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From Ian Ragsdale <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Feature proposal: Streamline visual flow design
Date Thu, 10 Sep 2015 17:43:53 GMT
No objections here, but I think Enhancement 1 could go further once Enhancement 2 has taken
place. I think it would likely be possible to skip the dialog altogether and allow users to
drag specific processors directly to the canvas. This probably provides a bigger productivity
boost than improving the dialog.

- Ian

> On Sep 10, 2015, at 11:55 AM, Rob Moran <> wrote:
> There has been recent discussion around UI enhancements with the goal of streamlining
visual flow design. Please consider the following enhancements and concepts for proposed solutions.
Do you have any objections? If so, please share your thoughts and ideas for alternate solutions
to streamline visual flow design in NiFi's GUI.
> Enhancement 1
> Enable quicker, more efficient access to both known and not yet known processors.
> Issue
> The current interaction of dropping a processor on the graph and being prompted with
a dialog helps a user who does not know exactly which one they need. However, as the number
of processors increase, the current methods of finding what you need become increasingly difficult.
And for those users who know exactly what processor they want, routine interaction with the
dialog becomes rather cumbersome.
> Concept for Proposed Solution
> Present logical groupings of processors to the user. Ideas include usage-generated categories
like ‘recent’ and ‘popular,’ along with categories such as those defined by the Enterprise
Integration Patterns (e.g., mediate, route, transform) and perhaps further subcategories if
applicable. These options would be accessible from the main UI as well as the add processor
> Other ideas include 'pinning' processors you routinely use for quick access, setting
a default drag-n-drop processor, and assigning keyboard shortcuts to quickly add a favorite
to the graph.
> Design decisions made here could also serve as a model for placing other elements onto
the graph such as templates.
> Enhancement 2
> Provide visual distinction to processor types.
> Issue
> When viewing a flow on the graph, all processor blocks look the same. As a result, users
must rely on processor names alone to interpret what they are doing and how the given flow
is working together.
> Concept for Proposed Solution
> Introduce some combination of iconography, unique styling, and more descriptive labeling
to processor blocks. As mentioned earlier, looking to the Enterprise Integration Patterns
could provide cues for visually distinct icons and labeling. Unique styling could occur at
various zoom levels and/or screen resolution to better respond to user needs.
> Enhancement 3
> Give users the choice to be prompted immediately with a configuration dialog after they
place a processor, draw a connection, etc. on the graph.
> Issue
> Currently there is inconsistency with the interaction. Place a processor - nothing. Draw
a connection - configuration dialog pops up.
> Concept for Proposed Solution
> Part 1 - Decide on a consistent default behavior. Part 2 - Provide the user the ability
to reverse the behavior. One thought is to include a toggle in each configuration dialog giving
the user control over the behavior while in context. Additionally, there could be a user preferences
area where they could make global changes. A user preferences area could come into play with
potential solutions proposed in Enhancement 1 as well.
> -- 
> Rob

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