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/
- 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:
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
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