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Published on Jun 18, 2011
Extending a generic visualization framework for the interactive editing of large datasets
Today's generic data management applications such as accounting, CRM or logging and tracking software, rely on form and menu based interfaces. These applications take only marginal advantage of current graphical user interfaces. This is because the data they handle does not have intrinsic visual representations upon which direct manipulation principles can be used. This article presents how we have extended an Information Visualization framework with generic data manipulation functions. These new data editing capabilities are tuned to take advantage of the characteristics of each view. They enable us to generalize the direct manipulation mechanisms to address many abstract data manipulation needs. In this article we present five uses of the features we have implemented and deduce a general workflow applicable to a variety of contexts. The workflow comprises three steps and five editing actions. The steps are: adjust view, select, and edit. The editing actions are: edit a value or group of values, clone objects, remove objects, add attributes, and remove attributes. The workflow provides complete editing access to table and hierarchical data structures using particularly terse interaction methods. It defines a general data editing model that enables powerful data manipulation tasks without requiring end-user programming or scripting.