Table Construction Tool

Mr. Weimin Li

Software Engineering Research Group
CRL, McMaster University,
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1


We are constructing a set of tools, known as "Table Tool System", which can help software designers when preparing or analyzing mathematical documentation for computer systems. The table construction tool presented by this report was designed to help users construct tables whose entries are expressions (possibly other such tables), which we call tabular expressions.

In normal arithmetic, precedences of operators are used for evaluating an expression. This method becomes very hard to use as soon as the expression contains many different operators. Using the table construction tool, the users do not need to be concerned about the precedence of the operators or about parentheses in the expressions when they are constructing them. The system automatically maintains the syntactic correctness of the expressions at all times. Even an incomplete expression must be syntactically correct. This report includes the algorithms for constructing the tabular expressions and graphic user interface under the OSF/1 Motif window environment.

The approach is to simplify the task of constructing a complicated tabular expression by first creating some simpler tabular expressions then putting them together to compose a more complicated one. The structure of the tabular expressions is explicit in the displayed representation, not implicit or implied by operator precedence.