An ICOM project consists in a set of possibly related EER schemas. Schemas are composed by a set of items like classes and
relations, and also non-standard EER constructs such as axioms. In
order to start working with ICOM you have to create a project, or
load an existing one. The File menu and its submenus (see figure
2) provide a number of items relating to the creation,
loading, opening, saving and closing of projects and schemas. They
can be saved and read as text files using an internal XML format, or
using the DIG protocol syntax. It is also possible to import
class diagrams in the UML XMI format.
ICOM File menu.
As soon as a project is created or loaded, ICOM enters in the
project editing mode, and a set of panels appear:
In figure 3 you can see these three panels describing an
empty project, at the moment when the project contextual menu is
- the desktop panel at the centre is a desktop panel where you can work with
the schemas included in the current project. Within this desktop
each schema is represented as a window, which can be moved, resized, closed,
iconified and deiconifed. Associated to every item appearing in this
panel there is a contextual menu with the most frequently used
functions on it. These menus are activated with a right click on the
graphical representation of the object.
- the browser at left shows the hierarchy of elements in
the current project. You can use this panel to quickly locate any
element in the editing panel, either by clicking on its name in the
tree or by using the search function at the bottom of the panel.
- the properties panel at bottom shows and allows the user to edit information about the
currently selected object in the editing panel. If none is selected
it shows information about the current project. This information is
divided into four tabs: Data, Metadata, Definition and DIG tab.
The Data tab contains the
information and options that characterizes the object within the
project. The Metadata tab contains multilingual represention of
object information external to the project, like authoring, natural
language description and versioning. The Definition tab allows the
user to introduce DLR definitions for some type of objects. The DIG
tab shows the DIG representation of projects and schemas.
ICOM project panels and contextual
Multiple projects can be opened at the same time, but objects cannot
be moved between them - only one project is visible at a time and
editing of each project is independent. You can switch between
different projects using the tabs at the bottom of the editing