GUI widget for displaying alternative representations of data values
Original Publication Date: 2002-Feb-15
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Disclosed is the design for a GUI component which displays an item of data with multiple visual representations. The component maintains a sequence of possible representations of the data. The user selects the component e.g. clicks on the currently visible representation of the data and, in doing so, causes the component to switch to the next representation in the sequence. Applications with GUI front-ends sometimes need to display data which could be rendered using a number of different representations. For example, an integer could be displayed as decimal, as hexadecimal, or as a textual description of the semantic associated with the integer. A temperature could be displayed numerically in Celsius or Farhenheit, or as a description of the temperature. A distance could be displayed in miles or kilometers; a time as a 12- or 24-hour clock etc. Each different display format may be desirable for different circumstances; yet it may be aesthetically displeasing, or impractical, to display each representation side by side. The GUI component which cycles between different values (for example, a Yes/No button which changes its appearance to represent its logical state) is well-known. This disclosure covers the case where a single value has multiple displayable representations; as opposed to the case where multiple values are available to the user. A common solution to this problem is for the application to separate, on the screen, the choice of representation from the displayed data. For example, an application might have a button displayed next to the data which can be used to change the representation. Alternately, the application may have a configuration panel, or drop-down menu, in which the representation can be chosen. Both of these practises are common.