK AREA -- To the bottom would be a "work area" where I would choose to place tools such as a form orientated way to full in details of the model - which could itself by driven from the grammar and lexicon suited to the currently selected entity in the home view. I would allow a whole host of tools to share this work area. This would include assistants to check on te model and raise modelling issues to be addresses. An Issue handler or conflict resolving assistant. Tools to amend any Grammar or Lexicon and to check the impact on the model of any such change - again raising modelling issues if there are problems in the change. Tools to provide object (Activity-Relatable Object - ARO) views and an ability to create and maintain the object class-sub-class-instance model associated with the process model and i turn its links to the relevant lexicons and their links to the grammars would be provided here too.

Some other aspects of the editor design are noted here:

Planning & Activity Management | I-X
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