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Object model for a user interface

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20120284653 patent thumbnailZoom

Object model for a user interface


Various embodiments provide techniques and processes for defining elements of a user interface (UI) using a tree of objects created based on a markup language. In some embodiments, a client application provides markup that defines one or more aspects of a UI to an application programming interface (API). The API parses the markup to determine a namespace and one or more UI elements defined by the namespace. Instances of the UI elements are created, and properties of the UI elements are set on the instances. A user interface may then be displayed that includes the instances of the UI elements.
Related Terms: Namespace

Browse recent Microsoft Corporation patents - Redmond, WA, US
Inventors: Shawn A. Van Ness, Paul J. Kwiatkowski, Nikhil Dang, Martyn S. Lovell
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120284653 - Class: 715760 (USPTO) - 11/08/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >Mark Up Language Interface (e.g., Html)

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120284653, Object model for a user interface.

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US 20120284653 A1 20121108 US 13550278 20120716 13 20060101 A
G
06 F 3 01 F I 20121108 US B H
US 715760 OBJECT MODEL FOR A USER INTERFACE US 12163367 20080627 US 8245144 US 13550278 Van Ness Shawn A.
Newcastle WA US
omitted US
Kwiatkowski Paul J.
Bellevue WA US
omitted US
Dang Nikhil
Redmond WA US
omitted US
Lovell Martyn S.
Seattle WA US
omitted US
Microsoft Corporation 02
Redmond WA US

Various embodiments provide techniques and processes for defining elements of a user interface (UI) using a tree of objects created based on a markup language. In some embodiments, a client application provides markup that defines one or more aspects of a UI to an application programming interface (API). The API parses the markup to determine a namespace and one or more UI elements defined by the namespace. Instances of the UI elements are created, and properties of the UI elements are set on the instances. A user interface may then be displayed that includes the instances of the UI elements.

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PRIORITY

This application is a divisional of and claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §121 to application Ser. No. 12/163,367 filed on Jun. 27, 2008 and titled “Object Model for a User Interface,” the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Object-oriented programming (OOP) provides techniques for creating binary software components (objects) that can interact with each other. One example of OOP is the Component Object Model (COM). COM specifies an object model and programming requirements that enable this object interaction. A COM object can be created using one of a variety of different programming languages (e.g., C++, Visual Basic, and so on). The flexibility and simplicity of COM have enabled it to become a widely adopted and long-lived standard. However, certain aspects of COM present challenges when creating a graphical user interface (GUI).

First, COM typically lacks the ability to support a new object class which extends from a base class. As a result, a first party is unable to create a COM object that derives from and extends a COM object that is created by another party. Second, it is difficult to interface COM objects with declarative markup languages (e.g., XAML) to specify layouts, appearances, behaviors of a particular part or parts of a GUI. These particular challenges can make it difficult for COM to be used to implement a GUI.

SUMMARY

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.

Various embodiments provide techniques and processes for defining elements of a user interface (UI) using a tree of objects created based on a markup language. In some embodiments, a client application provides markup that defines one or more aspects of a UI to an application programming interface (API). The API parses the markup to determine a namespace and one or more UI elements defined by the namespace. Instances of the UI elements are created, and properties of the UI elements are set on the instances. A user interface may then be displayed that includes the instances of the UI elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The same numbers are used throughout the drawings to reference like features.

FIG. 1 illustrates one example of an operating environment in which various principles and techniques described herein for generating user interface elements can be employed in accordance with one or more embodiments.

FIG. 2 illustrates one example of an object-oriented architecture that can implement techniques and processes for user interface creation discussed herein, in accordance with one or more embodiments.

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of one example process for generating user interface elements utilizing techniques discussed herein, according to one or more embodiments.

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of one example process for generating user interface elements utilizing the object-oriented architecture discussed herein, according to one or more embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Overview

Various embodiments provide a user interface (UI) platform that implements aspects of a markup language (e.g., XML, XAML, and so on) and object-oriented programming methods to provide flexible and customizable ways of defining and/or generating a graphical UI. While the UI platform is discussed with reference to component object model (COM) methodology and terminology, this is not intended to be limiting, and any suitable object-oriented programming methodology may be utilized without departing from the spirit and scope of the claimed embodiments.

The UI platform includes a User Interface Object Model (UIOM) that enables developers to create new object class types that inherit and/or override functionality from base classes. UIOM also enables objects and/or object properties to be referenced by name (e.g., within a namespace), such that objects and/or properties can be coded in a markup language to specify the layout, appearance, and/or behavior of one or more aspects of a UI. In some embodiments, UIOM includes an application programming interface (API) that manages the loading, registration, instantiation, and/or initialization of UIOM classes. A UIOM class may also inherit properties and/or behavior from a base class defined by UIOM.

In an implementation example, the UI platform receives markup from a client application that defines one or more aspects of a UI. The UI platform then parses the markup looking for a namespace and a class name of a UI object within the namespace. In some embodiments, a namespace comprises multiple class type objects, with each class type object representing one or more UI elements such as a button, a textbox, a banner, and so on. In this example, if the platform encounters the markup “acme:textbox”, the platform recognizes that the markup designates the namespace “acme” and the “textbox” class name within the “acme” namespace. The UI platform then creates a tree of one or more COM objects that correspond to the namespace “acme” and class name “textbox”, and sets properties (e.g., visual attributes such as size, color, and so on) on the object(s) within the tree. The tree includes a “textbox” node with particular properties, and the “textbox” node is used to display a textbox in a UI. As discussed above, the “textbox” node may inherit properties and or functionally from a UIOM base class.

In the discussion that follows, a section entitled “Operating Environment” is provided and describes an environment in which one or more embodiments can be employed. Following this, a section entitled “Example Architecture” is provided and describes one example of an object-oriented architecture that can implement various principles and techniques discussed herein. Next, a section entitled “Example Processes” discusses a few examples of processes that may implement various techniques discussed herein for defining and/or generating various aspects of a user interface. Following this, a section entitled “Implementation Specifics” discusses a variety of implementation details for implementing the UIOM architecture in one or more embodiments. Finally, some example object interfaces are provided that implement a variety of UI creation methods that utilize the UIOM architecture.

Operating Environment

FIG. 1 illustrates generally at 100 one example of an operating environment that is operable to employ one or more aspects of the UI platform, in accordance with one or more embodiments. Environment 100 includes a computing device 102 having one or more processors 104, one or more input/output devices 106, and one or more computer-readable media 108. The computing device 102 can be embodied as any suitable computing device such as, by way of example and not limitation, a desktop computer, a portable computer, or a handheld computer such as a personal digital assistant (PDA), cell phone, and the like. The computing device 102 is configured such that it can interface with one or more networks (not shown), such as a local area network, a wide area network, the Internet, the World Wide Web, and so on.

Stored on computer-readable media 108 are one or more client applications 110 and a UI platform 112. Examples of client applications include a web browser, a media rendering application, an instant messaging client, a web development application, and so on. As part of UI platform 112 are markup parser 114, a User Interface Object Model (UIOM) framework 116 and UI customization features 118. Markup parser 114 processes markup code and converts the markup into a form that can be utilized by the UI platform. The UIOM framework is an object model that provides, among other things, the ability for class types to extend and/or override functionality in base classes, as well as functionality for creating and initializing instances of classes based on markup namespace identifiers. The UI customization features enable developers and other parties to create custom UI objects and/or properties that can be used by the UIOM framework to create a UI.

Example Architecture

FIG. 2 illustrates at 200 one example of an object-oriented architecture that may implement the techniques and processes for UI creation discussed herein. The architecture may be implemented in connection with any suitable hardware, software, firmware, or combination thereof. As part of the architecture are one or more client applications 110, examples of which are given above. Illustrated at 202 are some of the core objects of the UIOM framework. These core objects include a Type Manager 204, a Namespace Manager 206, and a Class Type Manager 208. Illustrated at 210 are some UI customization objects that can be created and/or otherwise utilized by the UIOM framework to create a UI. These UI customization objects include, in this example, a Namespace Type Factory 212, a Class Type Object 214, a Base Class Type Object 216, one or more Class Instances 218, and one or more Base Class Instances 220.

Each of the objects in architecture 200 includes one or more interfaces that can expose functions and/or methods that can be accessed by applications, objects, and/or processes to implement the techniques for UI creation discussed herein. In this particular example, the double-headed arrows indicate that a particular object is created and/or owned by another object, application, and/or process. For example, Type Manager object 204 may be created by client application 110. The single-headed arrows indicate that one object is holding a reference to another object. Implementation examples of architecture 200 and its interfaces and methods are discussed below.

In example architecture 200, the Type Manager object is a top-level interface to the UIOM framework. The Type Manager manages loading and creation of classes of objects for one or more namespaces. In some embodiments, a namespace represents one or more sets of related classes of UI elements that are defined by the same party (e.g., a software developer). One or more of the namespaces are represented by the Namespace Manager object 206, which handles communication with one or more Namespace Type Factory objects 212 provided by an entity that creates custom types (e.g., custom UI objects). A custom type is represented by the Class Type object 214, which specifies a base class type, and provides a factory for creating instances of the class. In some embodiments, the Class Type object provides functionality to query for class-specific interfaces to set properties, subscribe to events, and access other functionality that may be exposed by an interface.

Example Processes

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate examples of processes and operating scenarios that implement aspects of the principles and techniques discussed herein, according to one or more embodiments. These processes and/or scenarios are discussed in reference to architecture 200. This is not intended to be limiting, however, and the processes and/or scenarios may be implemented by any suitable architecture and/or UI framework. These processes can be implemented in connection with any suitable hardware, software, firmware, or combination thereof.

FIG. 3 illustrates at 300 a flow diagram that represents one process that utilizes the UIOM framework to generate a UI. At 302, a client application is launched. At 304, the client application provides markup to the UIOM framework. In some embodiments, the markup specifies one or more aspects of a UI (e.g., a textbox, a radio button, a banner, and so on). At 306, the markup is parsed to extract one or more UI specifications from the markup. The UIOM framework may include a markup parser and/or the UIOM framework may provide the markup to an external parser, which then returns the parsed markup to the framework for further processing.

At 308, the UIOM framework determines a namespace and a class name from the parsed markup. In one example, the UIOM framework receives the markup “acme:textbox”, from which it determines that the namespace is “acme” and the class name is “textbox”. At 310, the UIOM framework creates a tree of objects that includes one or more class types and class instances that correspond to the namespace and the class name. In the current example, the class instances include a textbox instance of the textbox class. At 312, one or more properties are set on the objects of the object tree, which may include the class instance(s). Continuing the current example, the size and color of the textbox are specified. At 314, one or more of the class instances are displayed. In the current example, this can include displaying the text box in a UI.

FIG. 4 illustrates a process 400 for utilizing one or more aspects of the UIOM architecture to generate a UI. Some aspects of process 400 explain in more detail certain implementation specifics of process 300, discussed above. Also, for purposes of example only, process 400 is discussed in reference to architecture 200.

At 402, a client application creates a type manager. In one example, the client application calls a CoCreateInstance( ) API that creates an instance of the type manager. At 404, to register a namespace with the type manager, the client application calls a method on the type manager (e.g., the RegisterNamespace method discussed below in the “Interfaces” section) and provides a string name of the namespace and an identifier (e.g., a class identifier) for a namespace type factory for the namespace. At 406, the type manager associates the string name with the identifier and a pointer to a namespace manager. Initially, the pointer value is set to null. At 408, the client application provides markup to the type manager and requests that the type manager parse the markup and create a tree of objects from the markup. At 410, the type manager parses the markup and determines one or more namespaces from the markup. The type manager may implement its own markup parser, or it may send the markup to an external parser to be processed. At 412, a class in the namespace is determined from the markup and, in response, a method is called that creates a namespace manager. In one or more embodiments, the namespace manager is not created until a class in the namespace is encountered and/or the client application calls an API to access a class in the namespace. This “on demand” aspect provides a more efficient and economical way of generating a UI and UI elements.

The type manager calls a method on the namespace manager that requests that a namespace type factory be created for the namespace (block 414). According to some embodiments, the type manager provides a globally unique identifier (GUID) to the namespace manager and requests that the namespace manager create a namespace type factory that is associated with the GUID. For example, a developer may create a namespace type factory and register the namespace type factory using the GUID. The namespace manager handles communication with the namespace type factory.

At 416, the namespace type factory is created and the namespace manager calls a method on the namespace type factory that asks the namespace type factory for its identifier (e.g., its namespace, its GUID, and so on). If the namespace type factory returns the identifier that the namespace manager used to request the creation of the factory, this verifies that the correct namespace type factory has been created. At 418, the client application calls a method that creates a class type manager. The class type manager provides one or more interfaces to class type objects that are to be created. At 420, the client application calls a method that creates a class type object. Using the example discussed above in FIG. 3, the client application calls a method on the namespace type factory that creates a class type object with the class name “textbox”.

To create an instance of the class, at 422 a method is called that creates a class instance. Using the example from FIG. 3, the class instance would comprise a textbox object. As one example of the creation of a textbox object, the class type manager includes an IUIClassFactory interface that provides a method for creating an instance of a class. This interface is accessible to one or more of the objects in the UI architecture, as well as the client application. The object(s) and/or the client application may call the method to initiate the creation of the class instance. At 424, one or more base class instances for the class instance are created. In one or more embodiments, the base class instances include functionality and/or properties that the class instance inherits from the base classes. A base class instance may include one or more interfaces for registering properties for the base class. The class instance may also override and/or extend properties and functionality of one or more of its base classes. At 426, properties are set on the class instance and/or its base class instance(s). Properties may include visual aspects (e.g., size, color, and so on) as well as behavior and functionality.

This example process is effective to create a tree of objects that are used to define one or more aspects of a UI. For purposes of simplicity, this example process discusses the creation of a tree that includes a single instance of a single class and one or more base classes (i.e., the text box instance of the text box class). However, in many implementation scenarios, a tree of objects will be created with multiple different class types, class instances, and base classes.

Implementation Specifics

The following sections discuss particular UIOM implementation specifics, according to one or more embodiments.

Implementation Inheritance

In some embodiments, the UIOM framework utilizes a DependencyObject base class, from which one or more class types may inherit properties and/or functionality. The DependencyObject type exposes interfaces for accessing properties and for subscribing to and raising UIOM events. For generating a UI, a hierarchy of objects that define different aspects of the UI may descend from the DependencyObject type.

In some embodiments, the UIOM framework utilizes COM-based aggregation techniques such as blind aggregation. The following pseudo-code illustrates one example of a ToggleButton class that inherits properties and/or functionality from a Button class using COM-based aggregation:

class ToggleButton :   public CComObjectRootEx<CComObjectThreadModel>,   public IUIToggleButton {   CComPtr<IUINamespaceTypeFactory> m_spCoreFactory;   ToggleButton(IUINamespaceTypeFactory pCoreFactory)   {     // Store a ref to the factory for types from the core namespace.     m_spCoreFactory = pCoreFactory;   }   CComPtr<IUIButtonBase> m_spButtonBase;   HRESULT FinalConstruct( )   {     // COM blind-aggregation to reuse the Button base class implementation.     m_spButtonBase = m_spCoreFactory-> CreateInstance(“Button”, GetUnknown( ));   } BEGIN_COM_MAP( )   COM_INTERFACE_ENTRY(IUIToggleButton)   COM_INTERFACE_ENTRY_AGGREGATE_BLIND-   (m_spButtonBase) END_COM_MAP( )   // Add only IUIToggleButton functionality   BOOL m_fToggled;   STDMETHOD IsToggled(BOOL* pValue)   {     return m_fToggled;   }   STDMETHOD Toggle( )   {     m_fToggled = !m_fToggled;   } }

In some embodiments, IUINamespaceTypeFactory is used for creating ClassTypes and ClassFactories are used for creating instances. The following is some sample UIElement Code that blind aggregates a TreeElement, which it creates by calling pClassFactoryTreeElement->CreateBaseInstance.

class ATL_NO_VTABLE CUIElement :  public CComObjectRootEx<CComSingleThreadModel>,  public CUIElementBase { public:  DECLARE_NO_REGISTRY( )  DECLARE_GET_CONTROLLING_UNKNOWN( )  BEGIN_COM_MAP(CUIElement)   COM_INTERFACE_ENTRY(IUIElement) COM_INTERFACE_ENTRY_AGGREGATE_BLIND- (_pUnkTreeElement)  END_COM_MAP( )  DECLARE_PROTECT_FINAL_CONSTRUCT( )  HRESULT FinalConstruct( )  {   _pUnkTreeElement = NULL;   return S_OK;  }  CHKMETHOD InitializeBaseClass(IUIClassFactory *pClassFactoryTreeElement)  {   RETURN_IF_FAILED(pClassFactoryTreeElement-> CreateBaseInstance(GetControllingUnknown( ), &_pUnkTreeElement)); >return S_OK;  }  void FinalRelease( )  {   if (_pUnkTreeElement)   {    _pUnkTreeElement->Release( );   }  } };

Creating a New Type and Overriding a Base Class Implementation In some embodiments, COM-based containment may be used to override a base class implementation. The following pseudo-code illustrates a new class WrapPanel that inherits from a Panel base class. In this example, the WrapPanel class overrides the IUILayout interface implementation utilized by the Panel base class. As illustrated below, new logic is provided by the new WrapPanel class for Measure and Arrange functions (indicated in bold below) of the Panel base class. Other interfaces implemented by the Panel base class may be blind aggregated by the WrapPanel class.

  class WrapPanel :     public CComObjectRootEx<CComObjectThreadModel>,     public IUILayout   {     CComPtr<IUINamespaceTypeFactory> m_spCoreFactory;     WrapPanel(IUINamespaceTypeFactory pCoreFactory)     {       // Store a ref to the factory for types from the core       namespace.       m_spCoreFactory = pCoreFactory;     }     CComPtr<IUILayout> m_spPanelBase;     HRESULT FinalConstruct( )     {       // COM blind-aggregation to reuse the Panel base class   implementation.       m_spPanelBase = m_spCoreFactory->   CreateInstance(“Panel”, GetUnknown( ));     }   BEGIN_COM_MAP( )     COM_INTERFACE_ENTRY(IUILayout) // override IUILayout interface     COM_INTERFACE_ENTRY_AGGREGATE_BLIND-     (m_spPanelBase)   END_COM_MAP( )     // Override IUILayout methods     STDMETHOD Measure(SIZE available, SIZE* pDesiredSize)     {       // Re-use base class implementation to measure children.       return m_spPanelBase->Measure(available, pDesiredSize);     }     STDMETHOD Arrange(SIZE available)     {       // Perform custom logic to arrange children in the       space available.       ...       ...       ...     }   }

Element Trees

In some embodiments, UIOM elements are COM objects, but are not necessarily created using the CoCreateInstance( ) API. One or more DLLs may be utilized to provide UIOM functionality, and the DLLs may provide one or more “element factories”, such as the namespace type factory, which are logically mapped to a markup namespace and include functionality to create instances of UIOM elements (e.g., a class instance) using an element name string (e.g., “acme:textbox” from the example given above). Utilizing these techniques, a tree of UI elements may be created starting with an outer object (e.g., a UI window frame) and creating internals for the outer object (e.g., a button and a textbox for the UI window frame). The element factories may also provide class type information and one or more interfaces for setting object dependency properties and subscribing to events. Pseudo-code for creating an UIOM element utilizing an element factory is provided below:

  // Init UserInterface framework factory for built-in types.   CComPtr<IUIUserInterfaceTypeFactory> spSCF = ::CoCreateInstance(CLSID_UserInterfaceCoreFactory);   CComPtr<IUIButton> spButton = spSCF->CreateInstance(“Button”);

In some embodiments, the UIOM framework utilizes a DependencyObject base class as the ultimate base class for UIOM objects. An IUIDependencyObject interface includes methods for obtaining and setting properties on UIOM objects. The pseudo-code illustrated below presents one implementation of the IUIDependencyObject as an implementation of IUITreeElement and/or IUITreeContainer interfaces, which define methods for object tree traversal, including references to one or more child nodes in an object tree and/or one or more pointers to a parent node.

  // Init UserInterface framework factory for built-in types.   CComPtr<IUIUserInterfaceTypeFactory> spSCF = ::CoCreateInstance(CLSID_UserInterfaceCoreFactory);   // Create outer window, a layout panel, and a trio of controls.   CComPtr<IUITreeElement> spOverlappedWindow = spSCF-> CreateInstance(“OverlappedWindow”);   CComPtr<IUITreeContainer> spWrapPanel = spSCF-> CreateInstance(“WrapPanel”);   CComPtr<IUITreeElement> spButton = spSCF-> CreateInstance(“Button”);   CComPtr<IUITreeElement> spTextBox = spSCF-> CreateInstance(“TextBox”);   CComPtr<IUITreeElement> spLabel = spSCF-> CreateInstance(“Label”);   // Wire up the tree.   CComPtr<IUIElementList> spChildren = spWrapPanel->   GetChildren( );   spChildren->Add(spButton);   spChildren->Add(spTextBox);   spChildren->Add(spLabel);   spOverlappedWindow->SetContent(spWrapPanel);

Properties

In some embodiments, retrieving and setting object properties uses a pair of Get/Set methods associated with one or more object interfaces. This is illustrated in the following pseudo-code:

spButton->SetWidth(34.5); spButton->SetHeight(67.8);

Underlying storage for property values can be implemented in a property system. In some embodiments, a property system stores property values for a variety of UI elements. When a value for a property is requested for a UI element (e.g., a width value for a text box), the value can be retrieved from the property system. For example, the DependecyObject may store property values for one or more object UI element properties. Further to the ToggleButton example discussed above, the property accessors may be strongly-typed wrappers for DependencyObject properties. This is illustrated below is pseudo-code:

// Add IUIToggleButton functionality STDMETHOD IsToggled(BOOL* pValue) {   CComQIPtr<IUIDependencyObject> spThisDO = GetUnknown( );   spThisDO->GetBoolValue(“IsToggled”, pValue); } STDMETHOD Toggle( ) {   CComQIPtr<IUIDependencyObject> spThisDO = GetUnknown( );   BOOL currentValue;   spThisDO->GetBoolValue(“IsToggled”, &currentValue);   spThisDO->SetBoolValue(“IsToggled”, !(currentValue)); }

In some embodiments, properties are set according to their string name and with a string value. This may be accomplished by accessing the UIOM element's IUIDependencyObject interface, as illustrated in the following pseudo-code:

CComQIPtr<IUIDependencyObject> spElementDO = spElement; spElementDO->SetStringValue(“IsToggled”, “True”);

Property Inheritance

Properties may be set on one or more elements in a tree of objects, even if an element is of an unrelated type. Thus, in some embodiments, property values can be considered to be inherited by one or more descendent tree elements. In some embodiments, an ancestor element on a tree (e.g., a parent node) does not know the set of properties for a child element. In these embodiments, a child element's properties are set on the node's namespace type factory object. The following example of pseudo-code sets the TextBox::FontSize property on an ancestor element higher up in a tree of elements:

  // Set the TextBlock::FontSize property on this panel, to be inherited by all child elements:   //  <Panel TextBlock.FontSize=“24”>   CComQIPtr<IUITextBlockProperties> spTextBlockProperties = spSCF->GetTypeInfo(“TextBlock”);   spTextBlockProperties->SetFontSize(spPanelElement, 24);

Properties may also be set on a descendant element based on one or more of its ancestor elements. These are known as attached properties. Properties may be set on the descendent element's namespace type factory object. The following pseudo-code sets a Panel::ZIndex property on a child element:

  // Set the Panel::ZIndex attached property, on the child element:   //  <Child Panel.ZIndex=“1”>   CComQIPtr<IUIPanelAttachedProperties> spPanelProperties = spSCF->GetTypeInfo(“Panel”);   spPanelProperties->SetZIndex(spChildElement, 1);

Client applications may use CoCreateInstance( ) to obtain a factory for one or more core UIOM classes, and may also use CoCreateInstance( ) to obtain a factory for a third party component that is developed outside of the core UIOM architecture. One example of a client application startup utilizing the core UIOM architecture and one or more third party components is illustrated in the following pseudo-code. The following pseudo-code:

(1) creates an instance of a type manager;
(2) registers one or more namespaces;
(3) instantiates IUINamespaceTypeFactory (if this has not already been done). In some embodiments, this is implemented before a class type is used in a namespace;
(4) retrieves a class factory for instantiating one or more classes; and
(5) saves the class factory for creating future instances of the class.

 CComPtr<IUITypeManager> spTypeManager;  ::CoCreateInstance(CLSID_UITypeManager, NULL, CLSCTX_INPROC_SERVER, _uuidof(IUITypeManager), (void **)&spTypeManager);  spTypeManager->RegisterNamespace(L“ThirdPartyNamespace”, CLSID_ThirdPartyNamespace);  CComPtr<IUINamespaceManager> spThirdPartyNamespace;  spTypeManager->GetNamespaceManager(L“ThirdPartyNamespace”, &spThirdPartyNamespace);  CComPtr<IUIClassFactory> spClassFactoryCoolButton;  spThirdPartyNamespace->GetClassFactory(L“CoolButton”, & spClassFactoryCoolButton);  CComPtr<ICoolButton> spCoolButton;  spClassFactoryCoolButton->CreateInstance(&spCoolButton);

Interfaces

This section presents several interfaces that may be implemented to generate a UI using the UIOM architecture. The interfaces are explained in Interface Design Language (IDL), and include an explanation of the functionality of each interface.

Interface: IUITypeManager: IUnknown

These interfaces are part of a UIOM API that controls the loading, registration, instantiation, and initialization of UIOM classes which, in some embodiments, inherit properties and/or functionality from the DependencyObject base class.

Various techniques may be described herein in the general context of software or program modules. Generally, software includes routines, computer-executable instructions, programs, objects, components, data structures, and so forth that perform particular tasks or implement particular abstract data types. An implementation of these modules and techniques may be stored on or transmitted across some form of computer-readable media. Computer-readable media can be any available medium or media that can be accessed by a computing device. By way of example, and not limitation, computer readable media may comprise “computer storage media”.

“Computer storage media” include volatile and non-volatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data. Computer storage media include, but are not limited to, RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by a computer.

CONCLUSION

The above-described principles and techniques provide for user interface creation using markup language and object-oriented programming techniques. Although the subject matter has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the subject matter defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described above. Rather, the specific features and acts described above are disclosed as example forms of implementing the claims.

What is claimed is: 1. A method implemented by one or more computing devices, the method comprising: receiving markup that specifies a user interface element; parsing the markup to extract a namespace and a class type from the markup; requesting, using the namespace and the class type, an instance of the user interface element, the instance corresponding to the class type; setting one or more properties of the instance of the user interface element; and making the instance available for display. 2. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the user interface element comprises a visual aspect of a user interface. 3. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the method is implemented via an application programming interface (API) executed by the one or more computing devices. 4. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein, in response to the act of requesting, a tree of objects is created that comprises a plurality of element types and the instance of the user interface element for each of the element types. 5. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the instance of the user interface element is associated with a base class from which the instance of the user interface element inherits one or more properties. 6. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the instance of the user interface element inherits a property from a base class and overrides a property of the base class. 7. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the one or more of the properties define visual attributes of the instance of the user interface element. 8. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the markup comprises a plurality of additional namespaces and a class type for each additional namespace of the plurality of additional namespaces. 9. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising displaying a user interface that comprises the instance of the user interface element. 10. A system comprising: one or more processors; one or more computer-readable storage devices; computer-executable instructions stored on the computer-readable storage devices and executable by the one or more processors to implement an application programming interface (API) to perform a method comprising: receiving markup that specifies a user interface element; parsing the markup to extract a namespace and class types from the markup; requesting, using the namespace and the class types, an instance of the user interface element, the instance of the user interface element corresponding to one of the class types and inheriting a property from the class type to which the instance of the user interface corresponds; setting one or more other properties of the instance of the user interface element; and making the instance of the user interface element available for display. 11. The system as recited in claim 10, wherein the user interface element comprises a visual aspect of a user interface. 12. The system as recited in claim 10, wherein, in response to the act of requesting, a tree of objects is created that comprises a plurality of element types and one or more instances of the user interface element for each of the element types. 13. The system as recited in claim 10, wherein the one or more other properties of the instance of the user interface element include a property inherited from a base class and a property overridden from the base class. 14. The system as recited in claim 10, wherein one of the one or more of the other properties defines a visual attribute of the instance of the user interface element. 15. The system as recited in claim 10, wherein the markup comprises a plurality of additional namespaces and a class types for each additional namespace of the plurality of additional namespaces. 16. A method implemented via an application programming interface (API), the method comprising: receiving markup that specifies user interface specifications; parsing the markup to extract the interface specifications; determining, based on the extracted user interface specifications, a namespace and a user interface object model (UIOM) class of objects within the namespace; requesting, using the namespace and the UIOM class of objects, an instance of the UIOM class of objects having a first property inherited from a base class; setting a second property of the instance of the UIOM class of objects; and making the instance of the UIOM class of objects available for display. 17. The method as recited in claim 16, further comprising creating a tree of objects that comprises the instance of the UIOM class of objects, the tree of objects defining at least part of a user interface. 18. The method as recited in claim 16, wherein the instance of the UIOM class of objects includes a third property overridden from the base class. 19. The method as recited in claim 16, wherein the API is part of a UIOM framework configured to generate a user interface based on the markup. 20. The method as recited in claim 16, wherein the instance of the UIOM class of objects is generated using a dynamic link library.


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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120284653 A1
Publish Date
11/08/2012
Document #
13550278
File Date
07/16/2012
USPTO Class
715760
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06F3/01
Drawings
5


Namespace


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