Chisio : a visual framework for compound graph editing and layout
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Graphs are data models, widely used in many areas from networking to biology to computer science. Visualization, interactive editing ability and layout of graphs are critical issues when analyzing the underlying relational information. There are many commercial and non-commercial graph visualization tools. However, overall support for compound or hierarchically organized graph representations is very limited. We introduce a new open-source editing and layout framework named Chisio for compound graphs. Chisio is developed as a free, easy-to-use and powerful academic graph visualization tool, supporting various automatic layout algorithms. It is written in Java and based on Eclipse’s Graphical Editing Framework (GEF). Chisio can be used as a finished generic compound graph editor with standard graph editing facilities such as zoom, scroll, add or remove graph objects, move, and resize. Object property and layout options dialogs are provided to modify existing graph object properties and layout options, respectively. In addition, printing or saving the current drawing as a static image and persistent storage facilities are supported. Saved graphs or GraphML formatted files created by other tools can be loaded into Chisio. Furthermore, a highlight mechanism is provided to emphasize subgraphs of users interest. The framework has an architecture suitable for easy customization of the tool for end-users’ specific needs as well. Also Chisio offers several layout styles from the basic spring embedder to hierarchical layout to compound spring embedder to circular layout. Furthermore, new algorithms are straightforward to add, making Chisio an ideal test environment for layout algorithm developers.
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