This week, I learned about a fantastic tool integrated into Visual Studio called Spy++. Many people are (painfully?) familiar with this tool, but it is new to me. Spy++ allows you to target a UI component in a GUI application, and it will then show you a stack trace of that component. It has already helped me a ton in figuring out how the VISTAS UI code works, as I can identify specifically what class each UI component represents and jump right to the code which generates it.
I also sat down with the application and had another brainstorm session on desired features that are within the scope of this project, which I’ll enumerate here.
VISTAS UI Ideas
- Fix the “Add” buttons on the Data & Visualizations tabs. Right-clicking is not intuitive to a new user. This could be simple as a small “+” or “Add” button next to
- Project Visualizations/Project Data.
- Add ability to delete items from Data & Visualizations tabs. Currently, removing a scene requires rebooting VISTAS.
- Cleanup of VISTAS .ico file — remove white pixels from edge of image to beautify
- Change default icon in titlebar of main window frame to be the VISTAS icon
- Tooltips/mouse hover context information need to be added across the board.
- Add “Help” section with integrated quick start guide
- Revamp the Tool Bar. Re-evaluate overall layout, icon choices and functionalities present.
- Revamp the Menu Bar. Right now there is a bare minimum of functionality here, and several existing buttons don’t work.
- “About” as its own item, and not nested under File — to be discussed.
- Functionality to Save & Open projects needs to be implemented. Nik has assigned himself to this.
- Functionality to close the current project/create a new project needs to be implemented.
- Adding/removing Viewers could perhaps be done in a more intuitive way.
- Bundle a small sample data set with VISTAS so that a new user can experiment with the program without committing to downloading a large data set & going through all the steps of setting up the visualization. Ideally this would come in the form of a sample project include with VISTAS, so the ability to Save & Open projects needs to be implemented first.
- Ability to take a screenshot of the viewer window, either via right-click or perhaps a button in the toolbar. Ability to copy screengrabs to clipboard for easy insertion into documents/emails/whatever.
- Optional camera controls on the viewer window might be nice. At least a zoom control– Shift+mouse zooming is not always intuitive nor precise for fine camera movements.
- Ability to click on colors in Legend and change them.
— whew! I better get to work.