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Method of Visualizing Semantic Deltas in Diagrams using Affinity

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000199645D
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-13
Document File: 9 page(s) / 139K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Models contain both semantic data that represents the meaning of the model and notational (diagram) data that represents a visual presentation of the semantic data. For this article, UML models will be presumed, but the method works for all models containing both semantic and visual (notational) information. Compare and merge system system find differences between like elements, which means that semantic elements and notational elements will be compared against different version or generations of the same elements. Semantic elements are part of the structure and meaning of the model and are always displayed as part of a tree structure. Notational elements are a visual window onto the semantic elements and are displayed in diagrams. A semantic element may appear on many diagrams. When a semantic delta is displayed, it is shown in a treeview to match it's usual location. However, it is much more informative to display the semantic delta (e.g. the rename of a class) in situ in one of the diagram windows. This article documents a method by which deltas can have diagram affinity and thus show the deltas in the best possible representation for informed decision making during a merge.

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Disclosed is a process for displaying a semantic delta (for example, a rename of a class) in situ in one of the diagram windows. The disclosed process provides a capability by which deltas can have diagram affinity and thus show the deltas in a best possible representation for informed decision making during a merge operation. Embodiments of the disclosed process include exemplary algorithms typically providing a significant improvement in the usability of a compare editor for models. A majority of changes can be visualized on diagrams by default. Use of the disclosed process is provided as a user option, controlled by a preference. Typical forms of model compare representations can be supported including Eclipse modeling framework (EMF),1 Meta-Object Facility (MOF)2, Graphic Modeling Framework (GMF)3, Unified Modeling Language (UML®)4, extensible markup language (XML)5, XML Metadata Interchange (XMI®)6, and Resource Description Framework (RDF)7. The disclosed process is meta-model independent and therefore capable of supporting typical semantic and notational meta- models.

Models contain both semantic data representing the meaning of the model and notational (diagram) data representing a visual representation of the semantic data. In examples of the disclosed process UML models will be presumed, but the disclosed process functions using other models containing both semantic and visual (notational) information. Compare and merge systems find differences between like elements, so that semantic elements and notational elements will be compared against different versions or generations of the same elements. Semantic elements are part of the structure and meaning of the model and are typically displayed as part of a tree structure. Notational elements are a visual window on the semantic elements and are displayed in diagrams. A semantic element may appear on many diagrams. When a semantic delta is displayed, the semantic delta is shown in a tree view to match the usual location of the semantic delta. However, displaying the semantic delta (for example, the rename of a class) in situ in one of the diagram windows may be more informative. The disclosed process describes a method by which deltas can have diagram affinity and thus show deltas in a best possible representation for informed decision-making during a merge operation.

Semantic data includes such elements as classes, actors, use cases, relationships like generalization and interface realization, and so on. Notational data may include such elements as nodes and edges, with properties like line color, font, font color and location (x and y coordinates on a diagram surface.)

1 Eclipse is a trademark of Eclipse Foundation, Inc.

2 MOF is a trademark of Object Management Group, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

Available from the Object Management Group, Inc. at www.omg.org/mof

3 Available from Eclipse Foundation, Inc.

4 UML is a registered trademark of Obj...