Browse Prior Art Database

Dynamically Joining Separate Windows Together on a Graphical User Interface

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000114791D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-29
Document File: 4 page(s) / 145K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Beaudet, PJ: AUTHOR

Abstract

A means for dynamically joining separate windows together in a user interface is disclosed. This solution allows windows from totally unrelated applications to be joined together and treated as a group for the purposes of such things as moving, resizing and minimizing.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 41% of the total text.

Dynamically Joining Separate Windows Together on a Graphical User
Interface

      A means for dynamically joining separate windows together in a
user interface is disclosed.  This solution allows windows from
totally
unrelated applications to be joined together and treated as a group
for
the purposes of such things as moving, resizing and minimizing.

      In this solution, two or more windows are joined on the outer
edges of their frames.  Once joined together, these windows can be
moved, resized, shown, minimized, and maximized as a single unit;
windows can also be removed from the group, if desired.  In general,
alternative ways to join two or more windows for the purpose of
treating
them as a group would be considered a natural extension of this
disclosure.

      Joining Windows Together - For the purpose of this discussion,
consider a graphical user interface with two windows, one which
displays
a graph and the other a list.  The graph window is an organization
chart
of a company with each employee's name as a node in the graph showing
the
chain of responsibility.  The list window contains the same set of
employee names, but shows additional details for each person, such as
their position, department, and manager (Fig. 1).

      Before any two or more windows can be treated as a group of
windows, they must first be joined together.  To join the
organizational
chart and employee list together, the organizational target (the
source
window) is moved toward the employee list (the target window) until
their
window frames touch.  At this point, a mechanism for joining windows
is
activated and the two windows are joined together by their frames
(Fig. 2).  The detail of one possible joining mechanism is described
further on.

      Joining two or more windows implies that certain window
functions are now shared by all windows in the group.  A few examples
of shared window function are listed below:
  o  Moving a window in the group causes all windows in the group to
      move simultaneously as single unit.
  o  Resizing a window on an edge that is shared by other windows may
      cause those windows to be also resized.  However, resizing a
      window on an edge that is not shared by another window will not
      affect other windows in the group.
  o  Minimizing a window in a group causes all windows in the group
to
      be minimized.  Each minimized window in the group is reduced to
      their own individual icon (there is group minimize icon).
  o  Showing a hidden window in a group causes all other windows in
      the group to be shown as well.
  o  Maximizing a window in a group causes all other windows in the
      group to be maximized as well.

      Mechanism for Joining and Releasing Windows - There are many
different ways to implement a mechanism to join two or more windows
together, or to release windows from a group.  For example, a numbe...