Browse Prior Art Database

System and method of predictive selection assistance in tree viewers

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000144861D
Original Publication Date: 2007-Jan-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2007-Jan-09
Document File: 4 page(s) / 149K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a system that allows the user to navigate tree viewers and locate items of interest based on previous selections in that tree viewer, and based on user interactions with the application. The user has full control over the list containing the items that the tree viewer will present as available previous selections, being able to add items to the list just by selecting them in various places in the application Graphical User Interface (GUI) - for example, selecting a row in a table -, and being able to remove one or all items from the list. The main advantage of the system disclosed is that the user can populate the list with a set of desired items without any visible GUI changes.

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System and method of predictive selection assistance in tree viewers

    This disclosure allows a user to insert items in a list of desired items in dialogs using a Selection Helper Component.

Many software applications are using tree viewers in views or dialogs to allow the user to make a selection. When the selection is done in a dialog, typically it is reflected back in the view from which the dialog was launched.

For example, the user can have a GUI with a table presented in Fig. 1, where one of the columns (Type) requires such a selection in each row:

Figure 1. Name-Type table

The dialog presenting available type selections may have a very large number of nodes, and retrieving the desired one might require expanding many branches, scrolling, etc. When setting the type the first time, presenting an initial selection is of little or no value if it is always set to the first item in the tree, when the tree can contain hundreds of nodes. In addition, there is always the possibility of having items with the same or very similar name in different containers, leading to the possibility of making the selection a difficult process.

However, if the user already made selections in the application, they can be available in a list of "previously used items". This can help to a point, but it is impractical to keep a list with all items that were selected in the dialog. The disclosure is adding to this functionality a component that allows the user to insert in the list desired items, by selecting them in other places where the user can locate them.

A "Selection Helper Component" is introduced to keep track and maintain a lists of desired items for the tree viewer used in the selection dialog. It can be configured to set the list capacity, and to persist the list to have it available in subsequent sessions with the application. The application will have to ensure items are removed from the Selection Helper Component when they are deleted. Since this behavior can be added to existing applications, the Selection Helper Component can collect items on the first startup after retrofitting an application, based on their usage in the application. In the example with the Name-Type table, it will identify the most used types and have their list as the starting point for the Selection Helper in the Type Selection Dialog - presented in Fig. 2.

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Figure 2. A contributing table and a complex tree in type selection dialog

Let's assume that the user has already populated similar tables with name/type pairs. Previous selections are already added to the list in the Selection Helper Component. Knowing that the next types to be used are "Customer" and "Invoice", the user locates them and clicks them in table rows in the application - possibly in different tables.

When the user...