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The user interface for Sapphire

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1 Author(s)
Myers, B.A. ; Toronto Univ., Ont., Canada

Sapphire (the Screen Allocation Package Providing Helpful Icons and Rectangular Environments) is a powerful window manager running on the PERQ personal workstation. Following some background material, the author provides a tutorial on Sapphire's screen allocation package, focusing on its icons and user commands. The icons in Sapphire are intended to enhance the user's productivity when executing multiple tasks concurrently. Therefore, they present six pieces of information about the process being run, as well as two pieces of information about the status of the window. Thus, the user can easily tell whether the process running in the window has an error or wants attention and what percentage of the task has been completed. The user interface provides full functionality from both the pointing device and the keyboard and is easy for the novice while providing simple and powerful operations for experts. All commands are available from pop-up menus, but accelerators allow the most common commands to be executed with a single button press. The picture in the tracking symbol changes to show the operation that will be performed. This user interface promotes experimentation, since there is always appropriate feedback, and it is always possible to abort an operation once it has been started.

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 12 )