Flow charts

Tim tim11 at bellatlantic.net
Thu Jul 25 16:45:01 EDT 2002


On 7/25/02 6:42 AM, "Richard Gaskin" <ambassador at fourthworld.com> wrote:

> Tim writes:
> 
>>>> Does anyone know of any stacks, tutorials for creating dynamic flow charts
>>>> in Hyper, Super, Meta-Card or Rev? Any info would be much appreciated.
>>> 
>>> I don't have any examples that can be readily shared (mostly client stuff),
>>> but I've buil a few flowchart and concept map tools, so I might be able to
>>> provide some pointers on what I've learned.
>>> 
>>> What sort of flowcharting are you looking to facilitate?
>>> 
>>> And by "dynamic", do you mean simpky having connecting lines move as boxes
>>> are dragged, or are you looking at something deeper like having those boxes
>>> represent process elements in an active system model?
>> 
>> I'm thinking of building an engine that would take a nested text outline
>> (delimited by returns and tabs) and create a visual flow chart which would
>> be text fields connected by vector lines. I know there's a program called
>> Inspiration that can already do that, but I only need some functionality it
>> has not all of it. The trickiest part is making sure that no items overlap
>> one another.  If you have any ideas, I would be very thankful.
> 
> Most of it is just parsing the text and creating objects.  The tricky part
> is creating a link between boxes.  There may be a faster method, but I
> usually just store the IDs of the objects being linked in a custom propery
> of the line object I use for the link.  Then I trap the moveControl message
> which triggers a handler that walks through each of the line graphics, gets
> those IDs, and sets the points of the lines to the points of the node
> objects (I tend to use buttons so  can have either text, graphis, or both in
> nodes without having to alter code).
> 
> If nature of your user's interactions allow it, using the pointer tool in
> your flowchart window will save you a lot of code over mocking up
> pointer-tool-like behaviors with the browse tool.
> 
> If you use the pointer tool and you want to prevent the user from being ble
> to select line graphics, remember that you can set the cantSelect of any
> object to true and it will not be selectable by the pointer tool.
> 
> Hope that helps at least get you started...

That's very interesting, but I'm not sure I understand moveControl message
part. Also, I gather that you're describing a situation where the user
actually moves objects. My intention is simpler: nothing would be up to the
user. The flow chart would be created based on the text hierarchy. This
would be like a geneological tree. As I said earlier the real challenge for
me would be to have it smart enough not to overlap buttons/text fields over
one another.

Thanks again,
-- 
Tim




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