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Drag-Drop Technique for Connecting Source and Target Objects in an Application Builder Environment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000105568D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-20
Document File: 2 page(s) / 99K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Li, SG: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Disclosed is a direct manipulation technique for defining a connection between the source and target objects for an action in an application builder environment. When an application builder is used for developing an end user application, it is usually the designer's responsibility to connect the source object to a target object for defining an action. For example, when a scroll bar is moved, an associated document will be scrolled. In this "move" action, the scroll bar is the source object and the document is the target object. The scroll bar object's "mouse down move" method will trigger the document object's "display" method according to the amount of scrolling performed in the source object. Most traditional application builder environments take the menu fill-in approach to accomplishing this task.

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Drag-Drop Technique for Connecting Source and Target Objects in an Application Builder Environment

      Disclosed is a direct manipulation technique for defining a
connection between the source and target objects for an action in an
application builder environment.  When an application builder is used
for developing an end user application, it is usually the designer's
responsibility to connect the source object to a target object for
defining an action.  For example, when a scroll bar is moved, an
associated document will be scrolled.  In this "move" action, the
scroll bar is the source object and the document is the target
object.  The scroll bar object's "mouse down move" method will
trigger the document object's "display" method according to the
amount of scrolling performed in the source object.  Most traditional
application builder environments take the menu fill-in approach to
accomplishing this task.  Using this approach, the user is required
to fill in the entry field for the source object, source object
method, target object and target object method respectively to define
the connection.  As each object has a default system name, this task
is possible but may not be pleasant or easy due to the large number
of objects and methods in a complex application.  It is more
desirable to exploit the visual display of objects to define the
connection, instead of going through a long list for objects and
methods.

      Assuming the direct manipulation techniques are available in an
application builder environment, the user may use the mouse pointer
to make or break a connection between the source and target objects.

In a logical approach, there are two modes in an application builder
environment:

1.    The design mode that allows the user to define new objects,
    methods, and connections for an application under

2.    The run mode that executes the application with complete or
    partial design.

      Usually, the design mode and run mode can be distinguished
visually by using a combination of different cursor shapes, different
background colors, and different border lines.  The same direct
manipulation techniques usually should have different semantics in
different modes.  For example, a drag-drop technique in executing an
application usually means a kind of "link", such as establishing a
connection between objects by an action, defining a relationship
between objects by their common attributes, etc.  There are many
typical examples, such as copying by dragging an object and dropping
on another object, deleting by dragging an object and dropping a
shredder, printing by dragging an object and dropping on the printer
object, etc.  When the same drag-drop technique is used in the design
mode for connecting the source and target objects for an acti...