Panel

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After reading this page:

  • you've learned what panels are.
  • you've learned how panels relate to the Tygron Platform.
  • you've learned what types of panels are available to you.
  • you've learned common use cases of panels.
  • you've learned how to add and edit panels in a project.


Panels

In a software context, panels are windows, dialogs or similar generic interface elements which are presented to the user. Panels can either be small prompts or dialogs which facilitate an inquiry or message towards the user, or they can be larger, more complex interface components containing multiple texts and/or elements.

Usage within the Tygron Platform

In a project, panels are a term specifically used for a user-defined interface element, which can be created and configured in the editor. Panels are purposefully left generic and abstract. The contents are entirely left open for a project- or template-specific implementation. A panel can be placed inside the 3D World, where its location is indicated by a pop-up icon, which has to be clicked on to reveal the hidden panel. Panels can also be opened via client events or even left idle.

Most panels render HTML-content, which means they can display text without additional formatting. Further layout and styling can be implemented by using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This enables panels to also be opened in a web browser or included in the rendering of a web interface.

Types

There are 5 types of panels available in the Tygron Platform.

Panel type Description Function
Text panel Its contents are defined directly as text. The text is interpreted as HTML-content and directly displayed as content of the panel. If it is HTML-formatted content, it will be displayed according the specified styling.
Web panel Its contents are defined by a URL (web address). The web page to which is referred constitutes the content of the panel. When attempting to open the panel in a web browser, the web page will be accessed directly (i.e. not via the Tygron Platform).
Global panel One or more globals are linked to this panel, allowing an end-user to edit the values of those globals during a session. The panel has a predefined structure in the session interface and a fixed location. For each linked global an input field with that global's value is displayed. This value can be altered and submitted by the end-user in the session. The value of the global will be changed accordingly. This panel does not have an HTML-representation, hence it can neither be opened in a web browser nor can it be integrated in the web interface.
Excel panel Its contents are defined by an Excel file. Each time data in the project or session are updated, the Excel file is recalculated. The results are interpreted as (HTML-formatted) text and displayed as such. Effectively, this panel is similar to a text panel, but rather than a static definition of the text content, the definition is dynamically generated through the spreadsheet.
Template Excel panel This is not a panel in itself, but forms a definition by which panels can be generated automatically. The "instances" produced by a template panel behave the same as their 'regular' counterparts. Based on how the template panel is defined, a number of "instances" of the panel will be generated. Configurations, such as the size, model, and attributes of the panel are carried over directly. The panel name, the assigned stakeholder and certain queries from the Excel file are modified based on what the template panel is applied to.

Properties

Panels have a number of properties, which can be configured in the editor.

Property Description
Name When a panel is opened, its name is displayed at the top, telling the end-user what the panel is about.
Sizing The size of the panel can be adjusted, so that it fits the content well. It is also possible to set the location of the panel within the interface.
Availability When the panel is placed in the 3D world, it can be set to either be visible or invisible. If it is set visible, it can also be told whether to draw attention or not. The panel can also be made only accessible to a specific stakeholder or a selected group of stakeholders.
Visualization When the panel is placed in the 3D world, its corresponding pop-up icon is that of a green tick mark. However, there is selection of different icons available from which one can be chosen. The selected icon has both a 3D representation as well as a 2D representation for higher zoom levels and for the web interface.
Overlay A panel, in itself, may not provide all the information the user wishes to show. If its content is related to specific geographic information that belongs to a certain overlay, the panel can be coupled to that overlay. Whenever the panel is opened in the future, the coupled overlay will be applied simultaneously.
Content The core functionality of panels is displaying their content. Depending on the type of panel, the type of content can differ. In general, a panel without content has no purpose.

Attributes

Panels can have any number of arbitrary attributes, which allows for the attachment of additional data in an accessible and versatile fashion. Some attribute names are already reserved to fulfill a special function.

Attribute Unit Description
ATTENTION boolean This is an attribute representation of the attention property and determines whether or not the panel draws attention.
COLOR color The color of the 2D version of the pop-up icon designating the panel. This can be used to differentiate between multiple pop-ups.
POPUP_TYPE nominal integer The 3D model of the pop-up and its 2D counterpart. There can be chosen from a wide selection of models.
SCALE decimal value The size of the 2D model of the pop-up in the 3D world. Note that the size is only updated when the visibility of the panel is updated. This can be done either by (re)placing it in the world or toggling its visibility.
VISIBLE boolean This is an attribute representation of the visibility property and determines whether or not the panel is visible.
VISIBLE_TIMEFRAME integer The timeframe as of when the panel (pop-up) becomes visible during simulation. This attribute requires the attribute VISIBLE to be set to 1; if not, the pop-up will not show at all. The dynamic visibility of the panel (pop-up) is only apparent when simulating a weather effect and, therefore, will not work in a normal overlay simulation run. The visualisation and division of timeframes is automatically derived from the Water Overlay present in the project.

Use cases

Information

Panels are primarily used to provide information to the end user. Any text or images they display, provide a source of (static) content in the session. Especially text and web panels fall into this category. Excel panels can also provide dynamic information on the current state of affairs in the session.

Interaction

Panels can also offer options to interact with the session. This can be done by means of predefined answers or through buttons defined by the HTML content, which send instructions to the project via the API. Depending on the amount of effort that went into its making, panels allow for very complex interaction in the 3D world. All types of panels allow for the implementation of "answers", though text and Excel panels also work well with HTML buttons and input elements.

Calculation model

Another utility of panels is in the form of a hidden calculation model. The Excel spreadsheet attached to an Excel panel can contain a number of equations and formulations (queries) that yield a specific outcome. For example, in the case of a dynamic traffic model, information can be retrieved first (using SELECT-queries), after which these data are processed according the following specifications in the Excel file. The end product may be the calculated traffic intensities at various locations in the 3D world. Using UPDATE-queries, these results can subsequently be implemented in the 3D world. By turning off the visibility of the Excel panel, stakeholders will not notice anything of the underlying calculation model, except for its results (e.g., changing traffic intensities).

Web interface

Main article: Web interface

Depending on the experience you want to provide for the end user, the web interface can be enriched using your own piece of HTML, CSS and JavaScript code. This can be done within the web-interface functionality.

Adding and editing single panels

Adding/removing panels

Editor → Current Situation (Ribbon tab) → Panels (Ribbon bar)
The left panel for panels in the editor.

How to add a single panel:

  1. Select the desired panel type at the bottom of the left panel.
  2. Select "Add Panel".

How to remove a single panel:

  1. Select the "Single Panels" category in the left panel.
  2. Select the specific panel you wish to remove.
  3. Select "Remove".

Configuring panels

Editor → Current Situation (Ribbon tab) → Panels (Ribbon bar) → Panel (Left panel)

Properties

When you select a single panel, the right panel will be filled with the information pertaining to the panel. A number of properties can be configured.

The right panel for panels in the editor.
Property Description Example
Name The name of the panel can be adjusted in the Name field.
Input field for the panel name.
Panel Layout The location of the panel in unit pixels distance from the bottom-left corner of the display. The default location is assigned "-1". The left and right input fields refer to the horizontal and vertical position, respectively.
Input fields for the panel location.
Panel Width & Height The size of the panel in unit pixels. There is some space between the outer frame of the panel and the (inner) frame for the content within. The dimensions filled in the left and right input fields refer to the width and height of the outer frame, respectively.
Input fields for the panel size.
Visible The visibility of the pop-up model in the 3D world. If the panel has a location in the 3D world and its visibility is toggled on (i.e., "1"), a pop-up will show and can be interacted with. If the panel has no location in the 3D world or its visibility is toggled off, its pop-up will not show.
Checkbox for the panel visibility.
Request Attention This property determines whether or not the pop-up model should draw attention in the 3D world. If the panel is set visible, has a location in the 3D world and is also set to draw attention, its pop-up will start flashing upon appearance and the end user will be shown an arrow indicating its location.
Checkbox for the panel attention.
Assign to Stakeholder This property determines to which stakeholders the panel is accessible. If the checkbox is left unchecked, the panel is accessible to all stakeholders. If checked, only the stakeholder(s) indicated in the dropdown can access the panel. Other stakeholders will not be able to see the panel in the 3D world. If a stakeholder without access attempts to open the panel anyways, for instance through the web interface, they will receive an error message.
Checkbox and drop-down for the assigned stakeholder(s).
Model The model of the panel pop-up, which consists of both a 3D model and a 2D icon. The latter is used instead of the former for high zoom levels and the web interface. A selection of models is available in the drop-down menu.
Pop-up model used for in-map visualization.
Overlay If the panel is opened, this overlay should be activated to provide essential geographic information to the end user. If set to "NONE", no overlay is used. The overlays integrated in the current project are available in the drop-down menu.
Overlay activated when opening the panel.
Set Point A panel (pop-up) can be given a location in the 3D world. This can be done by selecting the button Set Point and using the brush to select its position. To remove it again from the 3D world, select the button Remove Point.
Settings regarding the geographical location of the pop-up.
Open Panel Selecting the Open Panel button gives the user a preview of the panel and its content inside the session interface. This can be useful for testing purposes. The panel can also be opened in the web browser by selecting Open in Web Browser.
Button and hyperlink to access a preview of the panel content.

Content

Depending on the type of panel, it may have different adjustable elements that control its content.

Element Instruction Example
Text Enter a text in the Panel Text field to make it the content of the panel. If the content is HTML-formatted, the content of the panel will be formatted accordingly.
The text content input field.
Web Enter a URL in the Web Link field and the assigned web page will be opened as content of the panel.
The URL input field.
Globals Select the globals that should be accessible through the panel.
The globals selection list.
Excel Select the Excel spreadsheet which should calculate the content for this panel.
The Excel selection button.

Adding and editing template panels

Adding/removing template panels

Editor → Current Situation (Ribbon tab) → Panels (Ribbon bar)

How to add a template panel:

  1. Select the "TEMPLATE_EXCEL_PANEL" type at the bottom of the left panel.
  2. Select "Add Panel".

How to remove an instance of a template panel:

  1. Select the "Template Panels" category in the left panel.
  2. Select the template panel from which the instance was generated.
  3. Select the specific panel you wish to remove.
  4. Select "Remove".

How to remove a template panel and all of its instances:

  1. Select the "Template Panels" category in the left panel.
  2. Select the template panel you wish to remove.
  3. Select "Remove".

Configuring and instantiating template panels

Editor → Current Situation (Ribbon tab) → Panels (Ribbon bar) → Template Panel (Left panel)

When selecting a template (Excel) panel, the right panel will provide a number of adjustable properties. Most of these are the same as for single panels, though with some important differences.

The right panel for template Excel panels in the editor.
Property Description Example
Name The name of the template panel. Each instance of a template panel carries a combination of this name and the name of the object.
Input field for the template panel name.
Stakeholder The stakeholder with access to this panel. Instead of setting a specific stakeholder, one can specify the type of relation required between the stakeholder and the object in question. If the Use Owner box is checked, whichever stakeholder owns the object at the time the template panel is being applied, is set to have access to the panel.

By selecting a Relational Filter only instances of the template panel appear that meet the displayed relational criterion with the configured stakeholder. For example, if the filter is set to "Demolisher", only instances of this template panel will be generated for objects of the selected stakeholder when fulfilling the role of demolisher.

Additional settings for assigning stakeholder(s).
Template The type of entity the template should be applied to can be selected in the Apply Template on drop-down. An additional filter can be implemented by selecting an attribute requisite from the With Attribute" drop-down. If these are set, only objects of the specified type that meet the specified attribute (i.e., contain a non-zero value) will have panel instances created.
Options for applying the template panel.
Apply template When the template panel is configured properly, it can be used to create the actual panel instances appearing in the project. Select "Apply Template" to create the panel instances according all criteria specified above. A message will be prompted, stating the number of panel instances created.
In order to create the instances, click the Apply Template button.

Note that, opposite to 'normal' panels, there is no option to directly evaluate the appearance of the template panel. This is because the template panel is merely a definition of how the actual instances should be structured, hence in itself is not an actual panel.

Editing panel instances

Newly created instances of a template panel are editable just like single panels. However, this is not recommended as any changes made to it will be lost the moment the parent template panel is reapplied. In order to achieve the envisioned outcome for specific panel instances, the parent template panel can be altered accordingly and subsequently reapplied to only these objects by selecting a specific common attribute as application criterion.

Adding and editing answers

A panel can be given "answers". These are buttons that are added to a panel and allow the end-user to close the panel by selecting from the specified options. These "answers" can be further supplemented through the attachment of events. When the user selects an "answer" that has one or more events attached to it, these events will get fired (triggered) and will affect the session accordingly.

Adding/removing answers

Editor → Current Situation (Ribbon tab) → Panels (Ribbon bar) → Panel (Left panel)

How to add an answer to a panel:

  1. Select the panel you wish to add an answer to in the left panel.
  2. Select "Add Answer".

How to remove an answer from a panel:

  1. Select the answer you wish to remove.
  2. Select "Remove".

Configuring answers

Editor → Current Situation (Ribbon tab) → Panels (Ribbon bar) → Answer of a panel (Left panel)

When selecting an answer, a number of properties can be configured in the right panel.

The right panel for panel answers in the editor.
Property Description Example
Answer Text This text will be displayed to the end user if the panels is opened and form one of the selectable options in the case of multiple answers.
Input field for the answer text.
Events One or more events can be coupled to this answer, which will then be fired (triggered) upon selecting this answer. The events are divided into 'server events' and 'client events'. Server events will also trigger changes in the state of the session, whereas client events will only affect the visualization for the end user who selected the answer.

For the exact steps for adding, removing, and changing events, please see Editing Events.

The events fired when the answer is selected.

Answers as part of template panels

Template panels can also have answers attached to them, which will then also apply to all of its instances. In the case that a template panel has a specific target object (e.g., NEIGHBORHOODS) and one of the answers features an event (e.g., NEIGHBORHOOD_SET_ATTRIBUTE), the event will only affect the specific target object it was created for.