TableMaker: Definition Window
The TableMaker is used to construct relational tables of object names
and field values and underlies the construction of MultiMaps (see below). It is closely related
to the other query tools: Query Commands, Query by Example, and the Query Builder.
The TableMaker differs from other query tools in that you can use it
to display tags and values from within an object. The other tools
return only the names of objects that satisfy the query. Any
object names that appear will be clickable.
TableMaker uses three windows: the definition window, which allows you
to define your table; the data window, which displays the table once
it is calculated; and the MultiMap window, which is created by
pressing the map button in the data window. This help document covers
the definition window only. Separate help is available for the data window and MultiMap.
Once a table is constructed, its definition can be stored in the
directory ./wquery as **.def. Although you can edit the def file by
hand, we recommend that you edit it via the interface.
Menu items and Buttons in the Definition Window
- Quit: destroys the window.
- Help: displays this help page.
- Print: prepares a Post Script file in $ACEDB/PS
which you can print to your local laser printer.
- Save: Saves the present set of definitions into
the file Directory/FileName.qry if you have write access to Directory.
The ending .def is added automatically.
- Load: Loads the file Directory/FileName.def if it
- Search Whole Class: If you have just changed the
definitions, initiates a search of the whole database according to
your definitions and display the results. Else redisplays the same
data. In particular, modifying the width of a column or its visible/hidden
status does not initiate a new search.
- Search Active KeySet: Initiates a search of the
objects enumerated in the active KeySet according to your definitions
and displays the results. Using KeySets often speeds up information
retrieval considerably--see help on KeySets
for more details.
- Create definition: Creates space for a new
column definition. See below.
- Suppress definition: Removes the active
definition. You activate a definition by picking one of its boxes, for
example the hidden/visible button. BUG: It may happen that the
From/Right_of value is not correctly modified in the columns
following the one you suppressed, please verify.
Definition Window Features and Controls
The query system is applied twice in every definition: first, for the
tag field, to select the piece of data you want; second, for the
condition field, applied to the picked object or value.
- Number (left of "Title"): column number. Used
in the "From/Right_of" field of the other definitions (explained
- Title box: Edit after picking it with left
mouse button. Fill this in if you want a label to appear above the
column in the data window. Press enter to validate.
- Width box: Edit after picking it with the left
mouse button. Indicates the width of the column of data when
displayed. Press return to fix the value. You may have to adjust this
value to display particularly wide columns.
- Visible/Hidden button: Toggle with the left mouse
button by picking or directly with the right mouse button and a
pull-down menu. Hiding a column's definition means the corresponding
data will not show in the data window. This will reduce the number of
columns of the data display, but most probably, also the number of
lines. For example, if you show a paper in column 1, and its authors
in column 2, you will get as many lines as authors. But by hiding
author, you keep only one line.
- Optional/Mandatory button: Toggle with the left
mouse button by picking or directly with the right mouse button and a
pull-down menu. If a column's definition is mandatory, only the lines
satisfying it will be kept. This restriction applies even if the
corresponding definition is hidden.
- Class field: In column 1, Class is a pull-down
menu which can be activated with the left or the right mouse button.
It lists all the visible classes, but you should only select a
B-class (i.e., one that can be displayed in a text window). When you
then press the Search Whole Class button, only the corresponding
class will be explored. For subsequent columns, this box is usually
filled in for you, except if you want to see the Next_Tag (see
- From/Right_of button: Tells the system from
where it should recover the data for a particular column. By
default, one is extracting the values from the objects listed in
column one. But you may want to navigate further (join in
relational language). For example: Select class Paper in column 1.
In column 2 select: From 1, Author. Then in column 3: From 2:
e_mail. This will give the e_mail of the Authors of the Papers of
- From/Right_of button: Right_of 3 tells the system to look
for a field right of the entry listed in column 3, extracted from
the same object as column 3. For example. I can expand the above
table by a column 4: From 1: Page-Int (first page of paper), then
Right_of 4: Int to get the last page (assuming a model "Page Int Int")
- Tag button: Clicking brings up the tag chooser window showing the model of
the class for the column you are defining. Double pick an entry
there. Your active definition will change to reflect your choice. The
text box adjacent to the Tag button will show a query, and the Class
box will show the kind of element you chose.
Note: there are six basic kinds of elements to pick from in the tag
chooser. Integers, floats,
text, and dates are all
values. Links to other objects are classes. Finally,
there are tags. Your choice determines what the
TableMaker data window will display for the object being defined in
the corresponding column:
If you pick a value, the TableMaker data window will
display that value, if field is filled in.
If you pick a class, the data window will display the name
of that object, if field is filled in.
If you pick a tag, the data window will display that tag,
if it is used.
Ordinarily you accept what the TableMaker fills in for the Tag text
entry box and the Class box (unless you are familiar with the details
of query syntax). However, if you
picked a tag that is immediately to the left of a group of tags, you
may want to pull down the Class box menu and select Next_Tag. This
will direct the TableMaker to retrieve the adjacent tag or tags (if
used) and display them in the table.
- Condition field: is applied to objects for a
particular column. For example, the condition A* for Locus objects
would pass only loci whose names started with the character A.
Inside the condition box, %number will refer to the value of a
previous column. So the condition %4 > %3 will ensure that the
number listed in column 4 is larger than the one in column 3.
%%digit refer to external parameters substituted when reading the
definition file. This is useful in non-graphic mode since it allows
you to call parameterisable tables.
to Table of Contents
to help for the data window and MultiMap.
last edited: March 95