## Table Construction Tool

Mr. Weimin Li

Software Engineering Research Group

CRL, McMaster University,

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1

### Abstract

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.