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Wasmer Consulting - BaseOps - User's Guide - Details of Various BaseOps Components


BaseOps User's Guide, Appendix B: Details of Various BaseOps Components

BaseOps uses a number of specialized components. Some of these components (for example, the coordinate system control) are specific to BaseOps, and are described in detail. Other components (for example, the text edit control) are commonly used by Microsoft Windows applications. Familiarity with these common components is assumed: only unique or non-obvious aspects are described in this appendix.

Dialog Boxes

Most BaseOps dialog boxes can be moved and resized. BaseOps remembers the new position and size, and uses them the next time that dialog box is displayed.

To move a dialog box to a new location, drag it by its title bar.

To resize a dialog box, drag one of its edges. The layout of the dialog box's contents will be updated to fit the new size.

Press Tab and Shift + Tab to move the keyboard focus between controls in a dialog box.

Multiple Page Dialog Boxes

BaseOps makes extensive use of Multiple Page Dialog Boxes. These dialog boxes have one or more pages of options that can be displayed.

The left portion of a Multiple Page dialog box displays a list of option categories (in the example above, these are Name, Description, and Physical Properties). One category in this list is always selected (in the example above, Name is selected). Click on a category to select it.

The right portion of the dialog box displays controls that allow you to change the options in the selected category (in the example above, this is the Name of Object text edit box).

For organizational purposes, options are arranged in a hierarchy. If an option category has a plus sign next to it, this means that it has one or more subpages. To display the subpages, click on the plus sign.

Click on the Undo Page button to discard all changes you have made to the controls on the selected page. All controls are set to the values they had when you opened the dialog box.

Click on the Cancel button to discard all changes you have made since opening the dialog box, regardless of the page.

Error Messages

If an error message must be displayed, BaseOps will highlight the relevant portion of the user interface by tinting it red.

Text Control

A Text Control allows you to enter text.

It is assumed that you are familiar with using a text control. Therefore, only the functions of certain keys are listed.

Key Action
Shift + Arrow Key   Move the caret while selecting text
Ctrl +  Move one word to left
Ctrl +  Move one word to right
Ctrl + C   Copy selected text to the clipboard
Ctrl + X   Cut selected text
Ctrl + V   Paste text from clipboard
Ctrl + A   Select all text

Symbolic Fields Text Control

A Symbolic Field Text Control allows you to enter text that contains symbolic fields: placeholders for information that is automatically inserted when the text is displayed. For example, in the text "You are using {AppName} version {AppVersion}", {AppName} and {AppVersion} are fields representing, respectively, the name and version of the application you are using. The text would be displayed as "You are using BaseOps version 7.363".

A Symbolic Fields Text Control is a text control with a button located to its right.

Edit the text as you would using a regular text control. To insert a symbolic field at the caret location, either press Alt + Space Bar, or press the Insert Symbolic Field button . The Select Symbolic Field To Insert dialog box is displayed.

Select the symbol to insert, then press the OK button.

Note that the list of symbols is hierarchical. Click on one of the small + signs to display subsymbols. Often, these subsymbols are alternative ways of formatting the parent symbol. For example, in the screen capture of the Select Symbolic Field To Insert dialog box above, symbols for several ways of formatting the current time are shown.

Conditional Inclusion of Text

It is possible to conditionally include text based upon the value of a symbol. For example, suppose you are working with a weather data application that defines the symbols {Temp}, {Rain}, and {Wind}; these symbols represent the current temperature, rainfall, and wind speed, respectively. You want the temperature and humidity to always be displayed, but the rainfall to be displayed only if it is greater than zero. You can do so by using the following symbolic text:

    Temperature = {Temp} F
    {IfNotZero {Rain} Rainfall = {Rain} inches
    }Wind Speed = {Wind} miles/hour
  

If the {Rain} symbol expanded to, say, 1.5, then the text would appear as...

    Temperature = 75 F
    Rainfall = 1.5 inches
    Wind Speed = 8 miles/hour

If, however, the {Rain} symbol expanded to 0, then the text would appear as...

    Temperature = 75 F
    Wind Speed = 8 miles/hour

IfNotZero is a special command symbol that is followed by a symbol name and some additional text. If the symbol name expands to 0, then the additional text is discarded. Note that the additional text can itself contain symbols.

IfNotZero is intended to be used with symbols that expand to numeric values. There is a corresponding command, IfNotNull, that is used with symbols that expand to text --- the additional text is discarded if the symbol expands to the null string (i.e., to zero-length text).

Drop-down List Control

A Drop-down List Control allows you to select a single item from a list of choices.

It is assumed that you are familiar with using a drop-down list control. Therefore, only the functions of certain keys are listed.

Key Action
Letter key A through Z   Cycle through the choices beginning with that letter. For example, if you are using a drop-down list control that presents a choice of month names, pressing A will alternate the selected month between April and August.
Space Bar   Display the drop-down list
Alt +  Display the drop-down list
  Select the next choice in the list
  Select the previous choice in the list

Spreadsheet Control

A Spreadsheet Control is used to enter a two-dimensional table of information.

A spreadsheet control works much like a commercial spreadsheet, such as Microsoft Excel. A two-dimensional table of cells is presented. One cell is always selected. This is indicated by a dark outline. In the example above, the Mississippi River cell is selected. The selected cell is the one that you are currently editing. The selected row is the row containing the selected cell.

To select another cell, click on it. Alternatively, use the following navigation keys.

Key Action
Arrow Key   Move one cell in the indicated direction
Ctrl + Arrow Key   Move one page in the indicated direction
Enter   Move one cell down
Shift + Enter   Move one cell up
Tab   Move right one cell, or to start of next row if at end of current row
Shift + Tab   Move left one cell, or to end of previous row if at beginning of current row
Page Up   Move up current column one page
Page Down   Move down current column one page
Ctrl + Page Up   Move to top of current column
Ctrl + Page Down   Move to bottom of current column
Home   Move to first column in current row
End   Move to last column in current row

Most spreadsheet controls have Add and Remove buttons. The Add button adds a new row, located just below the selected row. The Remove button removes the selected row.

Some spreadsheet controls have Move Row Up and Move Row Down buttons that move the selected row up or down in the table. Use these buttons to change the relative ordering of rows.

In most spreadsheet controls, you can change a column's width by dragging the separator between column headers.

File Name Control

A File Name Control is used to enter the name of a file.

You can type the name of the file in the box provided.

To browse for the file, either press Alt + Space Bar, or press the Browse button , located to the right of the text box. The standard Microsoft Windows Open File dialog box is displayed.

The exact appearance of the Open File dialog box will vary, depending on the version of Microsoft Windows that you are using. Familiarity with this dialog box is assumed. See your Microsoft Windows documentation for additional information.

Font Control

A Font Control is used to select a typeface font.

The current font is displayed in the box. To change it, either press the Space Bar, or press the Select Font button . The standard Microsoft Windows Font dialog box is displayed.

The exact appearance of the Font dialog box will vary, depending on the version of Microsoft Windows that you are using. Familiarity with this dialog box is assumed. See your Microsoft Windows documentation for additional information.

Color Control

A Color Control is used to select a color.

A sample of the current color is displayed in the box, followed by a name for that color. If the color is one of the standard ones recognized by BaseOps, its common name is displayed. Otherwise, the relative intensities of red, green, and blue are displayed, as in "RGB 10, 100, 255". The RGB values can range from 0 to 255.

Press a letter key, A through Z, to cycle through all colors with names beginning with that letter.

Press Alt + ↓, the Space Bar, or the drop-down button to display a drop-down list of named colors.

Select Custom Color to display the standard Microsoft Windows Color dialog box, which will allow you to pick from all possible colors.

The exact appearance of the Color dialog box will vary, depending on the version of Microsoft Windows that you are using. Familiarity with this dialog box is assumed. See your Microsoft Windows documentation for additional information.

Line Pattern Control

A Line Pattern Control is used to select a line dash pattern (solid, dashed, dotted, etc.).

The sample of the current line pattern is displayed in the box. To change the pattern, either press the Space Bar, or press the Select Pattern button . The Select Line Pattern dialog box is displayed.

The box at the bottom of the dialog box displays a sample of the current line pattern. You can choose one of the predefined patterns, such as Solid or Dashed. Alternatively, you can select Custom, and define your own line pattern.

To define a line pattern, type a list of numbers, separated by commas, in the box labeled Segment lengths. These numbers are the lengths, in millimeters, of alternating line segments and gaps in the line pattern. If the First segment is visible box is checked, the first number represents the length of a line segment. Otherwise, the first number represents the length of a gap.

Symbol Control

A Symbol Control is used to select a graphical symbol.

The current symbol is displayed in the box. To change it, either press the Space Bar, or press the Select Symbol button . The Select Symbol dialog box is displayed.

You can select from a library of standard symbols that are included with BaseOps. Alternatively, you can select a character from a symbol font.

Tip:

Symbol fonts are available from a variety of third-party sources. Some (for example, "Symbol") are distributed with Microsoft Windows. Some are available for purchase. Still others may be freely downloaded from the World Wide Web.

Document Display Control

A document display control displays formatted text.

The following keys have special functions when using a document display control.

Key Action
  Scroll up one line
  Scroll down one line
Page Up   Scroll up one page
Page Down   Scroll down one page
Home   Go to the top of the document
End   Go to the bottom of the document
Ctrl + P   Print the document
Ctrl + W   Print preview the document
Ctrl + H   Save the document as HTML

If your mouse has a middle mouse button, you can use it to scroll the document. Press and hold the middle button, then move the mouse up or down.

If your mouse has a wheel button, you can scroll the document by turning the wheel.

Datum Control

A Datum Control is used to select a geographic datum.

The current datum is displayed in the box. To change it, either press the Space Bar, or press the Select Datum button . The Select Datum dialog box is displayed.

The list at the top of the dialog box displays all available datums, grouped by continent or ocean (North America, Pacific Ocean, etc.). Within these groups, datums are listed alphabetically.

Below the list, the following information about the selected datum is presented:

See Introduction to Datums for general information on datums. See Default Datum for information about the default datum.

Tip:

Some datums are listed several times, each associated with a different area or region. For example, the "North American 1927" datum is listed 20 times: "North American 1927 - Alaska (excluding Aleutian Islands)", "North American 1927 - Alberta, British Columbia", etc. Generally, you should pick the one with the smallest associated region that completely encloses your area of interest. For example, if you are working with North American 1927 map data for the state of New York, you should select "North American 1927 - Contiguous United States east of Mississippi River" instead of "North American 1927 - Contiguous United States."

Tip:

Datums are often abbreviated using their initials and two-digit year. For example, the North American 1927 datum is commonly abbreviated as NAD-27.

Cache Options

The cache is a portion of your computer's memory and hard disk that is used to store data for reuse. Typically, this data is either the result of a time-consuming calculation, or else is downloaded over a (relatively) slow internet connection. The cache is a performance optimization - if the data is needed again in the future, it can be quickly retrieved from the cache.

Tip:

The files in the disk cache can be deleted at any time, with no effect on the application other than the performance penalty of having to recalculate or redownload the data when it is needed in the future.

Use the Cache Options page of the BaseOps Application Options dialog box to manage the cache.

Maximum memory cache size: Enter the maximum amount of your computer's memory, in megabytes, that the cache will use. Increasing the memory cache size can result in greater performance. But it also decreases the amount of memory available for data that does not reside in the cache. If you are experiencing out-of-memory errors from BaseOps, try decreasing the memory cache size.

Disk cache root directory: Enter the directory where disk cache files will be stored. As the disk cache can grow quite large, you may want to place the cache root on a drive with plenty of free space.

Show Cache Information: Pressing this button will display the number of items and the total summed size of both the memory and disk caches.

Empty Disk Cache: Pressing this button will delete all files in the disk cache. Normally, you would not need to do this. Each disk cache file has an expiration date, after which the file is automatically deleted, so the cache will not grow without limit. But it is possible for it to grow quite large. If disk space is low, you may need to manually empty the cache.


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