donderdag 6 augustus 2009

Progress with Relation Calculator

The relation calculator tool that I introduced in my last blog, is shaping up nicely. Sure, it is not all smooth sailing, but it is really starting to look like something that could be very useful indeed. Let's use a screenshot of the current version to illustrate where things are heading:

What do you see?
The main thing you'll notice is the area on the right, where you see boxes that are connected by lines. Each one of these boxes represents one simple step in the process of doing an analysis. In this case: calculating a Jaccard coefficient based on a co-word/cited reference combinations between journal papers. A nice, basic selection of such basic steps - components in the terminology of the application - is already there, though not fully implemented yet. The list of components can be extended later on using plugins. The available components are visible in the list on the top left.

Each of the components have inputs on their left and/or outputs on their right. Outputs can be connected to one or more inputs for other components, thus creating a graph. Note that no circular connections are allowed. The user can use drag & drop to put components on the screen, and to connect inputs and outputs together.

So, how do these separate components become an analysis?
On the bottom left of the screen, you can see the Execution order window. Here you can see the order in which the components will be executed. This is determined by their connections, the question if they present an interface at run time, and their positions on the screen. You can open and save analysis sequences for reuse and distribution.

Once you have hooked up every component in the right order, you can run it. You will be presented with a wizard-type interface that guides you through the UI elements that each of the components presents (if any), and that present information about the progress of your analysis if there are long run times involved.

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