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Improved User Interface to an Expandable Containment System (ECS)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014751D
Original Publication Date: 2001-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 51K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a technique called an Expandable Containment System (ECS) that can represent a variable number of documents that are related to each other as one single "logical document". A parent/child hierarchy is set up for the logical document where the parent document contains the children documents. The logical document behaves like an ordinary document when it comes to document functions such as saving and printing.

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Improved User Interface to an Expandable Containment System (ECS)

Disclosed is a technique called an Expandable Containment System (ECS) that can represent a variable number of documents that are related to each other as one single "logical document". A parent/child hierarchy is set up for the logical document where the parent document contains the children documents. The logical document behaves like an ordinary document when it comes to document functions such as saving and printing.

A logical document is made up of one or more documents in a database. Each document in the logical document can have its own type. In other words, the documents contained by the parent can be of different form type (or design). Additionally, there can be more than one instance of a given form type in a logical document. Tying these two characteristics together, an Incident Report (the parent) can contain one or more Witness documents (children of type Witness), one or more Vehicle documents (children of type Vehicle), and so on. The logical document is made up of a variable number of documents as well as a dynamic number of document types. The following figure shows an example of a logical document with three different children form types.

Logical Document

 Parent Document

FormType A

1

FormType A

2

FormType C

1

FormType B

1

FormType B

2

FormType B

3

Figure

The original ECS has a few limitations and drawbacks. The first issue is that for every child

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type in a logical document, a separate control or viewport on the parent is required. This viewport is the user's means of accessing the current part of the logical document. The viewport allows the user to read, edit, create, delete or remove children documents for that ECS section. For instance, if a user is in the Witness section of the parent document, the ECS viewport would display the appropriate Witness (children) documents.

The user could view or edit any documents currently contained as well as create a new Witness document which would become a part of the logical document. In order to create a Victim document, the user would have to switch to the Vitcim 'section', loading a different viewport. The userwould now be able to create a Victim document, however unable to see any of the witness documents. The need for many children types ( > 15) for a single parent is quite common. This would mean the parent document would have a separate viewport for each child type which takes up memory, disk space and impacts performance.

Another drawback to the original ECS was the lack of filtering on the viewport. When in the Witness section, a user will see all the Witness children documents. In reality, perhaps the user only wants to see all male witnesses or those witnesses under the age of 18. Applying a filter to the complete set of children documents allows the user more flexibility in what they are viewing or searching. The current ECS do...