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GUI for multiple child mutiple parent

The standard Tree control as used in Windows Explorer, is excellent for navigating hierarchies in which each parent may have multiple children but each child has, at most a single parent.

Has anyone ever seen or used a control for navigating a hierarchy in which each child may also have multiple parents?

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, June 18, 2004

Isn't that called a family tree ?

That layout would work okay for simple cases, but it could get complex very quickly, especially if it wasn't based upon generations.

What is the application ? Perhaps someone has already represented this kind of data somehow.

Steve Jones (UK)
Friday, June 18, 2004

Is it possible to have multiple views?  Use a TreeView to show the relationship but have an option to show either view (Parents as they relate to chidlren or children as they relate to parents).  My guess is that a user would not be focused/need to see both relationships at once- It would depend on the context (so show the appropriate view based on need).  Can you give us more info-  What data are you trying to show?

Mike

MikeG
Friday, June 18, 2004

It's an idea for a new Horizontal business application (you know, the kind Microsoft will steal if it is successful) and I am at the early stages of musing about it and not ready to give out much in the way of detail.  BTW I do realize this is silly.  MY experience is that you are in no danger of anyone stealing your ideas.  When you actually present them you find you generally can't pay people to take them.

That aside, it involves displaying organizational information (that isn't the point of the software, just something it needs to do).  In an organization a given unit may have several parents.  For example the tech support in the finance department may be considered a child of both the finance department and the overall tech support department.

I had considered using a basic tree control and giving the option of showing child or parent relationships.  My first thought was to show both by having the first level children of any node be "parents" and "children" and have each of those have the parents and children as children.

I think this might be okay once one got used to it but I am concerned it would be very confusing to most users.

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, June 18, 2004

I think you're referring to a "directed acyclic tree".

Directed, in that there is a recognized flow - it's clear who's a parent, and who's a child.

Acyclic in that you can't get back to yourself by travelling in one direction - no loops.

Years ago I wrote a package for automatically laying out these graphs, but I'm sure there's much better software out there now.

Edward
Friday, June 18, 2004

Usually the relationships you describe are called "dotted line", because there's always one parent drawn with a solid line, and any number of other relationships drawn with, um, dotted lines.

Tom H
Friday, June 18, 2004

Edward,

Thanks for the terminology.  A Google search might prove fruitful now.

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, June 18, 2004

Let me correct myself then.

The proper term is Directed Acyclic Graph. Commonly referred to as DAG.

Edward
Friday, June 18, 2004

www.thebrain.com

does it help you?

artist
Friday, June 18, 2004

http://www.thebrain.com

artist
Friday, June 18, 2004

Been there, done that. Exactly the same requirement; for mapping out the relationships that exist in an organisation.

Also don't forget that there are peer-peer relationships in your organisation as well as parent-child (e.g. A interfaces to B)

gwyn
Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Brain thing might help if I can find some screen shots of their interface.

As for been there done that...not really a suggestion is it?  The peer to peer relationships aren't relevant to the app I am looking at.

name withheld out of cowardice
Saturday, June 19, 2004

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