Nile Basin Decision Support System DSS User Interface Training

DSS User Interface
Nile
Basin Decision Support System
DSS User Interface Training Module
DSS User Interface
Revision History
Version
Date
Revision Description
0.1
21/11/2014
Initial draft
0.2
5/12/2014
Final version for approval
0.3
10/12/2014
Second final version for approval
i
DSS User Interface
Contents
Revision History............................................................................................................................................. i
1.
2.
Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 2
1.1.
Purpose ................................................................................................................................. 2
1.2.
Module pre-requisites ........................................................................................................... 2
1.3.
Expectations .......................................................................................................................... 2
1.4.
Conventions .......................................................................................................................... 2
1.5.
Module data .......................................................................................................................... 2
1.6.
Links to additional resources ............................................................................................... 3
1.7.
Problem Reporting Instructions .......................................................................................... 3
Lessons .......................................................................................................................................... 4
2.1.
General ................................................................................................................................. 5
Introduction................................................................................................................................................... 5
DSS Interface layout ...................................................................................................................................... 5
DSS User Interface components..................................................................................................................... 5
Exercises ..................................................................................................................................................... 10
Review Questions ........................................................................................................................................ 17
Answers ...................................................................................................................................................... 18
2.2. User Interface menu ................................................................................................................. 19
Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 19
Lesson pre-requisites ................................................................................................................................... 19
Menu bar elements ...................................................................................................................................... 19
The 'Connection' sub-menu .......................................................................................................................... 20
The 'View' sub-menu ................................................................................................................................... 20
The 'Settings' sub-menu ............................................................................................................................... 21
Exercises ..................................................................................................................................................... 22
Review Questions ........................................................................................................................................ 31
Answers ...................................................................................................................................................... 32
2.3. User Interface special windows ................................................................................................ 33
Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 33
Lesson pre-requisites ................................................................................................................................... 33
The 'Properties' window............................................................................................................................... 33
The 'Tools Explorer' window ....................................................................................................................... 33
Relation between the 'Properties' and the 'Tools Explorer' windows .............................................................. 35
Review Questions ........................................................................................................................................ 36
Answers ...................................................................................................................................................... 37
3.
References.................................................................................................................................... 38
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DSS User Interface
1. Introduction
This document is part of training modules for the Nile Basin Decision Support System
(DSS). These modules are developed for use in classroom training that is given to Nile
Basin countries and as a self-learning training material that will be made available as
part of the DSS helpdesk and knowledgebase.
1.1. Purpose
The purpose of this document is to provide a tutorial to the DSS User Interface. The
tutorial starts with the basics and progressively increases in complexity.
1.2. Module pre-requisites
The following prerequisites are needed before taking this tutorial:
Software prerequisites: The Mike by DHI version 2014 and the DSS version 2.0 have to
be installed.
User prerequisites: None.
1.3. Expectations
Upon successful completion of the lessons, exercises and review questions in this
document, you will be familiar with most of the DSS User Interface functionalities.
1.4. Conventions
The following conventions are followed in this document:
means a tip for the user
means important information
1.5. Module data
None.
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DSS User Interface
1.6. Links to additional resources
In addition to the information presented in this module, below are links to additional
resources that you can access to obtain further information on the following:

DSS User Interface:

The DSS help file accessed by clicking on the
button.
1.7. Problem Reporting Instructions
This document will be updated regularly. Therefore, it is highly recommended to report
any spotted problem to helpdesk@nilebasin.org so it can be corrected in future versions.
When reporting the problem, you are kindly requested to provide the following:

Document title

Document version

Page number where the problem was spotted

A description of the problem
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DSS User Interface
2. Lessons
In this section the following lessons (with exercises) are included:

General: This lesson briefly introduces you to the DSS software layout and
components.

User Interface menu: This lesson shows you the functions under each menu bar
element (i.e. the connection, view and settings sub-menus).

User Interface special windows: This lesson introduces you to two special
windows which are the 'Properties' window and the 'Tools Explorer' window.
After completing the lessons and exercises in this section you will be familiar with
the DSS User Interface functionalities.
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DSS User Interface
2.1. General
Introduction
This lesson briefly introduces you to the DSS software layout and components. If
you are familiar with them you can skip this and move to the next lesson.
Topics covered in this lesson:

DSS software layout.

DSS User Interface components
Lesson objectives:
After completing this lesson, you will be familiar with DSS software layout and User
Interface components.
DSS Interface layout
The DSS Platform has a User Interface (UI) where all windows reside under a
single parent window, referred to as the Shell. The Shell contains the following (See
Figure 1):

Menu bar: where menu items are accessed

Status bar: where information such as logged user name, database name
and operation status are displayed.

Dockable child windows (See the DSS User Interface components section
for details). Some of these windows can have tabs such as the 'Properties'
window.

Splitters for resizing the child windows.
DSS User Interface components
Figures 2 and 3 show the various windows that can be configured within the DSS
User Interface. These are
1. The Data Explorer (or Explorer window): where the explorers along with their
objects (e.g. Time series in Time Series explorer) are organized in user defined
groups and subgroups.
2. The Data view: This is an area to visualize data that is selected in the data
explorer. Examples of the data that can be viewed in the data view are:
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DSS User Interface

The Map window: where the GIS data is viewed.

The Table window: where tables or GIS attributes data are displayed

The Spreadsheet window: where spreadsheet data is displayed
The above windows can either be arranged in one window in tabs as shown in
Figure 2 or in more than one view as shown in Figure 3.
3. Tools Explorer window: The 'Tools' is a special type of explorer where the tools
that are relevant to DSS object (e.g. time series) are accessed.
4. The Properties Window: where the selected DSS object data or tool properties
are displayed, property values are set and selected tools are executed.
All of the above windows may be docked where the user prefers or may not be
docked at all. Window docking is explained in the arranging windows exercise.
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DSS User Interface
Figure 1: DSS User Interface elements
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DSS User Interface
Figure 2: DSS window types (Data view windows arranged in tabs)
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DSS User Interface
Figure 3: DSS window types (Data view windows arranged in more than one view)
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DSS User Interface
Exercises
Arranging windows
1- In the DSS, Click on the title bar of a child
window and drag.
2- Once you start to drag the window, you will notice that a number of docking locations or handles appear and also a box that
represents the window as shown below.
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DSS User Interface
3- Drag the box that represents the window and drop into, for example, the docking location at the top. This moves the window to the
top of the view as shown below and docks it there.
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DSS User Interface
Try to drag and drop the window into other docking locations.
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DSS User Interface
might appear. They function in the same way described above.
Resizing windows
1- In the DSS move the mouse to the location of a splitter
between two windows. Once the mouse cursor changes to
a double arrow (
), drag the splitter. Note the
change of the style of the splitter when dragged.
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DSS User Interface
2- As you drag the splitter, the window size will change.
Once the new size of the window is OK, drop the splitter.
Maximizing, minimizing and closing windows
1- In the DSS the various windows have a number of
buttons in its title bar. These buttons can vary based on
the window type. As an example, the 'Properties' window
has 3 buttons as shown.
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DSS User Interface
2- Clicking on the
button will maximize the windows
(to its maximum possible extent) and the button changes
to
. Clicking again on this button restores the previous
size of the window.
The
button is only viewable when windows are arranged in the same region.
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DSS User Interface
3- Clicking on the
button will minimize the window as
shown. Hovering the mouse over the minimized window
will expand it but as a floating window over the others.
4- Clicking on the
button will close the window
5- There is an additional button in the data view (see
next window) that allows you to quickly select a window
that is displayed within the data view or scroll the tabs
left and right when the space is not enough to show all
tabs.
To select a window, click on the
button. A list of
windows displayed in a data view appears. Select the
window that you are after.
To scroll the tabs left and right when the space is not
enough to show all tabs, add a number of windows as
shown next until the right arrow changes from
to
.
Click now on right arrow to scroll the tabs and show the
remaining windows. Note how the shape of the arrows
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DSS User Interface
change as you move scroll.
Review Questions
1. What is the DSS 'Shell'?
2. Give three examples of the DSS User Interface window types.
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DSS User Interface
Answers
1. The 'Shell' is the User Interface parent window where all child windows
reside.
2. Examples are:

The Explorer windows.

The Map window.

The Table window.
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DSS User Interface
2.2. User Interface menu
Introduction
This section introduces you to DSS menu bar elements.
Topics covered in this lesson:

The 'Connection' sub-menu.

The 'View' sub-menu.

The 'Settings' sub-menu.
Lesson objectives:
By the end of this lesson, it is anticipated that you will be familiar with the DSS User
Interface menu elements.
Lesson pre-requisites
None.
Menu bar elements
The Menu bar in the DSS is located below the Title bar. Its position is fixed and
cannot be moved as other windows (See Figure 4).
Figure 4: the Menu bar
It has the following three sub-menus:

The 'Connection' sub-menu.
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DSS User Interface

The 'View' sub-menu.

The 'Settings' sub-menu.
The functionalities of each sub-menu are described in the sections below
The 'Connection' sub-menu
This menu has two items login and exit (See Figure 5). The 'login' option allows you
to login to a different database or workspace and/or as a different user. The 'exit'
option closes the DSS.
Figure 5: The 'Connection' sub-menu
The 'View' sub-menu
This menu has three menu items (See Figure 6). The 'Start Page' option displays
the DSS start page in case it is closed. The 'Properties' option displays the
properties window. The 'Explorers' option allows you to activate and deactivate
explorers. It also allows you to set the DSS windows layout to the default view (See
Figure 7).
Figure 6: The 'View' sub-menu
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DSS User Interface
Figure 7: The DSS default view
The 'Settings' sub-menu
This menu has four menu items (See Figure 8). The 'Change Password' option
allows you to change the password of the logged-in user. The 'User Options' option
allows you to manage a number of Misc. options such as External tools, Message
level and DSS visual style. The 'External tools' option is used to add or edit the
properties of the tools created for the logged in user using the ‘External Tools’
option under Settings Menu as described next. The 'Message level' changes the
level of messages displayed by the system when errors occur. The 'Tool Output
Configuration' option allows you to . The 'External Tools' option allows you to run
external tools (e.g. notepad) from the DSS menu1.
Figure 8: The 'View' sub-menu
1
This is further explained in the Exercises section
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DSS User Interface
Exercises
Login to the DSS
1- On the 'Connection' menu, click login.
2- You can either select one of the existing
connections or click 'Setup' button in the
'Login' dialog box. In this case we will
create a new connection.
In the 'Connection Manager' dialog, click
the 'Add' button to add a new connection.
The manager lists all available connections.
Fill in the properties of the connection as
follows and click 'OK':
Connection name: Any representative name
can be used here (e.g.
nbdss_connection).
Server: This is the IP to the server. Can be
'localhost' if the server is on the same
PC as the DSS.
Port: is by default 5432
Database: Database name as created
(case-sensitive). This is best done using
the ‘Copy-Paste’ tools of the operating
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DSS User Interface
system.
Database type: PostgreSQL
The 'nbdss' is the database you need to create before running this exercise. If this
database does not exist, you will have to create a new one now (See Database Manager
Utility and System Manager training module for details).
3- Select the newly created connection and
click the 'Close' button. This closes the
dialog – not the database.
4- The NB DSS Login dialog is displayed
again with the selected connection.
Login to the database using ‘admin’ as user
name and 'dssadmin' as password without
quotations or use your own user name and
password if you have them.
If the connection is sucessful, the DSS interface will appear showing at the bottom left
corner the user name 'admin' and the connected database 'nbdss'. The workspace name
will be appended to the Shell title
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DSS User Interface
If for any reason the connection properties were not entered correctly or a
connection is not needed any more, the 'Connection Manager' dialog allows
the user to 'edit' or delete existing connections.
6- If any of the connection properties is wrong, a red exclamation mark appears next to
the setup button (see next figure). Clicking on this mark shows what is wrong. For
example, in this case, the database name was entered as 'nbdssw' rather than 'nbdss'.
The error message shows that the database name does not exist. The error message
explains which property is set to a wrong value.
Try changing other properties and see what the error message is.
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DSS User Interface
Close and display the start page
1- By default when the DSS starts, it
displays the start page. To close it, click on
the
button.
2- To display the start page, on the 'View'
menu, click 'Start Page'.
3- The start page is shown again.
The 'Properties' window can be closed and displayed in the same way
explained above but using the 'Properties' option under the 'View'
menu.Depending on where you drop the dragged windows, additional arrows
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DSS User Interface
4- You can change the view within the
Start page by modifying the URL in the
'Misc' properties within the 'Properties'
Windows. This URL can be, for example,
the path to a file or an internet web page.
Change the URL to www.nilebasin.org2.
What do you notice?
Change back the URL to 'C:/Program Files
(x86)/DHI/Nile Basin
DSS/WelcomePage.htm'
What do you notice?
Activating an explorer
1- In the DSS, the explorer windows
are activated using the
menu.
For example, to activate the 'Gis'
explorer, click on
menu, click
“Explorers…” and the Explorer
Configuration box appears. Tick the
box next to 'Gis' explorer.
2
Make sure you are connected to the internet either wise this will not work
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DSS User Interface
2- 'GIS' explorer should appear
within the DSS window.
Explorer windows can be deactivated in the same way explained
above but by un-ticking the box next to it.
Changing the DSS visual style
1- On the 'Settings', click on
the 'User Options' option.
2- The default visual style is
'Office2007Blue'.
3- Change the visual style to
'MediaPlayerBlue' and then
click the save button.
4- The DSS visual style changes as shown below
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DSS User Interface
Adding an external tool command
1- On the 'Settings', click on the 'External
tool' option.
2- The 'External tool' Dialog appears as shown below. Click on the Add button to add a
command to an external tool.
3- Once the Add button is clicked a new tool item appears and its properties become
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DSS User Interface
editable as shown below.
Fill the inputs as follows:
Title: sub-menu item caption that appears under the 'Settings' menu. Input 'Notepad'
Command: location of the tool. Input 'C:\Windows\notepad.exe'
Argument: additional arguments that are added to the command line when the external
tool is executed (e.g. File name). Leave this empty for this exercise
Initial Directory: A directory that the external tool uses when it shows an 'open' 'save' or
'save as' dialog boxes. Input 'C:\Windows\ '
4- The dialog should look like below after setting the inputs for 'Notepad'
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DSS User Interface
Click OK to save the inputs.
5- Click on the Settings menu. A new item
is now added to the menu and it is called
'Notepad'.
Click on the 'Notepad' menu item. What do
you notice?
The properties of this tool can be edited
using ‘User Options…’ External Tools
collection property.
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DSS User Interface
Review Questions
1- List the main DSS menu items.
2- User password can be changed from the 'Connections' sub-menu.

True

False
3- DSS visual style can be changed from the 'View' sub-menu.

True

False
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DSS User Interface
Answers
1- The main DSS menu items are:

The 'Connection' sub-menu.

The 'View' sub-menu.

The 'Settings' sub-menu.
2- False.
3- False.
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DSS User Interface
2.3. User Interface special windows
Introduction
This lesson introduces you to two special windows which are the 'Properties' window
and the 'Tools Explorer' window.
Topics covered in this lesson:

The 'Properties' window including its main, change log and Metadata
components.

The 'Tools' window.
Lesson objective:
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

Understand the properties window functions and components

Use the 'Tools' explorer
Lesson pre-requisites
None.
The 'Properties' window
When a DSS entity or tool is selected, its corresponding properties are displayed in
the 'Properties' window (If properties are activated). All or some of the properties
can be edited, and changes will be applied instantaneously with no explicit save
operation required. For a data entity, the 'Properties' window not only holds the
properties on the entity but also its change log and metadata. An example of the
properties for feature class is shown in Figure 9.
The 'Tools Explorer' window
Tools are DSS components that can be used, for example, to analyze and process
DSS data entities (such as time series or map layers). Tools are presented in a
context sensitive manner in the Tools Explorer. For example, time series relevant
tools are made available only when a time series is selected in the Time series
explorer or in the legend on a time series chart. Similarly, GIS tools are only
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DSS User Interface
presented when map layers are selected in GIS Explorer or in the legend on a map.
These context sensitive tools are listed within the 'Tools Explorer' as shown in
Figure 10. The 'Tools Explorer' can be activated and deactivated as explained in the
exercise that shows activating an explorer so it is similar to other explorers but it
only holds DSS tools. It also has a search box to facilitate finding a tool.
Figure 9: Properties window example
Figure 10: Tools Explorer window
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DSS User Interface
Relation between the 'Properties' and the 'Tools Explorer' windows
The 'Properties' and the 'Tools Explorer' windows are interlinked. When a tool is selected
in the 'Tools Explorer', the tool settings will appear in the 'Properties' window. The
settings of the tool can be edited and changes will be applied instantaneously with no
explicit save operation required. Figure 11 shows an example of a simple tool that
measures the length of line (GIS feature). You can see that the name of the tool is
displayed in the 'Properties' window and below that come the tool settings which in this
case the unit of the length.
Figure 11: Tool settings in the 'Properties' window
In addition to the above, tools are run within the 'Properties' window using the
button. When clicking this button, a list of available output options will be listed (can be
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DSS User Interface
only one option for some tools). Each output tool represents one possible way to
visualize or save the result of the tool execution. You need to select the desired output
option to execute the tool.
After configuring and running a tool, its settings can be saved for later use. This is done
by clicking on the
button in the 'Properties' window. After saving, the saved tool
settings will appear as a new node under the tool node (See Figure 12). The saved tool
only preserves the settings, not the input items, hence a saved tool can be executed on
any supported input items. To run a saved tool, simply select it in the toolbox. More
exercises on the use of tools can be found in, for example, the Time series and GIS
training manuals.
Figure 12: Saved tool settings
Review Questions
1. Explain how tools are listed in the 'Tools Explorer'.
2. The 'Properties' window holds the data of a DSS entity.

True

False
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Answers
1. Tools are listed in a context sensitive manner in the Tools Explorer. For example,
time series relevant tools are made available only when a time series is selected
in the Time series explorer. Similarly, GIS tools are only presented when map
layers are selected in GIS Explorer.
2. False.
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DSS User Interface
3. References
-
Nile Basin Decision Support System help file (DSS Ver. 2.0)
-
Nile Basin Decision Support training material (developed in 2013 and 2014)
-
DHI training material for the Nile Basin Decision Support (developed in 2012)
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