“An integrated system for creating and presenting complex computer-based documents” by Feiner, Nagy and van Dam

  • ©Steven K. Feiner, Sandor Nagy, and Andries (Andy) van Dam




    An integrated system for creating and presenting complex computer-based documents



    An experimental system is described for the design, development, and presentation of computer-based documents that combine pictures and text on a high-resolution raster color display. Such documents can be used, for example, for maintenance and repair tasks or computer-aided instruction. Documents are directed graphs whose nodes we refer to as pages, in analogy to the pages of a paper book. A page includes a set of simultaneously displayed pictures, actions (procedures and processes) triggered when the page is accessed or when pickable picture elements on it are selected, and indexing information. Pages may be nested arbitrarily deeply in chapters that serve much the same organizing function as those of conventional books. The system is comprised of separate programs for laying out and drawing pictures, for graphically specifying the contents of pages, chapters, and their interconnections, and for displaying the document for user interaction. Examples are given from a prototype document for the maintenance and repair of computerized numerical control equipment. Emphasis was placed on designing actions for simple realtime animation (both by color table techniques and by transforming named primitives and manipulating their attributes), and for finding one’s way around the document (displays include: a “timeline” of recently visited pages, immediate predecessor and successor pages, sibling pages and their interconnections, and those pages satisfying key-word retrieval requests).


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