woensdag 9 december 2009

Big changes in Matrix Builder

More news on updated tools: the Matrix Builder.

While simple in concept, the Matrix Builder is a very important tool in our toolbox. And it has seen some important changes! Let me take you through them.

Just like the ISI parser, the matrix compiler has had some subtle interface changes. The window can now be minimized, and the close button has been removed. The old OK button has been renamed to Run. This will result in less confusion.

More importantly, is the introduction of properties. That is: more data can be attached to the output than just connection strengths and vertex labels. There are many such properties possible, and we have a wish list for almost all of them. The basics are implemented, and all that remains now is to implement more 'plugins' to support more properties.

Quite a few nice properties have already been implemented. The most useful will probably be the vertex size property (scale node sizes according to some value), and the vertex colouring.

The new version will bear version number 1.3

ISI parser updates

It has been a long time since my last blog. That does not mean that developments have stopped! I'll try to fill you in on what happened in the meantime. I'll start with the oldest tool in the box: the ISI data importer.

Recently, I made an update for the ISI data importer. Most changes are pretty small, but still...
The first issue that was addressed, is a limitation that existed with selecting files. If you selected lots of files, especially if they had long file names in a deep level of you directory hierarchy, it could happen that you'd run over 32 thousand characters for the file names. That resulted in leaving some files out, without any warning! The issue was addressed by changing the way multiple selected files are displayed in the file selection widget. Instead of just listing all the file names including their paths (which you will never read anyway for 50+ files), you now get a listing like
'file_1' and 999 other files in directory ''file_0.txt' and 999 other files in directory 'C:/Documents and Settings/andre/Desktop/data'
Much more readable. The way the display is formatted, depends on the number of files selected.

Another issue that was addressed, is the laggy display of the progress. If you hid or obscured the progress window during a parsing operation, it would take untill the next new file untill it was updated again. This is now fixed. What's more, the window can be minimized, and the main window is hidden during the parsing process. The progress bars are also changed. The files progress bar has been replaced by a write progress bar, that displays the amount of parsed records (articles) being written to the database.

A new feature has also been introduced: it is now possible to add data to an existing database! That means that if you select an existing database as your output file, you are now forced to choose what to do with that. You can either augment the existing data (no duplicates will be made) or you can overwrite the existing database completely.

A user interface change will enforce that you actually have make a choice: The OK button has been renamed in a Run button, and the Close button has been removed. Closing is done by just closing the window. The Run button will only be available if no problems have been detected. If there are problems that prevent running, hovering your mouse over a small warning-sign icon will tell you about what they are.

This new version of the ISI data importer will get version number 1.2.