[kepler-dev] Kepler actor icons

Dan Higgins higgins at nceas.ucsb.edu
Wed Jul 13 10:56:18 PDT 2005

Laura (and other Kepler developers/users),

    One slight clarification - the numbers in the icons in the examples 
are the number of times an actor is to be fired, not the iteration 
number, but including both some parameters of this sort and the 
iteration number while running would be good as you mentioned.

    As far as 'for some users the notion of "adding tokens" will have no 
meaning' - Good point; I was the mistake of using a technical term that 
most user wouldn;t initially recognize. [A 'token' is just a block of 
data passed between actors.] But this does bring up a point that has 
been bothering me for awhile. It looks to me like an understanding of 
some computer science concepts are essential to creating new workflows 
in Kepler and deciding which Computational models (Directors) to use. 
['Token' is an example, although we don't have to call it a 'token'.]  
This notion has been enhanced by recent work in trying to create loops 
and iterations and some discussions on kepler-dev. I guess I am just 
expressing a concern that we have a LOT of work to do in trying to make 
Kepler useful to someone wtihout requiring a considerable start up effort.



Laura L. Downey wrote:

> Thanks Dan.  Interesting comments.  I hadn't seen these icons before 
> and they have some of the same characteristics I've been proposing - 
> simple representatations (e.g., sequence to array and array to 
> sequence).  I support the idea of adding the number somewhere if we 
> are talking about a repeating process within an actor.  That would be 
> good feedback to the user when executing the workflow.  Right now the 
> plan is to highlight an actor as it is executing and we could add the 
> number somewhere on the actor if we have a repeating process happening 
> within that actor and the user could see the "counting up or down" 
> happening etc.
> Just a comment though, for some users the notion of "adding tokens" 
> will have no meaning.  That is a computer science perspective not 
> necessarily an ecologist or biologist perspective.  However, the 
> simple act of just having numbers iterate over a repeating process 
> will let a user know that things are happening and that is good 
> feedback as I mentioned before.
> As to a parameter being embedded within an actor, my comment there is 
> that we would somehow need to communicate that it is a parameter (and 
> not an iteration of a repeating process).  We could maybe do this by 
> parameters always being in the bottom left hand corner and iterations 
> being in the bottom right hand corner etc.  Of course this only deals 
> with the notion of one parameter - if an actor has more than one 
> parameter, say 5 or so then that would be a problem displaying all the 
> parameters on an actor because we would run out of room.
> p.s. I'll be publishing the final proposed visual re-design most 
> likely within the next month or so incorporating feedback from our 
> last meeting.  Basically I'm going to go with the set we have (about 
> 25 of so) with the option that people can add their own icons using 
> the proposed color (teal and white) of the actors.
> Laura L. Downey
> Senior Usability Engineer
> LTER Network Office
> Department of Biology, MSC03 2020
> 1 University of New Mexico
> Albuquerque, NM  87131-0001
> 505.277.3157 phone
> 505.277-2541 fax
> ldowney at lternet.edu <mailto:ldowney at lternet.edu>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Dan Higgins [mailto:higgins at nceas.ucsb.edu]
> *Sent:* Wednesday, July 13, 2005 11:05 AM
> *To:* Laura L. Downey; Kepler-Dev
> *Subject:* Kepler actor icons
> Laura,
>     In out continuing discussion of Kepler actor icons, take a look at 
> the workflow below (from an example from Edward Lee about how to 
> handle nested loops). This is an example of some more interesing icons 
> that are already in PTII and Keper (rather than the default blue 
> triangle). In particular, the SequenceToArray actually shows the 
> process of putting tokens into an array and the ArrayToSequence the 
> inverse. More interestingly, the number '5' on the icons is a 
> parameter of the actor and it is 'dynamic', i.e. it changes as the 
> parameter is changed, avoiding the need to open the actor! (This also 
> occurs for the Repeat actor, which has an icon that depicts its 
> function and shows a dynamic parameter.)
> Dan
>Dan Higgins                                  higgins at nceas.ucsb.edu <mailto:higgins at nceas.ucsb.edu>
>http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/    Ph: 805-893-5127
>National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) 
>Marine Science Building - Room 3405
>Santa Barbara, CA 93195

Dan Higgins                                  higgins at nceas.ucsb.edu
http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/    Ph: 805-893-5127
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) 
Marine Science Building - Room 3405
Santa Barbara, CA 93195

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