Progress Report 2
For start of April 2020
Parallels: Biochemistry and Code
Master-Detail and Tooltips
The three types of diagram each have the large tooltips, so more information is available from an image than in conventional images and plots. The large tooltips can be thought of as a hybrid between tooltip and master-detail display. They combine the advantage of a tooltip - that they don't get in the way most of the time - with the advantage of master-detail - that the detail has more space and is visually stable in where it appears, making it easier to check on. The 'zones' drop-down also solves one problem of tooltips, that you may not always know what is tooltipped just from looking at a diagram.
Diagrams and Styles
The diagrams are generated from text, editable in wiki, and are becoming more flexible, with more styles for arrows, bars, labels and markers. Work is in progress on unifying the approach so that the styles behave 'the same' on different diagrams.
I've added a Keyword in Context Browser. It speeds navigation through a large number of titles of papers. You click on a word in the KWIC index, and the list sorts itself anew to show titles that have similar word sequence. Details of the papers are in the tip that is to one side.
Currently this index is for biochemistry papers. I also plan to use it to navigate through descriptions of different classes in Audacity. Here's a live demo of it.
Some other changes in the last two months:
- Support for SVG Images, and opacity. A gotcha was that SVG text is not supported.
- Better hyperlinks, easier to use, automatically generatable into templates for tip text.
- Additional styles; Blunt arrows (for inhibition of a step), more metro-like stations on snake diagrams.
- Programmatic modification of a diagram, after loading (used currently to highlight sections).
- Convenience objects - 'Spacer' to help with layout. 'Tile' combines image, text and rectangle.
Lessons / Insights
- The space subdivision approach I'm using is too fragile and too cumbersome for ordinary users. I may reuse the optimiser that places molecule atoms, so that users have a higher level way to specify layout.
- I need more features for including one diagram into another - with modification. Sometimes one wants fine control over a sub image. Sometimes one want only coarse control. That requires 'different interfaces' to the same sub diagram.