Browse Prior Art Database

First Display Only Refresh on Wizard Pages

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014341D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Document File: 3 page(s) / 59K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Wizards are widely used software programs that simplify the completion of a task, usually a technical task such as installing and configuring a new program, configuring a hardware device, or configuring a computer to connect to a network. A wizard consists of a series of panels that display information to the user and prompt the user for input to complete the designated task. A wizard will typically contain "Next" and "Back" buttons that allow the user to navigate forward to the next panel or back to previously displayed panel.

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First Display Only Refresh on Wizard Pages

Wizards are widely used software programs that simplify the completion of a task, usually a technical task such as installing and configuring a new program, configuring a hardware device, or configuring a computer to connect to a network. A wizard consists of a series of panels that display information to the user and prompt the user for input to complete the designated task. A wizard will typically contain "Next" and "Back" buttons that allow the user to navigate forward to the next panel or back to previously displayed panel.

By placing default values in certain fields, a wizard can reduce the amount of typing required by the user while still allowing them the flexibility to replace the default value. Once the page is displayed, the user has the opportunity to type over any default values and thus, if the user goes back to a previous panel and then forward to this panel again, the defaults should not be set into the fields again as they may over write changes the user has made.

The invention described in this disclosure uses a hashtable to keep track of what pages have been displayed already. If a page has already been displayed, it will not be automatically refreshed with defaults if it is displayed again. If the page has not been displayed yet, it will be refreshed with default values just prior to being shown.

In order to assure that data that a user enters is not replaced with default values that the user had previously changed, we maintain a hashtable of wizard panels that have been displayed. A hashtable is a standard programming mechanism used in any programming language that allows collections of like objects to be stored and quickly retrieved using a key value. In my implementation I use each page's index in the wizard as the key for that page. For example, the first panel in the wizard would have a key of 0, the second a key of 1, the third a key of 2 and the "n"th a key of n -1.

The order that the panels are displayed can differ depending on selections the user makes on individual panels. For example, one panel may ask the user if they want to install a specific software feature. If the user answers yes, the next panel may ask what directory to install the feature in. If the user answers no, the next panel might ask about a completely different feature. In our application development environment the code that determines which panel should be displayed next is called the "Wizard State Machine". In particular the method "getNextPage" is where this decision is made. This method is passed the index of the panel that was just displayed and uses data that the user has entered in previous panels to determine what panel should be displayed next and returns that panels index.

In my implementation of the method "getNextPage", just prior to returning the index of the next panel (or page) to be displayed, I check the hashtable to see if an entry with the key of the next panel to display...