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Browse Prior Art Database

Automatic Report Generation by Hypertext Systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000116721D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-31
Document File: 4 page(s) / 159K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Freeman, C: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Hypertext can be used to guide an operator in the handling of a problem (e.g., diagnosing a faulty piece of equipment). The implementation described below extends the use of hypertext by allowing data to be solicited from the operator and incorporated in an automatically generated problem report.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 34% of the total text.

Automatic Report Generation by Hypertext Systems

      Hypertext can be used to guide an operator in the handling of a
problem (e.g., diagnosing a faulty piece of equipment).  The
implementation described below extends the use of hypertext by
allowing data to be solicited from the operator and incorporated in
an automatically generated problem report.

      This extension can be achieved with any hypertext system having
the following features:
  o  Program links may be defined which, when activated, communicate
      with an external program.
  o  An external program may direct the system to display a
particular
      panel.
  o  The hypertext panels are defined by a scripting or tag language
      (like GML).

      An example is the Information Presentation Facility shipped as
part of OS/2*.

      A procedure language is required which is able to issue
functions and commands written in a high level language.  An example
is the SAA procedure language, REXX.

      The improved implementation ties together a hypertext system
with a set of user-defined data structures.  As the operator
progresses through the hypertext system, the data structure defining
a report is automatically filled in.  This is done by user-defined
actions, written in a procedures language (such as REXX), extended by
a powerful set of additional commands to manipulate the report and
the hypertext system.  It is this combination of a hypertext system,
data structures to build a report, all linked through an extended
procedures language, that is unique.

      The three necessary components of the system are shown in the
diagram below:  the preparation phase, the process functions, and the
user interface.  The subsequent sections describe the subsystems in
more detail.

Document preparation - The hypertext script is written in the usual
way, except that:
  o  All links are defined as program links, for example, in IPF:
              :line reftype=inform res=100.  EMPTY :elink.
  o  "Action blocks" are included in the script, defining the action
      to be taken if this link is invoked.  For example, when the
      operator selects EMPTY we may want to write 'Out of Petrol' in
      the report and display a panel showing nearby garages.  In REXX
      this might be written as:
       action resid=100.
       "FILL probl.desc(2) 'Out of petrol' "
       next_panel = 3
       "PAGE" next_panel
        eaction

      The action blocks are tagged with special action.  and
eaction.  tags which are not recognised by the hypertext system.
They contain statements that form a procedure in the procedure
language.  Commands such as FILL and PAGE are invoked by these
statements to manipulate records and navigate within the hypertext
system.  They are described in detail below.

The edited script is compiled in two steps:
  o  A pre-processor is executed w...