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Parameter View

Parameterize your model here. Set values for everything from animal number to Zimbabwean atmospheric pressure. There are plenty of security features to make sure that you don't accidently overwrite your data, plus an easy to navigate data tree. If that's not enough then check out the quick access history and search facilities. Need to find out more about a particular parameter? Check out the Parameters section in this guide.


Navigation

All the features in the Parameter View are included to facilitate your navigating your model's parameter list and for finding parameters within the list, as well as protecting the integrity of your parameter data. Details about individual parameters and their values can be found in the Parameters section in this guide.

This Parameter View window has been designed to be like the hierarchical file structures that you use in Windows Explorer or at places like the Microsoft Developer Network Library. The kind of branching list you see in the left hand panel is called a TreeView. This Cross-browser DHTML tree is kindly provided free-of-charge as a Treeview JavaScript Applet by www.treeview.net.



Clicking on an item in the tree on the left brings up the associated parameters within that category on the right. There are a few categories that do not contain parameters but just contain subcategories. When the Properties View is set to active, clicking on one of these "empty" categories generates a list of hyperlinks to the subcategories that can prove a fast way to navigate to lower levels.

Activate and deactivate the Properties View by clicking on the Properties View button at the top of the Parameter View window.

The Navigation toolbar includes a button to show and hide the Category Selection History List . This is a list that you generate by selecting the category items in the tree view. Each time you do, the full path through the hierarchical parameter tree to your selected parameter category is added to the list.
Click on the previous location to be quickly returned there.

Please see the Menus & Buttons section below for a detailed description of the Navigation toolbar.


Searching

There are 3 ways to search for a parameter category. Individual parameter names are not searchable, therefore this Searching guide is relevant to the items in the left hand side of the Parameter View window ONLY.

Search mechanism 1

The Current Category Selection box just below the Modules toolbar displays the full path through the tree view parameter hierarchy that leads to the currently selected tree view parameter category.
Simply editing this Current Category Selection to point to a valid parameter category path automatically switches the current selection to that new category. Try this:

1. Make sure that your currently selected category has more than one "child" subcategory (parallel at the same level, rather than in a continuous series). Click on one of these "child" subcategories.
2. Now select the child subcategory name in the Current Category Selection box. Make sure to include the preceding slash ("\").
3. The current category selection automatically switches back to the original parent category.
4. Now click in the Current Category Selection box,
5. and type a slash ("\") and then the name of another child subcategory to the parent category.
6. When a valid parameter category path is typed into the Current Category Selection box then the current selection automatically switches to that new category.


Search mechanism 2

It is more likely that you do not know the full path for your parameter category, otherwise there would probably be no need to search for it. All you need to know is the name of the category (or an associated / nearby category from which you can find the one that you are looking for), which, from any point
you can type into the Current Category Selection box
and then press the Search button .
This way is best used to quickly move from a current category to the next category. For repeated searching see the next method.

Search mechanism 3

Similar to the previous search mechanism, this method searches for a category name that you type in, this time into the Search box that you access via the Search menu in the Main Control Panel.
The advantage with this method is that the Search box doesn't disappear nor does your search term get rewritten with other text, so you can repeat your searches to find other categories that have the same search term in their names. The Search box has 3 options:

1. Match whole names only
This will ignore categories that have your search term as only part of their name, e.g. Herbivore_1 for search term "herb".

2. Match case
This will ignore categories that have a different capitilization even if they are spelt the same, e.g., Local would not be found for search term "local".

3. Wrap to top
This will start at the top of the parameter category list if no occurrance of your search term are found, in line with the other 2 options.


Editing

For categories that hold parameters, click in the editable "Data" box to the right of the parameter name and submit your desired value for that parameter. You can type any value with any format, but while the modelling software goes to great lengths in trying to ensure that you data is valid, the ultimate responsibility of correctly entering your parameter data for your model is with you.

There are 5 types of data format recognised by the modelling software:

1. integer
2. decimal
3. yes/no
4. text
5. file path

Numerical values and text are edited direct whereas a Yes/No selector dropdown box appears when you select a Yes/No parameter which you open by clicking on the down arrow on the right.
Click on the value you want and click away from the parameter. Somewhere else in the editable data area is fine.

Clicking on a parameter recognised as a valid file path makes the browse button appear which you can use to open a standard file open dialogue box and locate your file and folder path parameter inputs. A folder browse box will appear if the current parameter value is a valid folder path.

The main edit commands are available to overide this default behaviour of the Parameter View via a popup menu which you can get by right clicking in the editable data box.
"Edit" forces a text edit of the parameter value regardless of format. "Browse..." forces a standard dialogue box to appear, although this will be limited to a folder open box rather than a file open box if the value of the currently selected parameter is not a valid file path. "Cut", "Copy", "Paste" and "Delete" are all standard editing functions, and "Description..." is disabled in this version of the modelling software, although it is linked to the Parameter Information Panel and is included on the wish list.

Invalid file paths are recognised as just text and the browse button will not appear, but you can still browse for a file by using the popup menu by right clicking when the parameter is selected.

To guarantee submitting your edits, click away from the parameter when you have finished with it.

The model will assess your edits based on the data type for that parameter and a confirmation box will appear depending on the level of security that you have selected using the "Input Confirmation" selector at the foot of the Parameter View
which is only visible if you have the Properties View set to active.

Any edits you make are recorded in the Edits History List above the "Input Confirmation" selector. Your acceptance of any format changes, e.g., from integer to decimal, is indicated with a green entry in the Edits History List. Denial of a change or if the input confirmation is inactive, results in a red entry in the Edits History List.

Keep an eye on the Format column in the editable data area as this will tell you the parameter value format.

Undo/Redo

With the Properties View set to active, you will be able to see that every time to make an edit, your changes plus your acceptance/denial of edits are recorded in the Edits History List.

To undo/redo an edit either,
  • Double click the Edits History List at the point you want to return to,
  • Right click the Edits History List at the point you want to return to and select "Reset",
    or,
  • work your way through the Edits History List to the point you want to return to by clicking on the undo or redo buttons at the top of the Parameter View window.
You can choose between 3D and 2D effects for your Edits History List using the tickbox at the foot of the Parameter View which is only visible if you have the Properties View set to active.
Also, with the Properties View set to active, selecting a parameter category in the tree view and a parameter in the editable data box presently brings up a note about information for the parameter in the Information Panel. This feature is on the wish list.


Quick Links

The alternative to the Properties View is the Links View.

Switch between these 2 views by clicking the Properties View button . The Links View simplifies the Parameters View window by hiding the Edits History List with the modelling software logo, and instead providing some hyperlinks to useful locations in the User Guide at the foot of the Parameter View window.

Menus & Buttons

Navigation toolbar

Modules toolbar

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