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A Dynamic Tree GUI Element for Internet/Intranet Web Applications in Multi-User Environments Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015119D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Sep-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 2 page(s) / 51K

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  A Dynamic Tree GUI Element for Internet/Intranet Web Applications in Multi-User Environments


The tree metaphor is a very common way of showing a user large amounts of data using a parent-child relationship. This metaphor is quite simple, and works well for static data in multi-user systems, as well as for dynamic data in single-user systems. In the static data example, the information in the tree is either never updated , or is infrequently updated, and therefore, users are always presented with the most current information. Static data trees also require very few queries (or even no queries) back to the database to refresh. In the dynamic environment for a single user, that user's data is always current since updates are typically made by that user.

There is a problem, however, in a multi-user system where all users are allowed to update the data in the tree. If the system is designed to keep every user's view of data current, very frequent updates must occur to refresh the tree properly. The simple solution is to refresh the tree periodically, or at least whenever the user manipulates the tree. With very large trees however, this query process can be prohibitive. This problem is magnified when using a bandwidth sensitive system, such as a web-based application.


Our solution to the problem allows a user to see his or her current path through the tree as well as what is on the current level of the tree. This allows the user to manipulate the current level of the tree and navigate to any other level of the tree easily. It also minimizes refresh queries that need to be done, since relatively few items in the tree can be seen at one time.

2. How does the invention solve the problem or achieve an advantage,(a description of "the invention", including figures inline as appropriate)?

Fig 1. Static Tree Example, from MS Explorer

Fig 2. Dynamic Tree Example, second level open

Fig 3. Dynamic Tree Example, third level open

The solution we designed and implemented allows us to use a similar metaphor to a static tree view, but the tree also overcomes some of the problems a continually updating tree causes in a multi-user web-based environment. The basic concept is to allow a user to only see his or her current path through the tree, as well as all items on the current level of the tree. This design allows the user to traverse to any level of the tree at any time, and still retain the most...