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Method of Accurately Reflecting State of a Remotely Controlled Entity in a Java GUI Application using Java Buttons

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013618D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18
Document File: 2 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for an application to provide "smart" graphical user interface (GUI) controls. Some typical controls are push buttons, checkboxes, and radio buttons. The push "button" is the control chosen that best illustrates the examples in this disclosure. In a GUI application that deals with remote resources, buttons are commonly used to perform actions on resources. A resource could be anything from a remote application server to a database. An action is a command to the resource like start, connect, or stop. This disclosure provides a technique to prevent a user from pressing a button whose action would fail. The uniqueness of this technique, is that it is dynamic ,and is based on the ability of the command to succeed

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  Method of Accurately Reflecting State of a Remotely Controlled Entity in a Java GUI Application using Java Buttons

Disclosed is a method for an application to provide "smart" graphical user interface (GUI) controls. Some typical controls are push buttons, checkboxes, and radio buttons. The push "button" is the control chosen that best illustrates the examples in this disclosure. In a GUI application that deals with remote resources, buttons are commonly used to perform actions on resources. A resource could be anything from a remote application server to a database. An action is a command to the resource like start, connect, or stop. This disclosure provides a technique to prevent a user from pressing a button whose action would fail. The uniqueness of this technique, is that it is dynamic ,and is based on the ability of the command to succeed
(e.g. remote resource accessibility). The dynamic aspect means that the determination is made when the resource undergoes a change in status, without the user performing an action on the GUI.

Button enablement is a common usability technique. With this technique, if a button has been pressed and should not be pressed again, it is disabled or greyed out so that the user cannot press it. Likewise, only buttons that are enabled or not greyed out can be pressed. Button enablement is also referred to as changing the state of the button. Button enablement prevents the user from attempting an action that is invalid, like starting something that is already started.
(See Figures 1 & 2 below.)

Currently a defined status message area on a GUI is the most typical way to indicate what is happening with a remote resource, but it has drawbacks. It is often ignored by the user until something goes wrong, and does nothing to prevent the user from performing an invalid action on the resource via the GUI controls. Button enablement is a proven usability technique in the industry. It prevents the user from performing an invalid action. This disclosure enhances this technique by adding the enhancement of a "smart" GUI control (e.g. button) that is aware of the status of the resource it controls.

Consider the example of a GUI application with a button to "connect" to a database. A direct user action on the button causes the connection to be made. Traditional application behavior is such: the direct action of pressing the "connect" button and success of the operation, cause the "connect" button to be disabled or greyed out. This prevent...