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Graphical Command Line

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000099454D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-14
Document File: 2 page(s) / 88K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Jensen, JR: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This article deals with how to specify commands to a "windowed" system. The emphasis will be on using the mouse not only to select from a list of displayed items, but to use it to draw symbols that can be recognized and acted upon, just as though a command had been entered via the keyboard.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Graphical Command Line

       This article deals with how to specify commands to a
"windowed" system.  The emphasis will be on using the mouse not only
to select from a list of displayed items, but to use it to draw
symbols that can be recognized and acted upon, just as though a
command had been entered via the keyboard.

      Windowing systems today rarely use a mouse for anything other
than to choose from a list of available options.  As such, it becomes
a mere point-and-select device, operating on predefined keywords,
boxes, areas, etc.  This present two problems:

      1. The information to be selected must be displayed somewhere
on the current display.  It may be available directly, or a series of
steps may be needed to complete the selection.

      2. Selecting a specific item involves a relatively
time-consuming movement of the mouse to the place where the item is
displayed, including positioning it precisely over the item to be
selected. For a power user especially this can be a source of
annoyance.

      The problem can be overcome by taking advantage of the fact
that the mouse is capable of providing much more sophisticated input.
 Many graphics programs today are evidence of this, as they allow
sophisticated drawings to be generated just by tracking the mouse.
Tracking the mouse over time allows the program to gather up a whole
sequence of points, instead of just a single point.

      This series of points can then be used to form specific
patterns that can be recognized by standard pattern recognition
routines and algorithms. Example of such shapes may be:

      Each of these patterns can be associated with a specific
command.  "Drawing" the command in this fashion will have the same
effect as if it had been invoked by selecting it from a menu, or
typed on a command line.

      The tracking of the command pattern can take place either on
the otherwise unused background surface, or it can be done in a
specially designated area next to the action bar.  The former has the
advantage of making use of otherwise unused space, and is generally
readily available. The latter, on the other hand, has the benefit of
its close proximity to the action bar;...