Search Ribbon

Sep 3, 2010 at 3:46 PM

I think it would be useful to examine whether the present Search interface in the Home tab could be converted into a ribbon of its own.   The tab of this ribbon would say "Search" and the tools within this ribbon would be "Favorites", "Space", "Time", "Concepts", "Services",

The workflow would be:

(1) The User clicks on the "Search" tab and that pops up a panel that has a search summary on it, and has a "Run Search" button on it.

(2) If the user has stored the characteristics of a search previously, they are stored in "Favorites" and the user can click on the search that is needed, see the result show up in the search summary, and run the search.

(3) If the user wants to start a new search, they use "Space" to define the geographic region of the search domain, "Time" to define the required time horizon, "Concepts" to select the concepts to be searched, and "Services" to select the services to be searched.  Then they hit the Run Search button and the new information shows up as a "Search Results" in the legend.


(a)  In the "Time" tab, the current application updates the end time to the current day, which is good.  We should have a "Time back from present" option so that the user can pick the last 5 days, 3 months, 4 years, etc.  This would enable a "Favorites" search to enable somebody to get an update on the current situation in a hydrologic region of their interest.

(b)  In the "Services" tab, we need a tree structure that is two-level by Organization and then by Service so that you have "USGS" as the organization and then NWIS Daily Values, Unit Values, etc, as the services published by that organization.   The current mass list of services makes your eyes glaze over.  It would be good to have a hyperlink on each service entry that when you click on it takes you to a web site that explains what variables the service provides and what is its spatial and temporal coverage.

(c)  It is implicit in this workflow description that the results are contained in the "Search Results" table that appears in the map legend and accompanying map.  We probably should store the result of each search as a persistant data structure such as a shape file so that if the user hits "Save Project" the time series catalog that results from that search is permanently stored and can be retreived when the project is reopened later without running the search again.  Currently "Search Results" is lost when you close HydroDesktop because the information is not stored in a persistent data structure.




Sep 6, 2010 at 6:56 PM
Edited Sep 6, 2010 at 7:01 PM

I created a mockup for what this new Tab page could look like.  See screenshot here.


  • Clicking "Choose Features" would popup an attached dialog that contains the "Select Field" and "Select Search Parameter" data grids/combo boxes as in the current Search interface.
  • Clicking "Date Range" would popup a calendar selection dialog as in the Graph Tab
  • Clicking on "Select Dates Prior" would popup an attached dialog that allows the user to select "## [days/months/weeks/years] prior to today"
  • Clicking on "Add Keywords" would popup an attached dialog with the the ontology keyword list/tree picker
  • Clicking on "Select Services" would popup an attached dialog that allows the user to choose which services (or all) to include in the search.  This list should be organized as described in the original post.

Comments welcome!


Sep 8, 2010 at 4:14 PM
Edited Sep 8, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Updated mock-up:

Sep 8, 2010 at 5:04 PM

very intriguing... nice use of the ribbon space and a little more consistent in design...

Sep 8, 2010 at 7:11 PM

Two issues raised during the call today:

1) ribbon usually groups relatively independent items (compare with ribbons in Office).  Here we have a sequence of filters that may be more suitable for a wizard. To make the search ribbon more "ribbon-like", we may want to generate a partial result on application of each filter. Fast estimates may come from a data cube built over the catalog. Faceted search is another useful metaphor.

2) somewhere in the process, once the user identifies services to query and download, respective data use agreements could be made available. These could be the CUAHSI data use policy (where user checks that he read and agreed with the use policy before downloading), or citation information from the service page at HISCentral (where available), or both. Generating a summary of citations related to a theme could be useful.

Sep 8, 2010 at 11:16 PM

Following features need to be considered in the search interface re-design:

1) Download - Once the search is completed and the 'Search Results' layer appears on the map, a 'Download' button needs to be enabled. The user needs to select the series for download (using the map or the attribute table). The user also needs to specify the theme name (new theme, or add to existing theme).

2) Progress bar - The search step and the download step may take more time. Progress needs to be shown in the progress bar with a Cancel option. Possible location of the new progress bar could be in the status bar below the map.

3) Map navigation - Some users may need the map navigation buttons (zoom, select) in the search ribbon tab. For example, to select polygons in the map the user first needs to zoom to the area of interest.

4) Advanced Settings - Setting a custom HIS Central URL and setting the download method. Most users will probably use the default settings, but this option is still required by advanced users. This should be either an additional search ribbon button, or it should be moved to the HydroDesktop application-level or project-level settings

5) Search using local metadata cache. This feature is currently not working in the search2 plugin because services which aren't registered at HIS Central don't have the link between ontology concept keywords and variable names. Is it still required to integrate this feature in the re-designed interface? One option is, when the user selects the 'Local Metadata Cache' option, to hide the 'Concepts' ribbon panel option and only allow search by web service (get information about all series provided by the locally registered web service).

Sep 10, 2010 at 6:58 PM

More updates:

  • Renamed "Favorites" to "Manage"
  • Added "Clear Parameters" button
  • Renamed "Select Dates Prior" to "Select Latest"