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Prologue. A: Hola! Want to know about ‘ConMan’, the new interactive tool?? B: Thanks , I had enough of this already. I came across enough cool ones in Dr. North’s class! A: Not the traditional , cumbersome, hard to manage, limited usage ones that can’t encapsulate all possible cases.

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A:Hola! Want to know about ‘ConMan’, the new interactive tool??

B:Thanks, I had enough of this already. I came across enough cool ones in Dr. North’s class!

A:Not the traditional, cumbersome, hard to manage, limited usageones that can’tencapsulateall possible cases.

B:Stop it! I love Dr.North.

A: I thought you were interested in a more dynamic, user-initiated, flexile interface…

B: Hmmph, you WIN!!!



A Visual Programming Language


Interactive Graphics

Paul E. Haeberli , Silicon Graphics, Inc.

A presentation by Ajay Jampani


Motivation: why yet one morevis tool??

  • Static user-interface reflects developer's vision

  • Non-user friendly at times

  • Users match a given toolkit to a particular task.

  • E.g. UNIX pipe: ls || pg, an IPC

  • Synergy: 2+2=5 rule in Sys Anal & Des

  • Same rule extended to visual tools.

  • User can use combinations to solve problems that the designers didn't envision



ConMan?? Huh?

CONnection MANager:A High-level Visual Language (run on IRIS) A Graphical facility for connecting visually-oriented tools

KEY: Disintegration into modular components,

(a)   Combined selectively depending on desired function Flexible, easy to develop

(b)  Users dynamically build, modify graphical applications

Encourages exploration, acts as “pseudo-developer”

(c)Uses a Data Flow Metaphor



  • Separate interaction frame per component

  • Extending: Connect interaction frames of the applications

  • Connection as easy as directing I/p and o/p s



Basic unit: Component ( with code written in C lang.)

(a) Developer concentrates more on a single unit

More efficient!

(b) They can be combined to give better results

Better component Πeffective applications!

ConMan: Basically a user ‘process’ running under window mgr

Message Passing used to communicate

Why visual programming

Why Visual Programming?

Visual Programming

  • Describes any sys that lets user specify a prog using a 2D notation (representation)

  • Easy to use and manipulate

  • User has more freedom

  • Effective Tailor made applications in less time

  • Easy to undo/redo, effects rendered instantly

An example avs

An Example- AVS

Why AVS (Advanced Visualization System)?

 Tools like AVS use a visual programming approach based on Haeberli's ConMan, enabling people to link together various components to build powerful scientific / technical visual applications without going through the process of learning

Some practical uses:

 Facilitates analysis and treatment of prostate cancer; can simulate placement of seeds within the patient's anatomy and vis results 

Data processing and Vis Networks etc




Provides traditional plots and graphs, 3D interactive rendering and volume visualization, simple interfaces

Wide usage: Most Common application areas, wide range of functions supported (simple SQL to very complex db ops)

Interoperability: Huge repository of user-contributed modules, various formats, Cross-pf visualization, Application deployment with no recompiling and no changes to app code;

Sample avs screenshots

Sample AVS screenshots



  • Wraps most frequently used vis techniques in intuitive, easy-to-learn "viewers"  

  • Explore data immediately: no programming experience

  • Scales to very large data and very complex systems 0.5m modules/application

    Yet easy: Visual programming environment

  • Visual environment reduces error rate on user’s part

  • More interactive and modular applications



  • Assumes user can handle tools provided to him effectively

    Inherent weaknesses of user reflected in his work

  • Difficult to build large scalable systems

  •  But again, such tradeoff (Expressive Vs. Ready-made) benefits only some users, while others are left unsatisfied

Hci metrics

HCI Metrics

  • User Retention:  

  • Learning Curve: 

  • User Satisfaction: 

  • User Performance:  

  • Error Recovery:  

Questions comments


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