Highlighted periods in timing diagrams

0 votes
asked Feb 25, 2020 in Wanted features by Toparvion (140 points)
retagged Feb 27, 2020 by Toparvion
It would be very useful if timing diagram syntax would provide a way to draw cross-participant areas with custom background and notes. It can be used to denote some periods of system activity concerning all the participants, for example year seasons, various transition periods, system down-time intervals, etc.

2 Answers

0 votes
answered Feb 26, 2020 by plantuml (252,100 points)
It would be nice if you could give us a simple example, so that we better understand your request.

Thanks !
commented Feb 28, 2020 by Toparvion (140 points)

Supposed feature appearanceThis is how it may look like (as a draft of course).

The main idea behind this feature is that it should allow to highlight some important time periods on the diagram. On the example above it is the period when all 3 participants were active. But in general case it can be arbitrary period(s).

From the syntax perspective, the arguments for each period are:

  • begin time (optional; defaults to the start time of the diagram)
  • end time (optional; defaults to the end time of the diagram)
  • caption (optional)
  • background and border format (optional; defaults to current skin's values)

Note that the feature is not supposed to depend neither on participants nor on their states at any particular moments.

+1 vote
answered Feb 28, 2020 by plantuml (252,100 points)
commented Mar 10, 2020 by Toparvion (140 points)

Thanks for providing a way to try this feature so quickly! 

I've tested it with my current task where I need to highlight all the time periods when maximum and minimum actors (connections) are involved. See the source here.

Some notes:

  • (+) The default color scheme perfectly suits the general timing diagram style, no need to change it in most cases, cool!
  • (+) Captions are optional and support line breaks (\n), that's great!
  • (+) Period are repeatable, good!
  • (=) Highlighted periods cannot mix with each other (the next fully covers the previous). Not sure it's a problem, just an observation.
  • (=) For large diagrams it would be great to have the caption duplicated at the bottom of the highlighted period (just like actor names are duplicated in sequence diagrams).
  • (-) Highlight periods have to have both start and end time. It is not always desirable, because some periods may start from the very beginning of the diagram while others may stop at the very end.
  • (-) As a consequence, the user have to precisely select the ending value for the last period and if one selects too big value, the highlighted period becomes an empty tail at the right side of the diagram (see the picture above).
  • (-) The caption of the very first period may overlap with the first actor's name (see top left corner of the picture above - there is a 'min' caption behind 'CDAS_FETCH_EVENT' name).