Browse Prior Art Database

Panel Hierarchy for System Definition

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000121035D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-03
Document File: 4 page(s) / 137K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Negro, FL: AUTHOR

Abstract

System definition for software operating systems is typically a very complex task. A user deals with a lot of elements, and a lot of data. Not only must the user define physical hardware, such as main units, controllers, and devices, but he must define his communications network (links, physical units (PUs), and logical units (LUs)) as well. A full screen panel interface has been developed to simplify this task. Its main characteristic is that it helps the user to visualize the system while the configuration is being defined or updated.

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Panel Hierarchy for System Definition

      System definition for software operating systems is
typically a very complex task.  A user deals with a lot of elements,
and a lot of data.  Not only must the user define physical hardware,
such as main units, controllers, and devices, but he must define his
communications network (links, physical units (PUs), and logical
units (LUs)) as well.  A full screen panel interface has been
developed to simplify this task.  Its main characteristic is that it
helps the user to visualize the system while the configuration is
being defined or updated.

      Several panel interface prototypes were analyzed for usability.
A graphics prototype was most promising. However, graphics support on
many systems would require special terminals, and would be expensive.
Could the same user friendliness be achieved on a system with word-
based panels as with picture based panels?  The answer is YES because
it was determined that the critical usability factor of a graphics
prototype was not the pictures, but the organization - the ability to
take an aerial snapshot of the system, then zoom in closer and
closer.

      This system view was subdivided into a set of building blocks
arranged in levels:
* Major Functions (e.g., Active vs. Saved Configurations)
 * Attachment Types (e.g., SDLC, Token-Ring, X.25, etc.)
  * Links/Adapters
   * Stations/PUs (e.g., Controllers)
     * Devices/LUs (e.g., Displays, Printers)

      The panels are designed to follow this natural hierarchy.  The
underlying structure for each configurable part of the system is the
same, regardless of what is being configured.

      Each level of building blocks is represented by a list of
elements.  The List panel allows a user to define, delete, or change
an element, or display a list of subordinate elements.

      This approach allows a user to zero in on a particular
configurable element by traversing panels from:
1.   Menu to list panel (Fig. 1)
2.   List panel to Define/Change panel, or a subordinate list (Fig.
2)
3.   Subordinate list panel to Define/Change panel, or another
subordinate list (Fig. 3)
4.   etc.
ADVANTAGES OF THE DESIGN:

      The co...