Browse Prior Art Database

Adjustable Multi-Column Listbox

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000111433D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-26
Document File: 6 page(s) / 218K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Tuckey-Smith, AT: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is a solution to the conflict of graphical users needing to display large quantities of tabular data on the limited area of a VDU screen. A new Graphical Users Interface (GUI) gives the user easy control of order and width of columns. The needs of both designer and user are satisfied without compromising either. Designers provide all the data that any user may wish. The user elects to have visible only data in which he is particularly interested, and he then formats that data exactly as he wishes.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 48% of the total text.

Adjustable Multi-Column Listbox

      Disclosed is a solution to the conflict of graphical users
needing to display large quantities of tabular data on the limited
area of a VDU screen.  A new Graphical Users Interface (GUI) gives
the user easy control of order and width of columns.  The needs of
both designer and user are satisfied without compromising either.
Designers provide all the data that any user may wish.  The user
elects to have visible only data in which he is particularly
interested, and he then formats that data exactly as he wishes.

      Within a single window of one application there is frequently a
need to display more information than will comfortably fit.  Where a
particular application design is aimed at a wide range of users, the
application designer is often forced to adopt a compromise design,
cramming a lot of data into a small space so that there is a little
of what every user wants, and a lot of what they don't.  The
Adjustable Multi-Column Listbox solves this problem by allowing the
designer to provide the fullest possible range of data, but allowing
the user to select which data are displayed, and their format, to
suit the particular occasion.  The Adjustable Multi-Column Listbox
software which implements this new GUI is referred to as the
'control' in this article.

The control consists of the following components identified in Fig.
1.

1.  A dynamic heading

2.  A "column include" icon

3.  A listbox with vertical and horizontal scrollbars

4.  A drop-down list of column headings, displayed when the "column
    include" icon is clicked with the left mouse button.  (Fig. 5,
    for example).

Note:     In all figures the control is shown being used as part of
          a simple "Problem Log" application.

The user can control the display format by:

o   Changing the order of columns

o   Changing the width of columns

o   Excluding columns or including previously excluded columns

o   Scrolling

      Each of these methods of controlling the display format will
now be explained in detail.

      Columns can be moved around by using the mouse to drag a column
heading to a new position within the dynamic heading.  Pressing and
holding mouse button 1 causes a "tracking rectangle" to appear around
the selected column heading (status in Fig. 1).  Dragging the
rectangle to a new position and releasing the mouse button causes the
listbox to be redrawn to match the new heading sequence (Figs. 2 and
3).  The "critical point" in dragging is the left boundary of the
tracking rectangle.  When this crosses the boundary of a column
heading on either side, then the fields are swapped.  This feature
means that if the user changes his mind after starting to drag, he
can return the left boundary of the tracking rectangle to any point
within the original column to "cancel" the move.

      Columns can also be moved by dragging column headings within
the drop-down list of column...