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Overview of Oorange

This description will proceed without technical details to give an overview of how Oorange is used. Terms which are used without definition will be printed in italic font. They will be explained later on in the more detailed description of each component.

Refer to the screen snapshot of an Oorange session You should see four windows labeled: Network Manager, Inspector Manager, Scene Viewer, Script Editor.


This image represents the view of Oorange upon loading the node file CurveOnSurfacePick.nod. The upper right window displays a 3D scene featuring a parametric surface on which a curve has been overlaid.

Begin by observing the Network Manager (see Section 3.2 and [12]) in lower right window of Figure 1. You see the graphical representation of the computational network which has been loaded. When Oorange is started, this window is empty. Users can assemble networks by hand, node by node, using the tools in the network manager; or they can load predefined nodes, as in this case.

Each icon in the window represents a node; a node is a unit of computation. Each node contains an object or sub-network. An edge joining the bottom on one icon to the top of another represents a dependency of the second on the first. Whenever any node lying above is changed, then all nodes which are below that object are updated to reflect the changed status. This update process is one of the fundamental infrastructure services of Oorange.

The Network Manager contains only the graphical representation of the network; using other components the actual contents of nodes can be examined and adjusted.

At any time, the Network Manager has a current selection. In this case, it is the node labeled surface; its label is white. The script of the current selection is always displayed in the Script Editor (see Section 3.2.1 and [12]) to the right of the Network Manager. This script contains a complete description of the node and the state of its objects. These parts are generated automatically as the network is assembled. This script is also the most common way to customize the behavior of the node. For example, the nodeUpdate method defines the commands which are invoked whenever the node is updated. Since the language of the script is interpreted, the user can edit any part of the script interactively and see the results immediately.

The current selection also appears in the Inspector Manager (see Section 3.3) in the window above the Network Manager. In our example, the object within the surface node is being inspected. By examining the Inspector Manager window, you can see that it's an object of class OoDataGrid, and also can read off more information about its current state. Using this inspection panel you can edit the contents of the datagrid; the picture automatically changes to display the updated data. That is, the various panels of the virtual laboratory are synchronized so that changes made in one component are propagated to others.

Finally, return to the Scene Viewer (see Section 3.3.2) in the upper right window. It's really also part of the inspection process, but it's such a large and self-sufficient part that it has been split off and given its own top-level window. The viewer is an interactive 3D viewer [12]; on the right side of the window are icons for choosing among the available interactive tools.

With this quick overview of how a running Oorange session appears, we proceed to more detailed description of the underlying components. 

Copyright © 1997 Sonderforschungsbereich 288, Differential Geometry and Quantum Physics, TU-Berlin