from Greg White July 2005

These ideas are from Greg to Viji when she was improving the java browser.
The suggestions, however may apply to the motif version too.


* Remove the File->Disconnect (and therefore also File->Connect) menu item(s) altogether. Certainly one should not have to File->Disconnect and answer "yes" to the Are You Sure dialog before being allowed to select File->Exit. The existing functionality means one has to go through 4 dialogs to exit, surely 2 is enough (File->Exit and "Are you Sure"). Action: Remove File->Disconnect menu choice, and just go through disconnect actions when user selects File->Exit.


* The "Save Screen" functionality should be renamed because it doesn't just save the current screen, it saves a logical list of messages. That list may all fit on the present screen or not. It's especially confusing since the "cmlog_save_dialog" includes one sub-dialog of 2 boxes for "Save From" and "To",  with a third (confusingly at the bottom of the dialog box) saying "Save current page", but there is no indication that these two sub-dialogs are mutually exclusive. Action: 1) Rename File->"Save Screen" to just "Save" (or maybe "Report"?), 2) Improve UI of cmlog_save_dialog so it's clearer that one saves either the current page, or all logical lines - maybe grey out "Save From" and "To" when Save Current Page is checked. 3) Also move "Save Current Page" up, so it's clear it goes with "Save From" and "To". 4) Change dialog box header "cmlog_save_dialog" to just "Save".

* The full pathname of the file saved should be displayed. Unless the user has specifically browsed to a file, they have no idea into which directory their output went. Action: save file confirmation messages should include full filename of file saved.

* A default full file pathname should be offered.


* Add functionality for clicking on a column to sort output by that column as primary index. Secondary index will always be time. Additionally, it may be nice to add ability to click on column heading twice to reverse the order!

* Add functionality for optionally wrapping long entries, especially in the Message column. Possibly also slightly color each row (like iTunes) so one can easily distinguish rows? This will really help use of cmlog for logging runtime exceptions from programs in the future - very useful indeed.


* Should not have to turn off Update to make a Query (or alternatively New->Query). Should really just be one menu selection, so Query always brought up a query window. That is, File->Query would be equivalent to "File->New, with update already toggled off in that window, followed by, in the new window, File->Query.

QUERYING Bugs or Weirdnesses

* File->"Query" should be renamed "Search". No one except CS majors know what query means.

* When I do a query, when I fill in the "Server searching message" box, and then click "Ok", I get a popup window saying "Searching message syntax error". This is because its expecting a query in the syntax of Berkeley Db's query language - but that's not all clear to a user, especially since the text on the dialog is "Server Searching message", which makes it sound like it's searching at least the "Message" field. Action: The simplest fix is to change the text to something like "query string". Ideally the dialog entry would be pre-filled with "Message has " in it. Additionally, if what the user entered contains no query verbs assume that the user meant "Message has".

* In the Help dialog window, which is supposed to help a user form a query, a user can make a selection, but it doesn't have any effect unless the tic the box also. Action: if they change an option the "use this option" check-box should self-tick.

* The "Get all messages" check box is too far from the "Get all messages" text, and it's unclear that the check box is associated with getting all messages at all because the "Number of messages to search" is below it. Action: make it clearer that "Get all Messages" and "number of messages to search" is one-or-the-other. It's easy to select a time in the future in the date/time selection system, it doesn't complain. but the default From and To are both the "present time". So if you then immediately click "ok" for the default query, you get an error message "Specified time interval error". Action: the default query should be valid, maybe all messages in the last hour. I don't think it should be possible to make a date/time selection in the future, and that should be checked right on the click up/down arrow event. That would give the user feedback about which arrow goes backward and which goes forward in time. Action: Change event processing on date/time up/down arrow selections to ignore times in future.


* Allow connection to >1 cmlog server simultaneously.


SLAC Last modified: 07-Jul 2005 by Ron MacKenzie