EDGE is an editor kernel for the direct and visual manipulation of graphs. The kernel can be adapted quickly to diverse applications based on graphs, such as PERT chart editing, directory browsing, call graph display, logic circuit simulation or configuration visualization. EDGE provides potential solutions to the following general problems faced by any graph editor. (1) Automatic graph layout: how can application-specific layout requirements, individual preferences, and layout stability be integrated with automatic layout algorithms? EDGE solves this problem with a novel algorithm that is based on layout constraints. (2) Graph abstraction: how can users deal with large graphs containing hundreds of nodes and edges, and thousands of edge crossings? EDGE can reduce the apparent complexity with subgraph abstractions and a novel clustering technique called edge concentration. (3) Adaptability: how should the editor kernel be structured to be adaptable to various applications? EDGE uses a special graph representation language for specifying visual appearance and the inheritance mechanism of C++ to achieve extendibility. (4) Persistence of graphs: how can the graph structures produced by the editor be kept in long-term storage, especially if the node and edge data structures have been extended for a particular application? Our approach uses a standardized, external format for graphs and handles extensions with program generator technology: the I/O routines for reading and writing extended node and edge data structures are produced automatically from the declarations of these data structures. This paper describes EDGE and presents details of the above solutions.
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