[self-interest] outliners (was: Self 4.1)

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at merlintec.com
Fri Nov 12 23:22:50 UTC 1999

Jerry Bell wrote:
> Quick question:
> Is there anything in Self like the Outliner but meant more for the end
> user?  I'm thinking of something where you could enter new values directly
> into the data slots, instead of using the evaluator.  It would provide
> different editors for different 'types' of slots, and would hide
> implementation details.  For example, you would have a drop-down list of
> (Rigid, Flexible, Shrink-Wrap) instead of looking in the comments for
> useful values for hResizing.

One problem is that slots aren't typed in this way. But you could
work around this by using annotations.

> I've looked at Properties a little, but it seems like I want more of
> a'different' outliner, possibly accessed by a toggle on the current
> outliner.  I also don't want to build a separate interface morph for each
> object, I am impressed by the Outliner etc and think the system could do a
> very nice job on its own (which could later be customized by the user).

There are a lot of outliner-like things in Self. Most queries
return an outliner which you "open" to get the answers. But when
I tried to patch an outliner for a different application (showing
a tree-like structure where the "leafs" where certain kinds of
morphs - a kind of hierarchical factory window) I was a bit
disapointed at how easy it was to mess everything up. But I
would certainly encourage you to try to adapt it to your needs.

> I don't want to stop the end user  from 'getting under the hood' and
> actively changing the world, that after all is what Self is about.  But I
> think it may be useful to have a "I'm Using this object"  view of the
> outliner, and a "I'm mucking around under the hood" view as well.  Think
> boring database type objects like an Employee or a Department, where you
> have lots of bits of mostly textual data.

Ok, so you don't want to create an EmployeeMorph. But is putting
an outliner in the hands of the user a good idea? There might be
some slots that you don't want them to see/change. And the layout
of an outliner is a bit limiting - you might want to have some
kind of universal formMorph object instead.

> I have more vaguely formed ideas about this which I would like to share for
> feedback, but I don't want to blather on about it if something like this
> already exists.

Nothing that I remember.

-- Jecel

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