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Contextual selection and highlighting in a data modelling application. Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016590D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jul-01
Document File: 4 page(s) / 45K

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A program is disclosed that manages graphical user interface highlighting of an object selected from a network of model objects where there are two or more views of the model that provide different perspectives of that model.

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Contextual selection and highlighting in a data modelling application.

       Some graphical user interface (GUI) applications display different representations of the same underlying data model. For example, a database configuration application may show a tree view and a graphic view of a set of objects with which the user is working. When the user selects a representation of one of the model objects in the GUI that representation is highlighted. However, to avoid confusing the user, if there is a second representation of the model object on the screen that representation should also be highlighted. Many GUI applications do not highlight the second representation which can lead to confusion in the user's mind about whether the two representations are indeed representing the same underlying model object.

     For example, in a typical tool, shown in Figure 1 below, the main application window is split into two parts: an object tree view of the model objects (on the left) and a graphical view of the same objects (on the right). As is typical with these types of applications the selected object, E1, is highlighted in the graphical view but is not highlighted in the tree view. In addition, if the representation of E1 in the tree is selected it becomes highlighted but the representation of the object in the graphical view has its highlighting removed. Consequently, it is not clear to the user that the two representations of E1 are in fact representations of the same underlying object.

Figure 1. A typical Database Configuration Application

     Furthermore, some data models have the notion that an object can be shared by two parts of the data model hierarchy. For example, consider the hierarchy shown in figure 2.

Database Configuration Application

File Edit View Help


Schema 1



E3 E2



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Schemas Folder

- Schema 1

     - E1 - E2 - E3 - Schema 2

- E1 - E4

Figure 2. Example of the same object shared by different 'parents'

     In this example the entity E1 is shared by two separate schema 'parents' even though E1 is the same underlying object. In some instances the application may not want to highlight the second instance when the first instance is selected and vice versa. For example, if the application offers an option to the user to remove an entity from a schema the user may want to remove E1 from Schema 1 but leave E1 as part of Schema 2. Consequently, such a system needs to deal with the concept of contextual selection where it is not simply the object that is selected but the object and its context.

     The program disclosed solves these problems by combining two well known techniques: the use of a se...