Browse Prior Art Database

Dynamic Model-Extracting Table Widget

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010243D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Nov-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2002-Nov-11
Document File: 6 page(s) / 73K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a generic table widget that is able to discover information from a UI model in order to present information to an end user in a fashion that is consistant and specific to that model. If a diverse set of models are derived from some agreed upon common model that consists of object types and one or more relationships, a single table widget of this sort may be used to view the data of any of these models, complete with the appropriate sets of columns for each model. A single instance of this widget may be used to view data from multiple models in one session, as it discovers model information dynamically.

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Dynamic Model-Extracting Table Widget

Table viewers are a common part of most graphical user interfaces. A table viewer is a widget that displays information about some artifacts on a matrix of rows and columns. A typical table is organized in one of the following ways:

1) each row describes information about a single artifact and each column describes some attribute about each of the artifacts.
2) each column describes information about a single artifact and each row describes some attribute about each of the artifacts.

A single attribute of each entity denotes the primary key for the entity. This attribute becomes synonymous with the artifact and therefore can be treated not only as an attribute of an entity but as the entity itself (i.e. the sum of the attributes)

Below each is described using the example of a Process Monitor:
1) Each row describes a different process, each column describes some attribute of a process. The first column indicates the process while the next columns indicate attributes of each process. The primary key for this table (the PID), is displayed in the process column

Process Command CPU Memory ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

123 Netscape %50 10000 456 emacs %10 5000 333 Notes %00 20000

2) Each column describes a different process, each row describes some attribute of a process. The first row indicates the process while the next rows indicate attributes of each process. The primary key for this table (the PID), is displayed in the process row.

Process | 123 456 333 Command | Netscape emacs Notes CPU | %50 %10 %00 Memory | 10000 5000 200000

User interfaces make use of table viewers because of the following properties:

-they provide an easy to view display of sets of entities -they proivde an easy to view display of the attributes of entities -implied mechanisms for sorting by row or column exist (for example, in (1), the user may click on a column header to choose the attribute by which sorting should be done on.

For the purposes of this publication, I'll focus strictly on the first type of table, 1).

The Problem

Given the benefits of tables for displaying properties of virtually any kind of artifact, user interfaces often make use of a lot of different tables. Consider the different attributes that each of the following types of artifacts might have:

Entity: Attributes: ------------------------------------------------------

Car Make

Model

Employee Name

1

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Title Salary

Process Command

CPU Memory

Because each of these entities possess different sets of attributes, tables that describe sets of such entities need to have different columns and need to be able to display different information. So a software developer would implement one table specifically designed to show cars, another for showing employees and yet another to show processes. Each table is designed to have intimate knowledge of how to display some set of entities and...