Version: AIDA 0.2.10_2 (2013/06/02)

F-modeling environment and how to use it

 

Introduction

F-modeling environment is a cloud-type application providing rich opportunities for creating information resources in *AIDA. It can also be installed as a desktop application. Prepared in Adobe AIR format, it can be downloaded from here (in preparation).

 

How to start

When F-modeling environment is launched, a starting panel of Main view editor will appear (Fig. 1). In the case of the cloud-type application, the user should go through a conventional login process, before the starting panel appearance.

 
Starting panel of main view editor

Fig. 1. Starting panel of Main view editor

This panel includes a CyberFrame canvas, a menu bar for creating CyberFrames, searching a-pictures (representing a-characters) and saving items in libraries (Fig. 2). It also includes tool bars to activate various sub-panels for manipulating and updating the canvas contents.

In addition, the editor supports attaching annotations to single a-pictures and/or to whole CyberFrames.

In the bottom-right corner, there is a balloon toggle for turning on/off a mode of annotations providing some explanation of the menu bar functions.

 
F-modeling environment F-modeling environment F-modeling environment F-modeling environment

Fig. 2. Menu/Tool bars

 

The menu bar functions include the following:

Table 1. A list of functions (1)

Icons Functions
F-modeling environment Create a new Algorithmic CyberFilm from scratch
F-modeling environment Search and import Algorithmic CyberFilms from libraries
F-modeling environment Acquire a CyberFilm into libraries
F-modeling environment Save the current CyberFilm or files
F-modeling environment Print the current CyberFilm and save it as a set of images
F-modeling environment Set system preferences
F-modeling environment Check and compile the current CyberFilm
F-modeling environment Run the current CyberFilm
F-modeling environment Browse the explanation of F-modeling environment
F-modeling environment Browse catalog (Gallery) of a-characters
F-modeling environment Browse examples of *AIDA program explanations
 

Table 2. A list of functions (2)

Icons Functions
F-modeling environment Login to the application
F-modeling environment Open the Algorithmic Dynamics View
F-modeling environment Open the Algorithmic Commands View
F-modeling environment Open the Algorithmic Interface View
 

Table 3. A list of functions (3)

Icons Functions
Browse data files
Browse console data
 

To create an *AIDA program, there are two ways:

  • Searching for an appropriate program in the environment libraries or in personal libraries and editing it according to user's goals, or
  • Developing a program "from scratch" by "typing" a-characters in rows of Main view CyberFrames.
 

How to search the library item

To search an item, there are two ways. The first way is by clicking icon in the top-left horizontal bar and going through picture-presented directories (Fig. 3). The second way is by clicking icon in the top-right vertical bar and going through text-presented directories. Double clicking on a CyberFilm name is required in the second way to get the appearance of the first CyberFrame on a canvas sub-panel. After that, necessary inserting and/or deleting operations of the Main view editor can be activated.

 
F-modeling environment

Fig. 3. A search panel

 

How to edit the Main view

The mouse cursor should be involved for the library item modifications by obtaining a specific state for it.

Table 4. Mouse cursors

Cursor Functions
The default cursor to point and move a construct (a-character)
Cursor to remove a construct (a-character)
Cursor to attach annotations to a construct (a-character)

Deleting and inserting a-characters (including supportive background constructs), moving construct boxes, as well as adding/updating some annotations can be done within the editor support.

  • For deleting operations, the mouse cursor should be transformed into an eraser shape by clicking an appropriate place in the mouse cursor bar (the top-left vertical bar of the starting panel). Then putting and clicking the eraser on an a-character (or a large-scale construct) delete this a-character (or the construct as a whole).
  • For box moving operations, the mouse cursor should be transformed into an arrow shape . Then drag and drop operations are used to move a box (with all internal contents). Boxes can be nested, so the lowest in hierarchy is selected for moving.
  • For attaching comments to a-characters or constructs, the mouse cursor can be transformed into an annotation shape . Then a sub-panel to type comments is appeared and a necessary text can be prepared.
  • For inserting operations, mouse over on a Main view frame with the arrow cursor of highlights possible places where a new a-character is inserted. By clicking a place (Fig. 4), specialized (sub-) panels of a-characters are automatically activated and used as virtual keyboards. By clicking an a-character of a panel, the selected symbol is inserted into the correspoinding place. The panels (the keyboards) are presented below. They are organized in two groups. The first group is related to editing operations with a-characters for specifying CyberScenes, control and space structures. The second group is related to editing operations with converntional and a-characters for defining formulas (computational activities).
  • F-modeling environment

    Fig. 4. Target places of a Main view frame

     

    A-characters related to the first group panels are organized into the following classes:

    Table 5. Classes of a-characters related to the first group panels

    IconsClassDescriptionTarget Area
    Space structures Available space structures to be declared The header of a Main view frame
    Control structures Available control structures The body of a Main view frame and a non-terminal section of another CyberScene
    Diagram CyberScenes Available CyberScenes on diagram structures The body of a Main view frame and a non-terminal section of another CyberScene
    Space CyberScenes Available CyberScenes on space structures The body of a Main view frame and a non-terminal section of another CyberScene
    Mask Available masks to be declared The header of a Main view frame

    If you click the header of the Main view, panels of the space structures and mask (requring the parameters assignment) are activated (Fig. 5).


        

    Fig. 5 The editor panels for inserting space structures and masks a-characters

     

    If you click a non-terminal section of the Main view or an a-character of a CyberScene, panels of control structures, diagram CyberScenes, space CyberScenes and masks (without the parameter assignment) are activated (Fig. 6).


        

        

    Fig. 6 The editor panels for inserting control structure, diagram CyberScene, space CyberScene and mask a-characters

     

    You can also take a-characters from the panels and insert them in appropriate places on the Main view frame by drag and drop operations.

     

    A-characters related to variable declarations are organized into the following classes:

    Table 6. A-characters related to variable declarations

    Icon Class Description Target Area
    Primitive types Integer, long integer, double, long doulbe, character, etc. Variable declaration body
    Greeks α, β, γ, ... Variable declaration body
    Units of measure Available units of measure Variable declaration body

    A-characters related to formula expressions are organized into the following classes:

    Table 7. A-characters related to formula expressions

    Icon Class Description Target Area
    Indices Available highlighing nodes or combinations of neihbors (stencils) within the corresponding CyberScene Formula expression body
    Variables Available variables declared on the structures of the corresponding CyberScene Formula expression body
    Structure functions Available functions related to the structures of the corresponding CyberScene Formula expression body
    Math functions A set of available math functions Formula expression body
    Algorithm functions A set of available algorithm functions Formula expression body
    Super-operations Available super-operations related to the corresponding CyberScene Formula expression body
    Input/output operations A set of available input and output operations Formula expression body
    Masks Available masks for the corresponding CyberScene Formula expression body
    Patterns A set of available formula patterns Formula expression body
     

    If you click a variable declaration body, the following panels are activated (Fig. 7).

    F-modeling environment
         F-modeling environment
    F-modeling environment

    Fig. 7. The editor panels for inserting data types, greek characters and units of measure

    A special aspect of the *AIDA program preparation is attaching some annotations to variables, a-characters and language constructs. The bottom panel of Fig. 7 shows items for attaching units of measure to variables declared.

     

    If you click a formula expression body, the following panels are activated (Fig. 8).

    F-modeling environment
         F-modeling environment
    F-modeling environment
         F-modeling environment
    F-modeling environment
         F-modeling environment
    F-modeling environment
         F-modeling environment
    F-modeling environment
         F-modeling environment

    Fig. 8. Te editor panels for inserting formula elements

     
     

    How to develop a program "from scratch" by "typing" a-characters

    "Typing" a-characters in rows of a new CyberFrame (which is introduced by clicking micro-icon in the menu bar) is started with declarations of space data structures, possible substructures and variables attached to them. The structures and substructures should be accompanied by values of size parameters and names (identifiers) of the variables should follow the standard type declarations of integer, real, etc. types.

    "Typing" these a-characters is performed by inserting operations above mentioned, that is by opening corresponding sub-panels (representing structures/substructures, data types, etc.). In addition, a conventional typing of values of size parameters (requested by the editor), variable identifiers and possibly structure identifiers is performed. Boxes including all variables attached to the same structure are created automatically.

    After the declarations, "typing" a-characters in rows representing a-scenes is performed. For each a-scene, first an a-character (from an a-scene sub-panel, Fig. 5) is selected and inserted at the beginning of a row. This action leads automatically to appearance of micro-icons (cycles or squares) related to operations which should be specified for the a-scene, and boxes where the operations should be defined. Assignment statements with left and right sides (separated by a special arrow) are usually used for defining the cycle-related operations (also called terminal operations, or just formulas), and other a-scenes are used for defining square-related operations (also called non-terminal operations).

     

    How to save *AIDA program

    A program or a draft of a program displayed on the canvas of the Main view editor can be saved in a user's directory via clicking a micro-icon of F-modeling environment "Save the current CyberFilms or file" in the menu bar. The program can be print and saved as an image via clicking a micro-icon of F-modeling environment "Print the current CyberFilm and save it as an image." It can also be exported to the environment libraries (database) via clicking a corresponding micro-icon in the menu bar.

    In fact, the exporting operation is an application for starting a special refereeing process to get permission for this operation. The operation is executed later after getting the permission.

     

    How to compile and run

    Two micro-icons in the menu bar ( "Compile and check the current CyberFilm" and "Run the current CyberFilm") exist for performing these operations. Console window under the canvas of Main view panel is applied for presenting an executable code and results of compilation (Fig. 9).

     
    F-modeling environment

    Fig. 9. Console window

     

    To see details of these results the following console buttons can be used:

    Table 8. Console buttons

    Tab Descriptions of data displayed
    Executable Code C++ codes generated by *AIDA compiler
    Compilation Errors in AIDA Error messages from *AIDA compiler
    Compilation Errors in C++ Error messages from C++ compiler
    Runtime Errors Runtime error messages from F-modeling environment
    Conditions Messages from checkers of *AIDA compiler or F-modeling environment
    Standard Output Standard output of user's code for debugging
    Trace Some information from tracers about links between operations in *AIDA and in C++
     

    How to browse Main view of *AIDA programs

    Browsing operations are important for visual inspections, special analysis, editing operations, etc. Double clicking on a CyberFilm name (or another type of information resource name) presented in the left column sub-panel of the Main view editor calls the appearance of a compound picture representing a series of Cyber Frames in a scrolling sheet form. This also calls the appearance of a short bar at the top-left place of the canvas. This bar has two buttons: the first depicts a micro-icon representing a type of the information resource and the name of this resource (it is used for activating the resource), and the second depicts a cross micro-icon (it is used for closing the resource).

    The use of such bars is justified by a necessity of the efficient browsing several CyberFilms related to some problems or possessing some features. The double clicking on a new CyberFilm name leads to the appearance of a new compound picture on the canvas and a new short bar near the old one. Clicking the first button of the old bar activates the old CyberFilm on the canvas.

    Under the canvas, there is a controller bar for moving forwards/backwards CyberFrames and also for zooming them (Fig. 10).

     
    F-modeling environment

    Fig. 10. Controller bar

     

    How to browse Dynamics and Interface views of *AIDA programs

    It is possible to do during the Main view browsing. For example, clicking an a-character representing an a-scene calls the appearance of Fig. 11-type panel with a tile form representing algorithmic dynamics. Clicking "Anim" button in the top-left position on the panel calls a panel to show the dynamics as animation (see Fig. 12).

     
    F-modeling environment

    Fig. 11. A tile form representing algorithmic dynamics

     
    F-modeling environment

    Fig. 12. An animation form representing algorithmic dynamics

     

    A set of supportive buttons and their functions available within the Dynamics view panels is presented by Table 9. In addition, in the animation mode a "play" related control is provided. In a similar way, to browse Interface view, clicking an a-character of input/output operations should be done.

    Table 9. Buttons in the Algorithmic Dynamics view

    Icons Functions
    F-modeling environment Switch to animation mode
    F-modeling environment Switch to tiled mode
    F-modeling environment Show template programs as annotation
    F-modeling environment Save the frames as images
    F-modeling environment Select CyberFrames from alternative versions of Dynamics view
    F-modeling environment Show background objects
    F-modeling environment Show foreground objects
    F-modeling environment Show scene background objects
     

    How to write a-characters of computational expressions through your keyboard

     

    Working with a formula, you can see a cursor, which points location within this formula.

    You can insert (in the location) a-characters related to variables and formulas by 1) clicking a-characters in the ditor panels activated and 2) typing with your keyboard.

    If the cursor is in the formula expression, it looks like a blinking short-line bar. On the other hand, if the cursor is in an editor panel, it highlights an item (row) of a panel list.

    A-characters are classified into several categories and each category is managed by a panel which can be divided into pages. You can move back and forth between the pages by clicking corresponding up-down arrows.

    Controlling the cursor positions in formulas and panels can also be done by applying keys of the keyboard.

    Table 10. Available control keys

    Keys Functions Description
    Move up If the cursor is on the editor panel, it will move up within the list.
    Move down If the cursor is on the editor panel, it will move down within the list.
    If the cursor is on the expression, it will move to the first page of the editor.
    Move left If the cursor is on the editor panel, it will move to the previous category of a-characters.
    If the cursor is on the expression, it will move back.
    Move right If the cursor is on the editor panel, it will move to the next category of a-characters.
    If the cursor is on the expression, it will move forward.
    C^p Move up It is the same as the Up key.
    C^n Move down It is the same as the Down key.
    C^f Move right It is the same as the Right key.
    C^b Move left It is the same as the Left key.
    C^a Move left-most If it is in the formula expression, it will move to the begining of the expression.
    C^e Move right-most If it is in the formula expression, it will move to the end of the expression.