View Manager – Interactively Customize Any View

The View Manager offers a quick and easy way to interactively adapt every kind of view to your needs in real time – be it graphs, tables, charts or matrices – without writing a line of code for a view template. This article explains how to use the View Manager and how to create reusable view templates with it.

1. Open your data graph in any view type (with the Open View Dialog)

Before you can use the View Manager, you have to open the graph which contains the data you would like to visualize. You can find your data graphs in the Solution Explorer pad –> Graphs. By double-clicking on your graph file, the Open View Dialog window will pop up (see figure 1). Note that in order to use the View Manager, you need to use a view template which is either a default view template or a self-created view template based on a default view template. By means of a default view template, you can quickly create a basic view. With the View Manager you can then fully customize and extend the view as needed.

Grap View Settings in Soley Studio. Choose which types of Nodes and Edges should be displayed in your Graph View.

Figure 1: Open View Dialog window

As an example, we create and customize a graph view. We use the Open View Dialog to create a graph view for our data graph “graph01.slg” that should show all nodes and all edges. The according Open View Dialog settings are shown in figure 1. By clicking the OK button a graph view is created (see figure 2).

Graph Visualization using the Default View Template "Graph"

Figure 2: Graph Visualization using the Default View Template “Graph”

As you can see, the default view template created the first view of our data graph. All view settings, such as the colors and shapes of the graph elements, were predefined by Soley Studio. However, we want to customize them, e.g. by changing the colors and adding a textual description to the nodes (label text). This is where the View Manager comes in.

2. Customize the view with the View Manager and the Properties Pad

While the graph file is open, you can open the View Manager (Tools –> View Manager). By default, this pad is on the right side of the screen. Note that the View Manager is only applicable if you open your graph file with a default view template or a view template you created as described later in this article (see “3. Extract a View Template…”).

View Manager Figure 3: View Manager window

The View Manager window shows all node and edge classes defined in your metamodel. In this window, you can select classes by clicking on the “Node series” or “Edge series”. With the symbols on the right side, you can hide or show the elements of the selected node class in your graph view as well as select all elements of a class and delete them.

 

In order to customized your view, select one or more node or edge classes, whose visualization you want to adapt, by clicking on “Node series” or “Edge series” (some users have reported that they need to click somewhere in the graph first). Now use the Properties Pad on the left side of your window to inspect and edit the view properties of the selected series (see figure 4). To change a view property, such as color, label text, the shape of the node, …, either choose from a drop-down menu, click the “...” button to start the edit property dialog or type in a value.

Properties Pad

Figure 4: Adapting node class properties in the Properties Pad

 

Note that the View Manager is not limited to graph views. You can also define an individual visualization for all kinds of charts in the same way. The visualization will be adapted according to your settings. In our example, the customized view in a hierarchical layout is shown in figure 5.

customized graph view

Figure 5: Example for a customized graph view

As soon as you are happy with the customized view, you can save your graph. If you want to reuse the view definitions for other graph files you can extract a view template (see step 3.).

3. Extract a View Template to save your visualization settings

Extracting a View Template

Figure 6: Extract a View Template

You can extract a view template from any visualization by clicking on the arrow symbol at the top of the View Manager pad. After saving the template under a unique name, you can apply it to other data graphs as long as the meta model is identical. When opening a new data graph in the Soley Studio project, your new template will show up in the Open View Dialog window under “My View Templates”. Just double-click on it to reuse it. You can adapt self-created view templates at any time by changing the view property settings (step 2.) and exporting and overwriting the existing view template file (step 3.).

Further details

If you want to show abstract classes, you can add them to the list by clicking on the “A*” button on top. This can cause unwanted behavior, so only do this if you know what you are doing.

With the View Manager, you can also define whether the nodes should be collapsible or not. To implement this, first, click on the red cross next to a particular node class and afterward redefine by means of the drop-down menu whether the class should be collapsible or not.

 Defining collapsible Nodes with the View Manager

                                                             Figure 7: Defining collapsible Nodes with the View Manager

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