An Interactive Visual Query Environment for Exploring Data
Date of Original Version
Abstract or Table of Contents
Direct manipulation of visualizations is a powerful technique for performing exploratory data operations such as navigation, aggregation, and filtering. Its immediacy facilitates rapid, incremental, and reversible forays into the data. However it does not provide for reuse or modification of exploration sessions. This paper describes a visual query language, VQE, that adds these capabilities to a direct manipulation exploration environment called Visage. Queries and visualizations are dynamically linked: operations on either one immediately update the other, in contrast to the feedforward sequence of database query followed by visualization of results common in traditional systems.
These features are supported by the architectural concept of threads, which represent a sequence of navigation steps on particular objects. Because they are tied to particular data objects, they can be directly manipulated. Because they represent operations, they can be generalized into queries. We expect this technique to apply to direct manipulation interfaces to any object-oriented system that represents both objects and the relationships among them.
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