Browse Prior Art Database

Assisted drag-n-drop operation in a model

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000022261D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Mar-03
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Mar-03
Document File: 2 page(s) / 70K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A presentation method is disclosed that allows the user of a visual modeling tool to create a new model element with its associated information in a single operation. With this method, (1) a drag-n-drop operation from a toolbox into a diagram for creating a basic model element and (2) a dialog for specifying the element's information are combined into a single, integrated operation. This operation makes it easier for the user to add correct and complete information during the creation of a new element in a model.

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Assisted drag-n-drop operation in a model

A visual modeling tool is commonly employed to help people to understand the architecture and organization of a system. At the core of most object-oriented modeling tools, diagrams are extensively used to illustrate what the objects represent, what functions they provide, and how they relate to each other. Several of these tools provide a toolbox that allows the user to add a new object to the diagram by using a drag-n-drop operation. The user usually performs 4 "mini-steps" for this operation: (1) uses the mouse pointer to select an object in the toolbox, then (2) clicks and holds down the mouse button, (3) moves the mouse pointer to "drag" the selected object, and (4) finally releases the mouse button to "drop" it onto the diagram. When the user finishes this operation, the object becomes part of the diagram. This provides a simple user gesture to create a new object on the diagram.

Aside from its shape, an object usually has a set of associated properties which describes its other characteristics. For example, an object may be generally accessible by any object, or only accessible by a certain kind of object. Also, an object may be of a particular stereotype. The drag-n-drop operation described above does not provide an opportunity for the user to specify the properties for the object to be created. Thus, at the end of the drag-n-drop operation, the object is created, but its properties are still NOT properly specified. In order to complete the whole creation process of an object, the user will need to take another step (or steps), through a separate sequence of operation(s), to specify all the related properties for the object. If the user forgets the extra step(s), the object would not have all the necessary settings. That would lead to a model with incorrect, incomplete information, and if the model is used for further processing, it would likely to generate incomplete or even erroneous results.

The disclosed method is basically an extension to the drag-n-drop operation described above. It adds another mini-step to the sequence of mini-steps during the drag-n-drop operation to help the user specify the properties for the object to be created. Upon the mini-step when the mouse button is released to "drop" the o...