Browse Prior Art Database

Problem Child Indication in a Graphical User Interface

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000118146D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 83K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Alimpich, CC: AUTHOR [+7]

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for displaying a "problem child" indication on a parent object in a Graphical User Interface (GUI). Typically, a GUI that presents a large number of objects will be designed so that the objects are grouped, possibly in a hierarchy. The problem child indication provides a means of alerting the user to the existence of a problem with a child object that may not currently be shown in the window.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Problem Child Indication in a Graphical User Interface

      Disclosed is a method for displaying a "problem child"
indication on a parent object in a Graphical User Interface (GUI).
Typically, a GUI that presents a large number of objects will be
designed so that the objects are grouped, possibly in a hierarchy.
The problem child indication provides a means of alerting the user to
the existence of a problem with a child object that may not currently
be shown in the window.

      Objects that are shown in a graphical user interface may have a
parent-child relationship with other objects in the interface.  A
"child" object that represents a device on a network may at times
have an "abnormal" state.  This state is shown at the child object as
a problem;  the parent object (and any other "ancestors" in the
hierarchy) is shown  as having a "problem child".  In this way, the
user who is observing only the higher levels in the hierarchy is made
aware of the existence of  problems at other levels in the hierarchy
and is provided with a path by which to locate the object that is in
an abnormal state.

      Various visual cues can be used to represent abnormal states
and problem child states.  For example, the icon for an object in a
problem state may have a different shape or color than the icon for
an object that is operating normally.  The icon for an object that
has a "problem child" may have a third shape or color to identify its
state.

      When an object makes a transition from a normal state to an
abnormal state, the object notifies its parent that it has a "problem
child".  The icon for the parent object provides a visual cue to the
user that a problem child exists.  If a previous problem child
existed under the same parent then no visual change is made.

      If an object returns to the normal state, it notifies its
parent object that the child is no longer a problem child.  The
parent object then queries all of its other children to see if any
other problem children exist.  If there are no problem children for
that parent, the problem child visual cue is removed from the icon
for the parent object.

      An example of a hierarchical representation of objects in a GUI
is one that shows a print spooler that contains print queues.  Each
queue is associated with one or more printers.  The diagram shows the
described hierarchy.  The spooler is the parent of the queues; the
queues are parents of the printers.  Not all of these objects are
necessarily shown in the same windo...