METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR
ENHANCING TEMPLATE CREATION AND
MANIPULATION IN A GRAPHICAL USER
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to computer systems and, more particularly, to a method and apparatus for enhancing 1Q template manipulation and creation in a graphical user interface (GUI).
2. Background Information and Description of Related Art
Manufacturers, including IBM, have developed various 15 types of GUI systems. These GUI systems reside in, for example, IBM's OS/2TM, Apple's Macintosh SystemTM, and Microsoft's WindowsTM for IBM compatible machines. A user typically controls these GUI systems using a pointing device, such as a mouse. In turn, the mouse controls a 20 software pointer (e.g. mouse cursor) that appears on a display of the computer system. The mouse cursor is used to manipulate various elements on the display, such as objects and templates.
An object is a software component of the GUI and can be 25 manipulated as a single unit to perform a task. The object contains collections of procedures and data and can be grouped into classes. All objects of the same class are identical in form and behavior, but have different data associated therewith. The object may appear as text, an icon, 30 or both on the display. Examples of the properties exhibited by a document object are its name, icon, font, selected printer, the particular application with which it is associated, and its text contents.
A conventional template is a specific type of object that is used to create instances of an object class, such as, for example, a storage device object, a printer object, or a user group object. In conventional template creation, the user must first create an instance of the object, then perform multiple steps to transform the object instance into a template. Because these steps are typically listed in a menu, the steps are not obvious to the user. Moreover, the user must first know that it is even possible to change an object into a template before searching for the specific steps in the GUI. Therefore, conventional template creation places an undue cognitive burden on the user and makes the GUI difficult to learn and use.
Accordingly, there is a great need for an enhanced GUI which simplifies the creation and duplication of objects and 5Q templates.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is a method and apparatus for enhancing template manipulation. In one embodiment, the 55 method includes the steps of displaying a template area pane on a display, positioning a copy of at least one object into the template area pane, and creating a template from the copied object in the template pane.
In a second embodiment, the method includes the step of 60 displaying a work area pane on a display, wherein the work area pane has at least one object positioned therein. The method also includes the steps of placing a copy of at least one template onto the object, creating an instance of the template, and storing that instance in the object. 65
The apparatus includes a processor, a display device, a pointing device, and means for controlling the processor to
display a template area pane on the display device. The pointing device is used to position a copy of at least one object into the template area pane. The apparatus also includes means for controlling the processor to create a template in the template area pane from the copied object.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of hardware for use with the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a pictorial view of a front-of-screen user interface according to the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating a technique for creating an object from a template according to the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a technique for creating a template from an existing template according to the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating a technique for creating a template from an existing object according to the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a pictorial view of a front-of-screen user interface illustrating a create user pop-up window according to the present invention.
FIG. 7 is a pictorial view of a front-of-screen user interface illustrating a create user template pop-up window according to the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
The following detailed description is of the best presently contemplated mode for carrying out the invention. This description is not to be viewed in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, the scope of which is only defined by the appended claims.
The preferred embodiment is preferably practiced in any suitable hardware configuration, such as a laptop computer. However, FIG. 1 illustrates another suitable hardware configuration. Workstation 100 includes any suitable central processing unit 10, such as a conventional microprocessor, and a number of other units interconnected via system bus 12. Illustratively, workstation 100 includes random access memory (RAM) 14, cache 15, read only memory (ROM) 16, display adapter 36 for connecting system bus 12 to display device 38, and I/O adapter 18 for connecting peripheral devices (e.g. disk and tape drives 20) to system bus 12.
Workstation 100 further includes user interface adapter 22 for connecting keyboard 24, mouse 26, speaker 28, microphone 32, and/or other user interface devices, such as a touch screen device (not shown), to system bus 12. Communication adapter 34 connects workstation 100 to a data processing network. Any suitable operating system may direct the operation of workstation 100. However, in the preferred embodiment, the AIXTM operating system controls workstation 100.
The preferred embodiment includes a GUI which resides within a machine-readable media to direct the operation of workstation 100. Any suitable machine-readable media may retain the GUI, such as RAM 14,ROM 16, a magnetic diskette, magnetic tape, CD-ROM, or optical disk (the last four being located in disk and tape drives 20). The GUI controls and directs CPU 10 to create an object from a template, a template from an existing template, and a terplate from an existing object. For ease of explanation, the following specification describes the GUI as performing those tasks. In actuality, the GUI merely controls and directs CPU 10 to perform those tasks.