I have an application which processes data within a set of AutoCAD drawing files. Basically, there are a few parent drawings and a few child drawings. My objective is to create an informative progress feedback window displaying the steps that are happening at all times.


The program will start off with an assembly drawing (which is the parent) and do some common tasks. But while the assembly is modified, the program will then open a detail drawing (which is a child). The common tasks are executed on the child drawing and the child saves and finishes. Once it does that however, the execution returns back to the parent drawing until it finds the next child it should modify.

This process repeats until there are no more children for the parent drawing. Afterwards the parent can then save and finish.

Now, the program goes to the next parent drawing and the whole process repeats again.


So, the nature of my problem is that I need to display hierarchical progress data is some logical way that the user can understand easily, but still know most of the tasks happening behind the scenes.

Below are the tasks that I would like the document. Each task that is iterative is marked in bold:

  • Process Assembly Drawing

    1. Purge Blocks
    2. Scale Drawing
    3. Change Layers
    4. Swap Title Attributes
    5. Combine Quantities
    6. Swap Detail
    7. Search Callbacks

Items 6 and 7 are of particuluar importance as each iteration causes a child drawing to be opened for modification. Here are the steps for a child drawing:

  • Process Detail Drawing
    1. Purge Blocks
    2. Scale Drawing
    3. Change Layers
    4. Swap Title Attributes
    5. Swap Balloons

Now, I know that I do not want to display a very long list of tasks. Some ideas I have are displaying the information that is currently relevant, that is to say, relevant to the current drawing/context being worked on.

I've created a fancy GUI for displaying progress on a list of tasks which I would like to use:

Tasks List

It may not be feasible to use this "as-is", but it would be nice if there was a way that made sense.


What suggestions do you have for displaying this hierarchical list of tasks? Is there a way to do this without shoving too much information in my users' faces, yet still having enough information to be useful?

(As I think about this more, I think I should use the current progress 'context' to display only parts of the information.)

Thanks for your help!


This a common case in a complex workflow or process, which can be solved with progressive disclosure, like:-

Initially show all parent tasks with their progress indicated and also childs status with notation like 2 off 5 childs is comleleted (indicated by showing 2/5).

For more detail user can always expand a parent task to get sub-task details which in turn can show its children progress with x/y notation.

Please refer to the following snap for context:-

enter image description here

This can be achieved by using treetable with column renderer's for progress indicator.

  • While I like the idea in general, I'm concerned implementing it would be strange if there was 3 tiers within the task list. – Nick Miller Jan 22 '15 at 16:10

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