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Clipboard Mechanism for Exchanging Attributes

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000116552D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-30
Document File: 2 page(s) / 82K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hirose, S: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is a mechanism for exchanging attributes independently between applications. Clipboards are widely used for exchanging data such as texts and drawings between applications. Data in a clipboard can have attributes. For example, a text data copied from a word application consists of a plain text and attributes for color, typeface, size, etc. However, since such data is transferred as a unity, it is not possible to make the color of a paragraph the same as that of a drawing in a figure through a clipboard. Instead, the user must remember the name of the color, or the cursor position in the color palette, and then change the color of the target manually by reproducing the representation of the desired color.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 53% of the total text.

Clipboard Mechanism for Exchanging Attributes

      Disclosed is a mechanism for exchanging attributes
independently between applications.  Clipboards are widely used for
exchanging data such as texts and drawings between applications.
Data in a clipboard can have attributes.  For example, a text data
copied from a word application consists of a plain text and
attributes for color, typeface, size, etc.  However, since such data
is transferred as a unity, it is not possible to make the color of a
paragraph the same as that of a drawing in a figure through a
clipboard.  Instead, the user must remember the name of the color, or
the cursor position in the color palette, and then change the color
of the target manually by reproducing the representation of the
desired color.

      Another characteristic of exchanging attributes is that they
can be bundled to form an attribute set.  That is, an attribute is
compatible to another as long as their names are different.  For
example, in a drawing application, when the user wants to change the
color of several rectangles to that of a circle and their
fill-pattern to that of a triangle, it would be natural that the user
first picks up the color attribute, and then combines the
fill-pattern attribute with the color, and finally apply the bundled
attributes to the target objects.  Therefore, it is preferable that
attributes can be accumulated to an attribute clipboard, though data
in a conventional clipboard is not combined but replaced with new
one.

      In order to realize attribute exchanging operations as above,
the following three components are required:
  o  Attribute clipboard (simply "Clipboard" hereinafter)
  o  Attribute export mechanism ("Exporter")
  o  Attribute import mechanism ("Importer") "Clipboards" are
provided
      by operating systems.

      "Exporters" and "Importers" belong to application programs.
But, their main functions can be provided as a shared library by the
system.

      "Clipboard" memorizes pairs of attribute name and its value.
Accumulative nature of "Clipboard" enables the user to add an
attribute-value pair without removing existing pairs as long as the
new attribute does not have the same name.  Even in such a case, only
conflicting pairs are overwritten.  "Clipboard" can also forget one
or more pairs by request.

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