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Purpose: Outline progress and issues with introducing new filters dialog.

Audience: Developers and interested scientists.


  1. The Issue
    1. Words for things
  2. The Solution
    1. Words for things
  3. Notes

1. The Issue

The filters are an attempt at generalizing the slicing of the first go at Autoplot into a more general set of filters. Back in 2007, high-rank data (ds[time,energy,pitch]) would be sliced automatically and the title would indicate that slice was done. Later versions of Autoplot would allow arbitrary filters, identified as a "process string" stored in the property plotElement.component. "|slice1(3)" would be an example of how the slicing was re-implemented, and users could now also run complex filters like "|fftPower(512)".

The GUI has not been generalized, however, and users get a GUI to support the legacy ability to slice on any dimension, but other filters do not have GUI elements.

Scientists could also chain filters together. For example, "|slice1(3)|multiply(-1)" will pull out the smaller dataset and then display the result times -1.

1.1. Words for things

Making things more confusing is the lack of thought to what these are called. The words "filter" "process" and "operation" have all been used to describe the same thing.

2. The Solution

We are working to add GUIs for each of the filters, and to make discovery of filters more intuitive.

There will be a set of small GUIs to control each step of the filter chain. For the example "|slice1(3)|multiply(-1)" there would be a small GUI to select the slice index and dimension, and then a small one to contain the number by which the data is multiplied. The multiply GUI could have useful values, such as "-1,2,180/PI" etc.

Each GUI implements a small interface, similar to the PanelEditors. This includes the methods:

void setFilter( String filter )
String getFilter()

Also to preserve the existing functionality of the slice GUI, we would need:

void addPropertyChangeListener()   to register a listener to the GUI, that will be called when a change is indicated to the rest of the system
void setInput( QDataSet ds )  to allow the droplist to display named dimensions.

2.1. Words for things

"Filter" refers to an operation that takes one dataset argument and some number of scalar or string arguments. These are often expressed in the form "|filter()", indicating that the first argument is a dataset. "Filters" are a chain of Filters.

"Mash Up" refers to a process that takes one or more datasets and combines them into one dataset. This process can be visualized as a tree of unary, binary, and N-argument operations, such as divide which is a binary operator.

3. Notes

  • This was implemented in Fall 2014.
  • See .../QDataSet/src/org/virbo/filters (package name change coming)
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