Docuverse provides a view of a large (1,000-5,000) set of objects with minimal information about each object. Webview provides a tree-based structural display of a smaller part of the file system or document space. It shows individual document components, selected attributes of the components and the links between them. At the current time, Webview shows only hierarchical file system links. Once the DBMS control structure has been completed, any number of relational structures may be mapped to the same basic tree. As indicated, unlike Docuverse, the Webview displays multiple attributes of the components. The nodes display the object's name, its type is mapped to color, and for system-generated files, the name also depicts author and creation date.
Figure 3 shows a three-level subtree showing component type -- e.g., comment, objection, graphic, etc. We are currently exploring how multiple attributes might be depicted using shape, color, saturation, texture, etc. The displayed tree is developed dynamically, and the user may traverse up or down the tree by clicking on container nodes, which become the new root node. Beyond type, the node label identifies the owner and creation date or title of the node.
Figure 3: Web View
The Webview is useful for showing the relations among a set of objects (documents). The Webview may be used to generated mappings of nodes based on links embedded within nodes. In this case, it would show documents related by links and not by document structuring. Such a display might be of particular interest for WWW traversal. In this case, hierarchies show traversal distance and not file system or document structure distance. Such a use of Webview in real time will probably require more sophisticated link management by a link server.
We have found that Webview tends to become unwieldy as the number of documents depicted grows beyond 500. For this reason, the number of levels displayed is currently restricted to three and the number of files displayed is restricted by simply indicating, and not expanding, large directories beyond the first level. (First level directories are always shown in their entirety.)
We found that spawning a separate shell for Webview, made it easier to find appropriate documents. We anticipate that Webview will ultimately replace the directory bar that is currently used for within-directory navigation. We are also looking at whether a reasonable real-time display can be maintained with the Webview displayed on a hyperbolic solid and projected back into a window such that remote documents appear appropriately smaller.