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From Matt Gilman <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Feature proposal: Streamline visual flow design
Date Thu, 10 Sep 2015 17:48:55 GMT

The "inconsistency" is that the connection dialog allows it to be
configured in the Settings tab of the New Connection Dialog. The New
Processor Dialog does not have any Processor configuration. This is partly
driven by the fact that the configuration of a Processor is dependent on
the type of Processor selected. Since we don't have a Processor instance to
interact with we don't support any configuration (even that which is not
Processor dependent).  Also, we've always taken the approach that we wanted
components to be added to the canvas with as little input as possible.


On Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 1:30 PM, Brandon DeVries <> wrote:

> Rob,
> I have no real objections to (1) or (2).  (1) seems useful and can
> probably be implemented without radical changes.  (2) might be harder, but
> if done well could be a good thing.
> I object to the characterization of "inconsistency" in (3).  Placing a
> processor is fundamentally different than drawing a connection.  I would
> think of drawing the connection as a configuration step in itself
> (configuring an outgoing relationship from one processor to connect to
> another).  In other words, drawing a connection could be seen as saying you
> want to connect a relationship on one processor to another... but which
> one?  Being able to establish an unconfigured, "invalid" connection between
> processors seems like a recipe for confusion.  Obviously this is all my
> opinion, but I don't think you should ever be able to establish a
> connection that isn't valid.  Having said that, if forcing immediate
> configuration of a processor after placing it was an option that could be
> enabled, I don't see any harm.  However, I would vote that the default
> behavior remain as it is.
> Brandon
> On Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 12:55 PM, 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 dialog.
>> 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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