HP Labs Technical Reports

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Data-Mapped User Interface Architecture for Visual Language Systems

Goyal, Nita; Hoch, Charles; Krishnamurthy, Ravi; Meckler, Brian; Suckow, Michael



Abstract: Visual Language (VL) system development is getting increasingly sophisticated in part due to the arduous nature of user interface (UI) code development. This typically involves idiosyncratic calls to the windowing system that are intertwined with the rest of the logic of the VL system. To achieve an effective separation of the intertwined code, we take our cue from memory-mapped display for character based terminals and use a data-mapped architecture where all entities on the screen are mapped into data in the system. The computation of what is on the screen or changes to it can then be viewed as querying or updating this data, respectively. We propose a declarative language, called HiD++, to implement this architecture that in addition to naturally expressing query and update computations, also address many other software engineering concerns. We have used HiD++ to implement a system for a visual language called Rendering-By-Example (RBE) and report our experiences here. This work has been done in the context of Picture Programming project at HP Labs.

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