GUI - Overview
In most respects, the PipeLay GUI behaves as a standard Windows application and requires no special training to use it. There are however, a few features which merit discussion. The figure below illustrates the general layout of the PipeLay GUI with the main sections labelled.
The main sections of the GUI are as follows:
Contains standard functions for loading and saving PipeLay project files.
Contains standard commands for clipboard, text editing, navigation, analysis and display options.
Provides a quick means to create new components. Components are created in the currently selected folder in the Project Sidebar.
Displays all of the components in the project. A PipeLay project has a tree-like structure, allowing folders and subfolders of components. A group of folders representing the various component categories appear here by default when a new project is started. These are created for convenience only and folders can be created, deleted or renamed as required.
Displays the properties of the component that is currently selected in the Project Sidebar.
Displays warnings and errors when loading and saving files and when generating an analysis input file.
Displays all analyses that are presently running or have previously been run. It displays the name of the analysis component, the progress of the analysis and the start time and completion time of each analysis. The analyses are ordered based on their start times, with the most recent analysis appearing at the top of the list. There is an option to clear the list of completed analyses and also an option to stop all analyses which are presently running or queued. Double-clicking on any analysis in the list will jump to the relevant analysis component.
If multiple analyses are ran at the same time, PipeLay will run analyses concurrently up to the maximum number specified on the Options dialog (located in the Home tab). Any additional analyses will be queued and started as soon as an analysis finishes. For more information, see Options - Concurrent Analysis Runs of the Home tab section below.
Displays the section of the on-line help that is relevant to the component that is currently selected in the Project Sidebar.
The Status Area, Analysis Area, Embedded Help and Project Sidebar are fully dockable and resizable. You can set them to be extended or retracted. You can resize them or click on the title bar and drag them to any other position on the screen. You can also overlay them, creating tabs. So the PipeLay main window is completely customisable and can be arranged to suit any layout preference.
The About PipeLay… button displays the program’s About Box, showing useful program version, edition and licensing information plus some basic Wood Group contact details.
The Menu Button enables you to open, save and print PipeLay project files using the standard Windows commands such as New, Open, Save, Save As, Quick Print, Print Preview and Print Setup.
The Export/Import option allows you to export a PipeLay project file to Plain Text or XML format for editing outside of the user interface. This allows for the modification of models etc. through scripts/external editors. Modified files can also be imported back into PipeLay. Full details of the Export/Import operation can be found in the 'Export/Import Functionality' section.
The Mail File command opens a mail message in your default mail application with the current project file included in the message as an attachment.
All Component Views in PipeLay are unique. Nevertheless, they all follow the same basic style. A sample Component View (for the Flex Joint component) is shown in the figure below.
These views contain Properties Edit Buttons and Drop-Down Lists. Together these allow the user to set the relevant component properties. This data is generally echoed on the remainder of the Component View. In many cases, a diagram representing the component is also provided.
Sample Component View
Pressing a Properties Edit Button causes a data-entry dialog to be displayed. The data-entry dialogs are of two main types, the simple list type and the spreadsheet type. These are discussed in more detail in the 'Input Dialogs' article. When data has been entered behind a properties edit button, its text changes colour and becomes underlines to highlight this fact. For comparison, the figure below shows the same button before and after data has been entered behind it.
Button Before and After Data Entry