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Any experience with JGraph

David Garratt
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I am beginning once more to develop a front end to a new application I have been mulling over for months now. The problem is that the spec I have in my head is a bit more sophisticated that my programming skills can deliver. I want to develop a front end tool that can let a user assemble some logic from a set of pre-defined components. The GUI will resemble a flowchart but have the distinction that the visual representation also encompasses objects which can be executed. So for example a database icon dragged onto the desktop would let the user define the data source and driver type. A printer icon will allow the user to define the IP address and port number. The scope of the functionality will be very narrow because the nature of the application limits what can be done. When the user has finished designing the business logic / flow on screen he can "execute" it. The application will be non-interactive and inputs / outputs will be from network ports, databases and OPC sources. It would be nice (but not mandatory) to see the active steps on screen by changing the colour of the relevant graphical (flowchart) component.

To better understand what I am rambling on about I have a couple of screen dumps from some prototypes which I have created previously.

The bit which I'm struggling with is the drag and drop functionality - which is going to get a lot more complicated as I progress. At the moment I can drop items from the toolbox onto my scrollable panel - but then I will need to link them on screen with lines / arrows etc.

So - before I go crazy trying to sort this all out - does anyone have sufficient experience with JGraph to let me know if I can use it instead of doing all the tricky coding myself. This application will be a "thick" swing application. I would like to define my own symbols and limit the set available. I would like to be able to associate properties via a popup menu to each symbol - different types of symbols will have a different set of available properties etc. And most importantly I need to be able to analyse (step through) programatically the users flowchart - if not on-screen then enough to build a solution and execute it behind the scenes.

Also if there are any open source libraries which would be more suitable than JGraph then please let me know. I can probably zip the source for my prototype and upload it if anyone would prefer to look at what I've done so far.

Thanks in advance

[Thumbnail for jr1.jpg]
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