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Multi-Level Defaults in Command Option Selection

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000105026D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 60K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Chen, JN: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Disclosed is a design that enhances the usability of command line interfaces. It presents to users a way to access several levels of default options for a command without having to consult syntactical helps to construct a command line to execute, which not only is syntactically correct but also produces the desired results.

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

Multi-Level Defaults in Command Option Selection

      Disclosed is a design that enhances the usability of command
line interfaces.  It presents to users a way to access several levels
of default options for a command without having to consult
syntactical helps to construct a command line to execute, which not
only is syntactically correct but also produces the desired results.

      Many computer applications are invoked via a command that is
passed multiple options.  Some of these options may be related and
some not.  When many options are offered, it is difficult for a user
to remember which options are related and what the composite effect
will be.  Most commands allow a single level of default values (eg.
if a parameter is not specified, a default is assigned), however, if
the user wishes a non-default combination, then he must specify all
the other dependent parameters.  This problem is especially acute for
new users who are generally unfamiliar with all the command options
and legal combinations for any particular command.

      This problem can also be manifested in graphical user
interfaces that essentially gather many of the user specified options
thru a menu interface and then invoke the low level command.  Many of
these interfaces will allow a combination of parameters that does not
produce a reasonable result to the user, or lead the user thru a
series of error messages without explaining why a particular
combination is illegal.

      The disclosed design greatly reduces this usability problem by
providing the user multiple sets of default options for a command.
Each set of...