Xamin Version 3.0

Yesterday we released a major update to our Xamin interface. We hope the new interface is more attractive and user friendly. It also includes a major upgrade to the underlying JavaScript library. Features in the new interface are described below. If you want to get back to the old style, that interface is still around. You can get back to it using the links provided, or you can start using the URL http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/xamin/xamin_old.jsp

Release notes for the new version:

  • The Application Console:
    The overall look for the Xamin Web interface is very different. It emulates a computer console. If you expand your browser to use the full screen the console emulation can be quite close. There are buttons along the bottom of the interface that allow you to display and hide each major pane active in your Xamin session. Buttons in the background can be used to activate the query, feedback, information and user panes.
  • Start Button:
    The ‘Start’ — named for its location more than its functionality — button (bottom left) allows users to get to standard windows, to change the background and to organize, hide, or delete all data windows.
  • Session configuration:
    The Session menu in the Query pane now has a submenu allowing you to set up a saved session configuration that will be automatically applied when you start an Xamin session. This uses a persistent cookie so that it does not require a user account. However since the amount of information that can be stored in the cookie is small, it is mostly useful for storing default menu configurations and the like. Adding a table may exceed the capacity of the cookie and the attempt to save the configuration will fail.
  • Output formats:
    In the Options menu in the Query Pane users now have many more output format options including text downloads and rendering text in other windows.
  • Theme option removed:
    There were three somewhat different themes allowed in the old version. These changed the color scheme (and sometimes scaling) of the display but had no other effect on functionality.
  • Options:
    The Options menu has been reorganized a bit to try to put things together more logically in the sub menus. E.g., the Output content submenu now controls the coordinate and time formats, whether data are rounded and which fields are shown by default.
  • Query start buttons:
    The buttons used to start queries have been simplified a bit. Instead of two buttons used to start index queries where we look for tables which have data matching your criteria, there is now a single button whose label text indicates if the query will be made for all HEASARC tables or look only within the set of tables you have specified.
  • Index and table query buttons switched:
    The relative positions of the index and table query buttons have been reversed. The table query buttons now come first.Similarly, there are now only three buttons to submit queries of tables. You use the same button to start a single table query or a correlation. You pick the button based upon whether you wish to see the results as a table, do a plot or save the results in your Xamin environment.
  • Bibcodes:
    Users can now explicitly enter bibcodes for discovery and table queries.
  • File uploads:
    You can immediately upload a file to use in queries in Xamin without having to first log in to a user account. The file can be used in a sequence of queries, but it will be uploaded each time. [We originally made this change in the development version, but moved it into the operational system early.]
  • Virtual Observatory Tables:
    Many more virtual observatory resources are available.
  • Keyword search results:
    The results for a keyword search of tables are now formatted where you can collapse and expand the results for HEASARC and VizieR to focus on the tables you are interested in. More information about VO table resources is now available through the information panel.
  • Keyword search results queries:
    You can now choose to add the list of HEASARC tables matching your keyword search into the selected tables. You can then do a search (typically an index query since you cannot do correlations on more than 4 tables) on those tables. Xamin V2 also had facilities to search these tables in an index query but did so using an inefficient query syntax. Results will now return much faster.
  • Selecting parameters:
    The parameter explorer has been substantially revised. Previously a red parameter bar was used to signal the end of the displayed parameters. Users could drag this bar to change what parameters were to be displayed, or move parameters around. It is still possible to move parameters (including groups of parameters) around, but there are now icons on each parameter to select/deselect the parameter. Each row also an icon for changing the boundary between the selected/deselected parameters
  • Printouts:
    The ability to print queries has been improved and expanded. Discovery queries (where a list of tables containing matching objects is retrieved) and plots can now also be printed. Any pane that can be printed has a printer tool on the right of the title bar.
  • Feedback:
    The same form is now used to both submit new feedback requests and display existing feedback.
  • No prompt on exit:
    Xamin no longer prompts for confirmation that you want to leave the service when you have more than one plot/table displayed.
  • Multiple plot control windows:
    Previously only a single plot control window was allowed. When a new plot request was made any existing plot control window was destroyed and replaced by the result from the new plot request. Since these are bulky windows, users may want to remove them as soon as they are finished with a particular plot. Plot control windows are cleaned up when users use the Clear Data option on the Start button.
  • Single box notice:
    When using the single box interfaces users will be notified immediately when the single box query initiates. Previously the system could appear inactive while Xamin was checking whether input parameters were target names.
  • Tutorial movies:
    The introductory tutorial in the Xamin Web Users Guide is now given as a set of movies rather than text.  We also have a Introduction to Xamin page.

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