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MASON-INTEREST-L  May 2008

MASON-INTEREST-L May 2008

Subject:

Re: TimeSeriesChartingPropertyInspector

From:

Sean Luke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

MASON Multiagent Simulation Toolkit <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 5 May 2008 13:08:30 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (116 lines)

On May 5, 2008, at 11:11 AM, Björn Raupach wrote:

> hope this software is still alive ;-)

Very much so.


> Everything worked right out of the box, except some naming conflict  
> - Java 6 introduces also some kind of console.

Yeah.  We're gonna have to deal with that.  :-(


> But I am having trouble with adding a  
> TimeSeriesChartingPropertyInspector. I would like to display some  
> property of my agents in a timeseries chart. There is a  
> TimeSeriesChartingPropertyInspector in the source, but it is never  
> referenced. Searching the mailing list didn't help much either.  
> Could you help me out? How to display variables of agents in a  
> proper way?

A very good question.  But it's got an easy answer.   
PropertyInspectors are dynamically loaded at runtime, so you'll not  
find them referred to anywhere among the symbols of the program.   
Instead, they're listed in the sim/portrayal/inspector/ 
propertyinspector.classes file.  When you click on the magnifying  
class of any element in a SimpleInspector in MASON, and its type  
matches the registered types of a PropertyInspector (for example,  
<double> or <int> among others for  
TimeSeriesChartingPropertyInspector), you'll be able to choose that  
inspector in the pop-up menu.

Some information you will find useful can be found in the docs/ 
howto.html file:

	- How to create a time series chart programmatically rather than  
automatically ** USEFUL
	- How to create a PropertyInspector (see below for an explanation of  
what that is)
	- How to add a Slider or Pop-up Menu to an Inspected Property
	- How to create a Field Portrayal Inspector
	- How to create an inspector which holds other inspectors


Now some background in case you're interested.  MASON's inspector  
mechanism is a little more complicated than I'd like, mostly due to  
some historical changes.  There are basically three kinds of inspectors:

- SimpleInspectors, which let you examine and manipulate the  
properties of entire object.  There are two uses for  
SimpleInspectors: (1) to inspect the primary model object directly --  
or the object the model offers to represent itself -- and (2) to  
inspect various individual elements in the model as the user requests  
(in fact, elements' Portrayals can return inspectors other than  
SimpleInspectors, but they usually don't).

- PropertyInspectors, which let you examine a specific property in an  
object all on its own.  The important distinction here is that an  
SimpleInspector works on an *object*, whereas a PropertyInspector  
works on an <object, property> pair.  PropertyInspectors do not  
register themselves for specific properties: but rather they're  
registered for *types* of properties (doubles, ints, arrays of  
different kinds, various classes, etc.), and so are available for any  
property of their registered type(s).



Let's look at HeatBugs for a moment as an example:

	java sim.app.heatbugs.HeatBugsWithUI

1. If you click on the "Model" tab, MASON calls  
HeatBugsWithUI.getSimulationInspectedObject() to get the object to  
inspect.  By default this returns the underlying SimState (the  
HeatBugs object).  MASON then constructs a SimpleInspector based on  
that object.

2. Next, run the simulation and pause it, then double-click on a  
heatbug.  You may need to zoom in a bit go nail it.  You'll get the  
inspectors window pop up.  Here MASON has queried all the Fields in  
your model (in this case, the Heat model (a DoubleGrid2D) and the  
Bugs model (a SparseGrid2D) for every element which intersects with  
the point where you double-clicked.  It then requests an Inspector  
(typically it gets a SimpleInspector) from the SimplePortrayal  
responsible for each of those elements.  MASON then sticks all those  
Inspectors in a list, which is what you see.

3. Now click on the Heat in the Inspector List if it's not already  
selected, and you'll see it has a single Property called "Value".   
Next to the Value is a small magnifying glass icon.  Click on that  
and you see you can Stream or Chart this Property.  These are the  
PropertyInspectors which have registered themselves as available for  
the <double> type, which is what this Property returns.  MASON  
gathered these by calling PropertyInspector.getPopupMenu(), which  
loads all the PropertyInspectors if they've not been loaded, and then  
examines the PropertyInspector.classes Bag for all  
PropertyInspectors.  For each one, it calls types(), to return an  
array of types, and searches them for the presence of the <double>  
type.  The ones that match the type are made available in the menu.

4. Choose "Chart" on the pop-up menu, and a chart is popped up.   
Here's your TimeSeriesChartingPropertyInspector!  This is done by  
calling PropertyInspector.makeInspector(...) to construct the  
inspector.  At this point, your PropertyInspector has two ways to  
back out of being created.  First, your PropertyInspector can pop up  
a dialog asking the user whether it should be constructed or not --  
if the user cancels, then your PropertyInspector sets isValidInspector 
() to return true and makeInspector() will return null.  Second, your  
PropertyInspector can opt not to create a separate window.  For  
example, TimeSeriesChartingPropertyInspector has the ability to chart  
multiple properties in the same window, so it only creates one window  
initially and the others are just glommed into that window as the  
user requests.  to do this, its shouldCreateFrame() method returns  
false.

Sean

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