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Cross-platform event engine

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US20160026512A1
US20160026512A1 US14872055 US201514872055A US2016026512A1 US 20160026512 A1 US20160026512 A1 US 20160026512A1 US 14872055 US14872055 US 14872055 US 201514872055 A US201514872055 A US 201514872055A US 2016026512 A1 US2016026512 A1 US 2016026512A1
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device
user
event
platform
engine
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US14872055
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Michael Fleming
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Seven Networks Inc
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Seven Networks Inc
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F9/00Arrangements for programme control, e.g. control unit
    • G06F9/06Arrangements for programme control, e.g. control unit using stored programme, i.e. using internal store of processing equipment to receive and retain programme
    • G06F9/46Multiprogramming arrangements
    • G06F9/54Interprogramme communication ; Intertask communication
    • G06F9/542Event management; Broadcasting; Multicasting; Notifications
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/048Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI]
    • G06F3/0481Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI] based on specific properties of the displayed interaction object or a metaphor-based environment, e.g. interaction with desktop elements like windows or icons, or assisted by a cursor's changing behaviour or appearance
    • G06F3/0482Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI] based on specific properties of the displayed interaction object or a metaphor-based environment, e.g. interaction with desktop elements like windows or icons, or assisted by a cursor's changing behaviour or appearance interaction with lists of selectable items, e.g. menus
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/048Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI]
    • G06F3/0484Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI] for the control of specific functions or operations, e.g. selecting or manipulating an object or an image, setting a parameter value or selecting a range
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F9/00Arrangements for programme control, e.g. control unit
    • G06F9/06Arrangements for programme control, e.g. control unit using stored programme, i.e. using internal store of processing equipment to receive and retain programme
    • G06F9/46Multiprogramming arrangements
    • G06F9/54Interprogramme communication ; Intertask communication
    • G06F9/541Interprogramme communication ; Intertask communication via adapters, e.g. between incompatible applications
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06TIMAGE DATA PROCESSING OR GENERATION, IN GENERAL
    • G06T11/002D [Two Dimensional] image generation
    • G06T11/20Drawing from basic elements, e.g. lines or circles
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09GARRANGEMENTS OR CIRCUITS FOR CONTROL OF INDICATING DEVICES USING STATIC MEANS TO PRESENT VARIABLE INFORMATION
    • G09G5/00Control arrangements or circuits for visual indicators common to cathode-ray tube indicators and other visual indicators
    • G09G5/14Display of multiple viewports
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09GARRANGEMENTS OR CIRCUITS FOR CONTROL OF INDICATING DEVICES USING STATIC MEANS TO PRESENT VARIABLE INFORMATION
    • G09G2340/00Aspects of display data processing
    • G09G2340/14Solving problems related to the presentation of information to be displayed
    • G09G2340/145Solving problems related to the presentation of information to be displayed related to small screens

Abstract

A system for handling event input between disparate platforms includes a memory containing instructions executable by the processor whereby the system is operable to recognize an event associated with a first platform, the event having semantic content, translate the event into a form recognizable by a second platform, and communicate the event in the translated form to the second platform. The second platform is configured for effectuating the semantic content of the event

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/583,655 entitled “Intelligent Rendering of Information in a Limited Display Environment”, which claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/970,452 filed on Dec. 16, 2010 entitled “Intelligent Render of Information in a Limited Display Environment”, which claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/227,013 filed on Sep. 14, 2005 entitled “Intelligent Render of Information in a Limited Display Environment”, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,877,703, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/661,757 filed on Mar. 14, 2005 entitled “Agnostic User Interface for Use in Mobile Devices.” The entire disclosure of all of these applications is incorporated by reference herein.
  • [0002]
    The application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/123,540 filed on May 5, 2005 entitled “Universal Text-Entry.” This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/227,323 filed on Sep. 14, 2005 entitled “Cross Platform Event Engine.” The application is further related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/227,272 filed on Sep. 14, 2005 entitled “Platform Neutral User Interface for Mobile Devices.” The entire disclosure of each of these applications is incorporated by reference herein.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    The present invention generally relates to the field of user interfaces. More specifically, the present invention relates to the use of user interfaces across various operating platforms in various mobile devices.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART
  • [0004]
    Mobile data access devices make it simple and affordable to access corporate and personal data while out of the office. Software allowing for such access is becoming a standard feature on a variety of mobile devices and platforms: BREW, Pocket PCs, Smartphones, Symbian-based phones, PDAs and Internet browsers.
  • [0005]
    There are approximately 35 million workers that make up the ‘mobile workforce,’ that is, individuals who carry out all or substantial portions of their job away from a physical office setting. Despite the increasing number of on-the-go workers, electronic mail remains, arguably, the most important business application. As a result, this workforce and the casual individual user have an inherent need for wireless access to their electronic mail and other data.
  • [0006]
    Despite the pervasiveness of electronic mail and an ever-increasing need for access to electronic mail and data, costs of ownership for mobile data access remains a barrier. The issue is no longer whether mobile data access is a necessity but whether it can be deployed and managed in an effective manner.
  • [0007]
    While cost is an obvious concern in equipping the workforce with the means for accessing data on-the-go, the implementation, development, integration and management of mobile data access solutions are also a key concern. And while mobile devices are becoming a staple in personal and commercial enterprise, other rapidly evolving changes such as number portability, mergers in the telecom industry and the lack of any one particular technical standard in the mobile device technological space, make providing support for a wide-array of devices as important an issue as any with regard to accessing data from a mobile device. The lack of internal expertise, the immaturity of standards, complexity of integration, device limitations, and application development have all been explicitly recognized as barriers to adopting mobile devices for providing access to data while, for example, out of the office or away from a personal desktop computer.
  • [0008]
    Increased device flexibility as may be provided by device agnostic software allows for consolidation of multiple application utilities and also reduces overall outlays on hardware (e.g., a single application can be run on various mobile devices and as could a piece of hardware, such as a synchronization cable). This flexibility also improves IT-familiarity and expertise and, likewise, with end users, which better ensures adoption of mobile device technologies in their fullest sense thereby better ensuring a return on investment.
  • [0009]
    As adoption and pervasiveness of mobile devices and operating platforms increase, developing agnostic applications for mobile devices makes application development and testing less of a colossal task for software engineers, quality assurance professional and human factor engineers. The result is better design and quality assurance.
  • [0010]
    User interfaces play a critical role in mobile device development in that they must not only provide users with access to mission critical data but deal with the realities of variations in screen size, pixel density, aspect ratio and screen use availability; limited memory on a mobile devices client; limited processing power; general quirkiness between platforms; and, perhaps most noticeable to the end-user, the limited physical space for interface with the mobile device. A keyboard, mouse or even a stylus are normally not available in a traditional wireless or mobile device. Not only is input difficult, so is viewing a display rendering information. This is especially true when the mobile device happens to also be a cellular telephone.
  • [0011]
    One solution has been to utilize XML instead of HTML for pushing content. Using Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) allows for XML-formatter content to be transformed into HTML or other formats as a particular mobile device might require.
  • [0012]
    Nevertheless, engineers must still deal with the fact that one interface will, often, not be suitable for more than one primary set of devices. For example, PDAs utilize a stylus and touch-screen while WAP-compliant mechanisms support telephony through, for example, WTA.
  • [0013]
    Even if a designer is satisfied with limiting an interface to a particular device, the engineer must still deal with the nuances of particular device manufacturers (e.g., a Palm PDA versus a Nokia cell phone) and, in some instances, particular device models (e.g., PALM VIIx versus Nokia 7110).
  • [0014]
    An engineer is still, in many instances, limited by the fact that they must pre-generate static content and generalize possible permutations of the interface as they pertain to a particular device family. This results in delays for delivery of applications, increased costs in research and development, which inevitably result in increased costs for the end user.
  • [0015]
    There is, therefore, a need in the art for a user interface that is agnostic with regard to operating platform and device wherein one client will work on multiple platforms and devices.
  • [0016]
    It should be noted, in the course of this disclosure, that while a device and platform are recognized as distinct—albeit related—entities, any reference to a device or a platform should be considered inclusive of both. Similarly, any reference to the agnosticism of an interface should also be interpreted as agnosticism for both a device and a platform.
  • [0017]
    Further, it should be noted that the disclosed agnostic user interface is not dependent on the presentation or transmission of communications data (e.g., electronic mail, calendar, SMS) or utilization of user data (e.g., data stored on a desktop).
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0018]
    The present invention advantageously provides an advantageous virtual platform agnostic to physical device or operating platform and comprised of an abstraction layer that allows for portability across any variety of mobile devices or operating platforms, especially with regard to user interfaces. The virtual platform and its abstraction layer allow for a user interface on a first device to appear identical on a second device regardless of differences or limitations that may exist between operating system platforms or devices. By providing an agnostic user interface application, a user can move effortlessly between devices should, for example, the need for replacement or repair of a particular device arise.
  • [0019]
    Additionally, the agnosticism of the interface application makes it possible for software developers and engineers to utilize one test suite for a variety of devices or platforms when introducing new features thereby reducing lag-time in getting application to market as well as R&D costs, which inevitably translates into savings for the end-user and/or profit increases for the application and/or device developer/manufacturer.
  • [0020]
    The present invention also provides an advantageous means of highlighting or focusing information on a device to minimize the display of unnecessary or interfering information relative to presently important or critical data to be observed by a user.
  • [0021]
    The present invention also provides advantageous intelligence with regard to the display of information on an as-possible, as-needed and/or as-preferred basis.
  • [0022]
    The present invention also provides an advantageous layout engine wherein non-compatible graphics and/or text to be displayed on a particular device can be dynamically altered prior to rendering so that they are rendered without significant layout errors or disruptions in the user's viewing of the information. Methods for configuring the layout of information are also provided.
  • [0023]
    The present invention also provides advantageous means of arranging information on a mobile device in conjunction with a layout engine through the use of coordinate positioning of information and/or vector drawing.
  • [0024]
    The present invention also provides an advantageous cross-platform events engine for synthesis of a variety of events and uniformly acting on disparate event sets wherein an event request as might be recognized on one device is translated into a native request recognized on a second device through abstraction and code sharing. Methods for determining the portability of an event from a first device to a second device are also provided.
  • [0025]
    The present invention also provides an advantageous means of driving text-entry mechanisms whereby difficulties with adjusting to device specific constraints such as timeout periods associated triple-tap text entry or pictographic language are overcome through the use of an off-screen text buffer. Methods for the entry and display of text are also provided.
  • [0026]
    The present invention also provides an advantageous means of managing information on a mobile device utilizing five-way navigation.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0027]
    FIG. 1A illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a device platform including various operational layers for interaction with a particular device client.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 1B illustrates a device platform including various operational layers for interaction with a particular device client as is generally found in the prior art.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 2A illustrates a balance of platform specific code and platform interchangeable code as may generally be found in the prior art.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 2B illustrates an exemplary embodiment of an abstraction layer and a balance of platform specific code and platform agnostic code as may be found in an agnostic interface.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of an abstract layer comprised of various informational modules.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a virtual platform comprised of a shell program and an abstract layer.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 5A illustrates the differences in screen display ratio for two different client devices as found in the prior art.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 5B illustrates the problems often associated with a single graphic element rendered on different client devices with different display ratios as found in the prior art.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 6A illustrates exemplary relative adjustments in an agnostic user interface.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 6B illustrates exemplary dynamic adjustments in an agnostic user interface as they pertain to a global scaling feature.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 6C illustrates exemplary dynamic adjustments in an agnostic user interface as they pertain to a zooming feature.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 6D illustrates exemplary dynamic adjustments as they pertain to a ‘quick-look’ or ‘short attention span’ feature in an agnostic user interface.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 7A illustrates a layout engine for controlling an agnostic user interface.
  • [0040]
    FIG. 7B illustrates an exemplary relationship between an abstraction layer and a rules engine as might be present in a layout engine in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 8 illustrates the exemplary rendering of a graphic image through the use of a coordinate layout system.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 9 illustrates the exemplary rendering of graphic information according to hierarchical limitations and requirements.
  • [0043]
    FIG. 10A illustrates a menu with available and not-available options as in known in the prior art.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 10B illustrates a menu exhibiting intelligent prioritization of menu commands as governed by their present availability according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0045]
    FIG. 10C illustrates a menu exhibiting intelligent prioritization of menu commands as governed by presently available and user preferred commands according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 11A illustrates icons on a display with no particular limitations as to their rendering.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 11B illustrates icons on a display with display limitations wherein the icons are intelligently selected in an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0048]
    FIG. 12 illustrates a cross-platform event engine as may be utilized in an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0049]
    FIG. 13A illustrates a portion of a keypad as might be utilized in triple-tap or triple-press text entry on a mobile device as is known in the prior art.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 13B illustrates a mobile device utilizing the T9 text-entry methodology as is known in the prior art.
  • [0051]
    FIG. 14A illustrates an exemplary embodiment of the present invention wherein an on-screen text box is synchronized with an off-screen text buffer.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 14B illustrates a string of text as may be found in an off-screen text buffer in an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 15 illustrates an exemplary method for utilizing an off-screen text buffer in an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0054]
    FIG. 16 illustrates an exemplary method for utilizing a layout engine to display graphics and/or text in an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 17 illustrates an exemplary method for utilizing a cross-platform events engine to execute cross-platform events in a native environment in an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 18A illustrates the display of information on a mobile device as may be found in the prior art.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 18B illustrates the exemplary management of information displayed in FIG. 18A using five-way navigation in an embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT
  • [0058]
    FIG. 1A illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a device platform including various operational layers for interaction with a particular client device. The present embodiment comprises a platform 110, abstraction layers 120, synchronization module 130, user interface framework 140, and client device 150.
  • [0059]
    Some embodiments of the present invention may comprise additional operational layers such as open or proprietary application program interfaces (APIs) that allow software engineers, programmers, and other users to author or install applications that are consistent with the particular platform's operating environment. Some embodiments of the present invention may also lack certain operational layers, such as the synchronization layer, should a particular device or platform not provide for synchronization operations.
  • [0060]
    The platform 110 is the underlying hardware or software for a particular operating environment. Platform 110 also defines a standard around which the particular operating environment is developed, that is, around which software, hardware and other applications can be developed. An example of the platform 110 is the Nokia Series 40 Developer Platform, which can utilize platform technologies such as Java™ J2ME or the Nokia Series 60 and Series 80 Developer Platforms, which can utilize C++ in addition to Java™ J2ME platform technologies. Similarly, the Palm OS® Platform supports native programming in C and C++ languages as well as supporting Java programming via third-party Java Virtual Machines.
  • [0061]
    Abstraction layers 120 are composed of basic functionalities that allow for, in part, the integration of platform 110 with client device 150 as well as other operational layers such as synchronization module 130 and user interface framework 140. The abstraction layers 120 also declare classes, interfaces, and abstract methods intended to support various functions and system operations in any particular platform 110. Abstraction layers 120 may be open or proprietary and are often composed of various modules (e.g., FIG. 3).
  • [0062]
    Optional synchronization module 130 comprises the various operational instructions, functionalities, and code necessary to allow a particular client device 150 to synchronize with an external device, such as a desktop personal computer or enterprise server. Synchronization can be achieved in a variety of ways including a cable-to-handset synchronization mechanism whereby the client device 150 is physically coupled to a desktop personal computer to allow for the exchange and synchronization of data (e.g., electronic mail). Synchronization and optional synchronization module 130 are not to be construed as necessary for the operation of an agnostic user interface.
  • [0063]
    Synchronization can also be achieved wirelessly whereby an enterprise server (e.g., a Microsoft Exchange Server) configured with appropriate software (e.g., SEVEN Server Edition from SEVEN Networks, Inc.) and with access to a wireless gateway allows for real-time access to electronic mail and other data by the client device 150 without any physical connection to the enterprise server. While the synchronization module 130 may be necessary for synchronizing the client device 150 and other external device (e.g., a server), the presence of such a module is not meant to be interpreted as a prerequisite for the operation of an agnostic user interface.
  • [0064]
    User interface framework 140 comprises various libraries and source code to allow for the rendering of a user interface on a particular client device 150. User interface framework 140 libraries include elements such as icons, cursors, scroll bars, sounds, animations, etc.
  • [0065]
    Client device 150 is any device coupled to a network (e.g., wirelessly) that allows for access to a server device or other computing entity, such as a second client device. Through the coupling of the client device 150 to the server, the user of the client device 150 can synchronize data such as electronic mail or access data. Examples of client device 150 include Pocket PCs, Smartphones, and PDAs. Client devices 150 are increasingly mobile. This mobility is often a direct result of integrating the client device 150 with, for example, a cellular telephone although it is not necessary for the client device 150 to be integrated with a mobile phone or any other device. Client devices 150 are often associated with a particular platform 110.
  • [0066]
    For example, the aforementioned Nokia Series 40 Developer Platform is associated with the Nokia 6101 and 6102 model client devices as well as the Nokia 6020, 6235, 6235i and 6822 model client devices. The Nokia Series 60 Developer Platform, on the other hand, is associated with client devices such as the Nokia 6680, 6681, and 6682 model devices. Similarly, the Palm OS® Platform is associated with client devices such as Xplore™ G18, Kyocera 7135, and the Treo™ 650.
  • [0067]
    FIG. 1B illustrates a device platform including various operational layers for interaction with a particular device client as is generally found in the prior art.
  • [0068]
    A device platform found in the prior art shares limited similarities with a device platform as might be found in an embodiment of the present invention in that a prior art device platform comprises the actual platform and various operational layers such as synchronization modules, APIs, and so forth. Prior art device platforms differ from a platform as might be found in an embodiment of the present invention in that the client, user interface framework and abstraction layer are more integrated and operationally incorporated (160) as compared to the present invention (170). The ‘tightly wound’ nature of prior art devices is often the result of a general lack of portability of a user interface or any other aspect of the particular platform between various client devices. That is, a particular user interface and accompanying abstraction layer are written exclusively for a particular platform and exclusively for a particular device solely in conjunction with that platform.
  • [0069]
    The exemplary device platform illustrated in FIGURE lA evidences the ability to transport various aspects of a particular platform (e.g., a user interface) from one client device 150 to the next, especially with regard to the design of the abstraction layer 120 as is further discussed in the context of FIGS. 2A and 2B, below.
  • [0070]
    It should be noted that while FIGURE lA illustrates various operational layers as separate elements, this is not to suggest a necessary physical differentiation or a general lack of integration in an embodiment. Similarly, the integration of the client, user interface framework and abstraction layer (160) in FIG. 1B is not meant to suggest a literal, physical integration. These illustrations are provided merely to aid in the perception of the ‘tightly wound’ and vertically integrated aspects of a prior art device platform versus a device platform, as in an embodiment of the present invention, allowing for portability of, for example, a user interface from one device to another.
  • [0071]
    FIG. 2A illustrates a balance of platform specific code 210 and platform agnostic code 220 as may generally be found in the prior art.
  • [0072]
    For example, and as described in the context of FIG. 1B, prior art platform devices are unitary in nature and not meant to allow for portability of features, such as a user interface. As such, a prior art abstraction layer 200 is comprised predominantly of platform-specific and device-specific code 210. This particularized code, while allowing for the integration and operation of a particular device on a particular platform, inhibits the portability of any particular features from one device to another (e.g., a user interface) as might otherwise be provided for with more general or agnostic code 220. Agnostic code 220 might comprise code written in accordance with particular industry standards or specifications but that allows for the portability or interoperability of a specific and particular feature amongst devices.
  • [0073]
    FIG. 2B illustrates an exemplary embodiment of an abstraction layer 250 and a blend of platform specific code 260 and agnostic code 270 as might be found in an agnostic user interface.
  • [0074]
    An abstraction layer 250, as may be found in an embodiment of the present invention and as illustrated in FIG. 2B, exhibits a much ‘thinner’ layer of platform- or device-specific code 260. Abstraction layer 250 with its thin layer of platform- or device-specific code may be, generally, the type of abstraction layer 120 as described in FIG. 1A. As the abstraction layer 250 is comprised more of standardized or agnostic code 270, the portability or interoperability of particular features is increased in that a feature will operate on various platforms or devices due to its coding being dependent more on the generalized code 270 than with platform- or device-specific code 260 that limits or inhibits portability or interoperability.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of an abstract layer 310 comprised of various informational modules 310-350.
  • [0076]
    Informational module 310-350 are routines and instructions as they pertain to various operational features of a particular platform 110 and/or client device 150 linked in the abstraction layer 310. For example, resource module 320 may comprise specific data or routines utilized in the operation of platform 110 and/or device 150 (e.g., sleep mode, power on and off). Graphics module 330 may comprise specific files such JPEGs, bitmaps or other graphic data that could be utilized by user interface framework 140 in its rendering of a user interface on client device 150. Event module 340 may comprise a library of actions or occurrences as might be detected by a particular program such as user actions (e.g., pressing a key) in addition to system occurrences (e.g., an internal calendar alarm). Sound module 350 may comprise various sounds (e.g., WAV files) to be generated in response to, for example, the occurrence of certain system events (e.g., system warnings concerning low battery power).
  • [0077]
    Abstract layer 310, as it corresponds to abstract layer 120 (FIG. 1) and abstract layer 250 (FIG. 2) may comprise additional or less modules as is required by the particular platform 110 and/or client device 150. It should also be noted that while FIG. 3 illustrates various modules as separate elements, this is not to suggest the requirement of a physical differentiation or a general lack of integration in an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0078]
    FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a virtual platform 400 comprised of a shell program 410 and an abstract layer 420.
  • [0079]
    Abstract layer 420 is a layer similar to that described in FIG. 3. Abstract later 420 interacts with a shell program 410 to effectively translate or otherwise offer portability of commands or instructions from one platform or device to a second platform or device. For example, if an event 430 (e.g., an extended button press) occurs on a particular platform (e.g., the Nokia Series 40 Developer Platform) that event 340 may not be immediately recognized on a Palm OS® platform; the virtual platform 400 provides the necessary translation between the two.
  • [0080]
    The event 430 or certain information generated by the event 430 is intercepted by the shell program 410. The shell program 410 prevents the event 430 or the information generated by the event 430 from being immediately processed by any relevant logic on the device or platform. The abstract layer 420 then processes the event 430 intercepted by the intermediary shell program 410 and determines the proper response 440 to the event 430 for the particular platform hosting the virtual platform 400.
  • [0081]
    For example, the extended button press on the Nokia Series 40 Developer Platform, in that particular operating environment, might be equated to activating a backlight for a display screen. In another operating environment, however, an extended button press might be associated with sending a device into a ‘sleep’ state or may lack an associated function altogether. In this instance, and absent the virtual platform 400, if a Nokia platform were operating on a Treo™ 650 device, an extended button press by the user that was meant to activate the backlight could result in sending the device into hibernation or even a system crash for lack of an associated command string.
  • [0082]
    Utilizing the virtual platform 400, however, the shell program 410 would intercept and recognize the Nokia platform button press event 430 and communicate with the abstract layer 420 in order to translate the event 430 into the proper related response 440 for the Treo™ device, which might normally be a double press of a particular button.
  • [0083]
    FIG. 5A illustrates the differences in screen display ratio for two prior art client devices, specifically a TREO™ 650 510 and a Nokia 6680 520. In the case of the TREO™ 650 client device, the screen display offers 320×320 pixel-width with 16-bit color; the display offers approximately 65,000 colors. In the case of the Nokia 6680 client device, the screen display offers 176×208 pixel-width with active matrix; the display offers approximately 262,144 colors.
  • [0084]
    FIG. 5B illustrates the problems often associated with a single graphic element rendered on different client devices with different display ratios as found in the prior art. For example, a graphic 530 might be approximately 300 pixels in width and renders without issue on device 510 with a 320 pixel-width. That same graphic, in the context of device 520 with a 176 pixel-width, however, might be distorted 540 in that it is ‘cut off’ due to the limited screen width. This distortion is often the result of different devices and/or platform rendering the same graphic. This distortion can be especially problematic in the context of user interfaces offered by third-party software service providers either for functionality and/or branding purposes.
  • [0085]
    The agnostic user interface as described herein aids in preventing, inter alia, inevitable pixel variances and other differences between devices and/or platforms from resulting in the distorted 540 image as shown in device 520 in FIG. 5B. The agnostic user interface will specify a particular layout but also provide for adjustment of the interface depending on the particular nuances of any particular platform or device, for example, screen width as evidenced in FIGS. 5A and 5B. These adjustments can be relative (e.g., as a result of screen width) or ‘as needed’ or ‘dynamic’ per the particular demands of a user of any particular device.
  • [0086]
    An example of relative adjustments in a client device is illustrated in FIG. 6A. Client device 605 is similar in size to client device 510 in FIGS. 5B and 5A (320×320). Graphic 610 is rendered on client device 605 in a size that is relative to the pixel limitations of the screen. Graphic 620 is similarly rendered on client device 615, which is similar in size to client device 520 in FIGS. 5B and 5A (208×176). Instead of graphic 620 appearing distorted as it did in FIG. 5B (540), the platform agnostic interface has provided a generally identical screen layout but made automatic adjustments for the graphic 620 to appear relative to the constraints of the client device 615.
  • [0087]
    FIG. 6B illustrates dynamic adjustments in a user interface as they pertain to a global scaling feature. In some instances, a particular device will be unable to allow for relative adjustment of a user interface. This might be a result of screen size limitations or the inability to render certain graphics. In these instances the agnostic user interface can make intelligent decisions with regard to what information should be relatively adjusted, which information cannot be relatively adjusted (for varying reasons, for example, the critical importance of certain information), and certain information which should be dropped from the display altogether.
  • [0088]
    As shown in device 625, a display screen is shown with certain user interface information 635 such as a tool bar and various short-cut keys such as phone, home, contacts, trash, notes, and electronic mail. In a device 630 with limited screen size, relative adjustments to all this information might make the short-cut key and tool bar entirely illegible due to excessive decreases in size and/or overcrowding on the display. In these instances, the agnostic user interface will make intelligent decisions with regard to what information must remain present and the limits on certain relative adjustments of information.
  • [0089]
    For example, in device 630 with a platform agnostic user interface, user interface information 640 has been adjusted to address the limitations of the screen size. Specifically, certain short-cut keys (electronic mail, home, contacts, and phone) have been entirety removed from the display. While these functionalities remain present in the device, their short-cut key has merely been removed from the screen and now requires a button-press or access through a tree-menu or some other means of access as might be dependent on the exact structure of the user interface. Additionally, while other short-cut keys have been reduced in size, other keys remain more prominent. This can be a result of default settings that identify certain features as being more mission critical than others or as a result of specific user settings.
  • [0090]
    An example of dynamic adjustment in a user interface as it pertains to a zooming feature is illustrated in FIG. 6C. For example, a user device 645 is shown listing several electronic mails of the user. In an effort to provide the user with as much information as possible, electronic mail information is presented in a small font size making it difficult for a user to sometimes comprehend the information presented on the device 645. Utilizing a dynamic adjustment zooming feature, as a user scrolls up and down the list of electronic mails, a highlighted or selected electronic mail 650 is magnified or ‘zoomed’ whereby the font size is increased and all other electronic mails present on the device 645 are either further reduced in size whereby all information remains on the screen but in varying sizes or certain electronic mail listing are ‘dropped’ from the screen (e.g., instead of ten commonly sized electronic mail listings, zooming-in on any particular electronic mail message will result in one magnified message and seven messages at the original size with the other two messages ‘dropped’ from the screen).
  • [0091]
    FIG. 6D illustrates dynamic adjustments in a user interface as those adjustments might pertain to a ‘quick-look’ or ‘short attention span’ feature. For example, providing the user with all possible available information and in a minute font size may be appropriate when a user of device is able to provide their undivided attention to the device and focus attentively on that information as is shown in device 655. In device 655, the user is presented with time and date information 660, various feature or short-cut keys 665 (e.g., phone, Internet, electronic mail, calendar, contacts, notepad) and a tool bar 670.
  • [0092]
    In some instances, however, a user may be unable to direct their undivided attention to their device as they might be walking while reviewing their device or driving a vehicle. In these instances, the user is forced to divide their attention; for example, ensuring the user does not accidentally walk into another person or veer off the road. The user, to the extent it is necessary for them to access their device with divided attention, often only need to take a ‘quick-look’ at information. Device 675 illustrates a user interface whereby a ‘quick look feature’ is enabled whereby only essential information is displayed. For example, in device 675 with a quick-look interface enabled, the user is still presented with time and date information 680 but that information is enlarged in size and takes up twice as much space as the time and date information 660 in non-quick-look enabled device 655. Additionally, the short cut keys 685 have been reduced in number to only those of utmost importance. In this case, those keys are phone, calendar, and contacts and they are displayed at nearly three-times their normal size. Further, the tool bar 690 has been totally dropped from the screen as it is unlikely a user will be performing maintenance or adjusting settings on their device 675 while only able to offer a short amount of attention.
  • [0093]
    In a short-attention span or quick-look mode, the adjustment and selection of features to be displayed and, likewise, those features removed from the display can be set by default (e.g., factory settings) or they can be modified by the user as they reflect the user's needs. Furthermore, using an agnostic user interface, the displayed information will adjust in size as is set forth by the default settings or the user in conjunction with certain limitation posed by the actual device (e.g., screen size).
  • [0094]
    FIG. 7A illustrates an embodiment of a layout engine 700 that may be found in particular embodiments of the presently described agnostic user interface. Layout engine 700 comprises a rules engine 720 and a logic engine 730. An embodiment of the layout engine 700 provides intelligent flexibility for adjusting interface layout (e.g., spatial interrelationships between elements and/or information and/or structural aspects therein) to fit multiple screen sizes, densities and aspect ratios.
  • [0095]
    Rules engine 720 comprises a variety of defined constraints with regard to the display of user information on the display of a device. For example, rules engine 720 may be programmed to understand that the particular device on which the rules engine 720 resides has a limited screen size in terms of pixels or limitations with regard to the number of colors the display can render. Other rules might include this display of certain language or file formats (e.g., HTML, *.pdf, or *.ppt). Additional rules may be related to limitations on dedicated processing power for the rendering of any particular graphic as it pertains to the general operation of the device or during a particular operation (e.g., while downloading content from a website).
  • [0096]
    The constraints delineated in the rules engine 720 can be installed by an original equipment manufacturer or may be subject to user adjustment (e.g., deactivating default settings). Constraints in the rules engine 720 may also be updated automatically during the operation of the device or configured as the result of intelligent determinations by the device.
  • [0097]
    For example, if a rules engine 720 determines that it is resident on a device for which it does not know the pixel limitations of the display, it can make certain assumptions as to the display size. The rules engine 720 might recognize that the layout engine 700 is resident on a Nokia 6600 Series phone but not that it is on a Nokia 6680 phone, in particular. From the rules engine's 720 knowledge of the Nokia 6600 Series, it can make an assumption that the pixel limitations are ‘at least’ or ‘at most’ certain numbers. As a result, the layout engine 700 may not produce an optimized graphic image on the device but at least one sufficient to operate and not cause a degraded viewing experience like that shown in FIG. 5B (520).
  • [0098]
    The rules engine 720 can also receive new updates with regard to device information during a synchronization operation with a desktop PC or server that hosts other programs related to the device (e.g., a mail forwarding program that forwards mail from the desktop to the mobile device). These updates might be downloaded at the desktop PC or server automatically or as a result of the user affirmatively downloading an upgrade or patch from the appropriate provider of that information (e.g., the device manufacturer or the agnostic interface designer).
  • [0099]
    The rules engine 720 can also request the user manually provide this information if an assumption or synchronization operation fails to provide the necessary information.
  • [0100]
    An input request 710 from the user of the device or a program running on the device comprises a request to display certain information on the device; for example, a text box of x*y pixel size or a particular color. As noted, this request might be generated by the user during the course of using a drawing application. Similarly, this request might be generated by a particular program as a result of the occurrence of a particular event, for example, an alarm indication that generates a text box indicating a certain event is about to begin. The input request 710 need not be of any particular format or language so long as it may be processed by the layout engine 700 with regard to determining whether the particular text and/or graphic event may be displayed on the device in accordance with requested size, color, configuration, etc.
  • [0101]
    The layout engine 700 also comprises the aforementioned logic engine 730. The logic engine 730, based on an input request 710, will query the rules engine 720 to determine if the particular input request 710 may be processed as requested on the particular device or if some adjustments will be required with regard to the limitations of the device as set forth in the rules engine 720. For example, an input request 710 might request the display of a text box of x*y size and of a particular shade of aqua. The layout engine 700's logic engine 730 will identify the requested parameters (e.g., size and color) and make a query of the rules engine 720 to determine if the particular device hosting the layout engine 700 can accommodate the request 710. If the rules engine 720 reflects that the request 710 can be processed and subsequently rendered without violating a particular rule, the logic engine 730 will approve the request 710 thereby resulting in an output instruction 740.
  • [0102]
    Output instruction 740, like the input request 710, is not of any particular format or language so long as it may be generated by the layout engine 700 with regard to indicating that a particular text and/or graphic event may be displayed on the device in accordance with requested size, color, configuration, etc. Instruction 740 need only be capable of subsequently being processed by the appropriate component of the device providing for the display of the text and/or graphic event (e.g., a graphics or rendering engine (not shown)).
  • [0103]
    Should the logic engine's 730 query of the rules engine 720 determine that the requested text and/or graphic event cannot be displayed on the particular device, the logic engine 730 may further query the rules engine 720 to determine what the particular constraints of the device are with regard to the rejected event (e.g., the device cannot display aqua but can display light blue). This information might also reside directly in the logic engine 730 or at a locale on the device accessible by the engine 730. For example, information pertaining to commonly requested display events might be cached in the logic engine 730 or in memory (not shown) accessible by the logic engine 730.
  • [0104]
    Similarly, the logic engine 730, in certain embodiments, may be trained whereby the logic engine 730 begins to recognize a repeated display event and without query to the rules engine 720, understands that such a display event is impossible or otherwise violates the rules of the device as set forth in the rules engine 720. Through the training of the logic engine 730 and the now absent need for continued queries to the rules engine 720, the processing speed of a display event may be increased.
  • [0105]
    The logic engine 730, in some embodiments, may also be expressly instructed by the user (e.g., through pre-programming or a query during processing) to respond to a particular violation of a constraint set forth in the rules engine 720 in a particular manner. For example, if the request 710 pertains to the display of aqua but the device can only display light blue, the user might pre-program the logic engine 730 to display sea-foam green instead of resorting to light blue.
  • [0106]
    Once the logic engine 730 determines the constraints of the particular device in conjunction with the requested event as reflected by the input request 710, the layout engine will generate the output instruction 740 that best reflects the scope of the initial request 710 but while remaining within the particular constraints as set forth by the rules engine 720 or, in some embodiments, as directly instructed by the user. For example, the logic engine 730 may resort to the aforementioned example of light blue versus aqua.
  • [0107]
    By further example, if a request 710 pertains to the display of a graphic or text information that exceeds the size of the actual device (for example, as illustrated in FIG. 5B (540)), the logic engine may determine what information is necessary to be displayed to carry out the scope of the initial request 710.
  • [0108]
    For example, request 710 might pertain to displaying a user's contacts directory. On one device, the display of the directory might normally result in the concurrent display of the date and time as well as a telephone icon whereby a user can highlight a particular name in the contact directory and then ‘tap’ the telephone icon resulting in the phone dialing the number of the person in the contact directory (i.e., a speed-dial feature).
  • [0109]
    If the physical limitations of a particular device are such that the time and date, directory and speed-dial icon cannot all be displayed, the logic engine 730 will determine what information is critical to the scope of the request 710 and, operating within the confines of the rules engine 720, generate an output instruction 740 that will result in, for example, the relocation of the speed-dial icon on the display to a more efficient space, the reduction in size of the contacts directory (or the display of only a limited number of names in the directory) and the total removal of the date and time from the display during this particular operation.
  • [0110]
    An embodiment of the layout engine 700 may also provide for cross-representation of resources such as bitmaps, templates or screen layouts, animations and sounds.
  • [0111]
    As illustrated in FIG. 7B, the rules engine 720 of the layout engine 700 may be integrated with the abstraction layer 420 of the virtual platform 400 that allows for the interoperability of a particular user interface on any variety of devices and/or platforms. While the layout engine 700 and virtual platform 400 need not necessarily be physically integrated, the agnostic user interface of the present invention requires that the two components at least be capable of communicating with one another as to allow for the translation of what might be a foreign instruction by the virtual platform 400 into an instruction otherwise comprehensible by the layout engine 700.
  • [0112]
    In some embodiments, the layout engine 700 may be further integrated with a cross-platform events engine as is described in FIG. 12.
  • [0113]
    In some embodiments of the present invention, the rendering of an agnostic user interface will be effectuated utilizing vector graphics although the rendering of agnostic user interface information may also occur through the use of other graphic rendering techniques. Vector graphics represent those graphic images generated from mathematical descriptions that determine the position, length, and direction in which mathematically-describable objects—such as lines, ellipses, rectangles, rounded rectangles, abstract polygons, filled and non-filled regions, gradients, fountain fills, Bezier curves and so forth—are drawn. Unlike raster graphics, objects are not created as patterns of individual dots or pixels. Through utilizing vector graphics, the ‘look and feel’ of a particular interface is maintained across platforms and devices thereby resulting in increased scalability as each element is stored as an independent object.
  • [0114]
    Vector graphics also aid with regard to ‘skinning’ whereby the look of a particular platform or software program is changes but its underlying functionality remains unaltered. Through the use of skinning, opportunities for branding, advertising, and user customization are also increased. Skinning also allows for platform independence whereby one customized user interface can be ported to various devices or operating platforms and because of the utilization of vector graphics versus rasterization or bitmapping, that one interface can be scaled and adjusted as necessary by, for example, a layout engine 700 and/or virtual platform 400. The end result of using vector graphics is that ‘real space’ remains consistent and relative.
  • [0115]
    Graphic renderings may also be expressed as a relationship between a particular point and its location on a Cartesian grid (e.g., a grid system). For example, FIG. 8 illustrates such a Cartesian grid 800. In such a rendering system, a base coordinate 810 is first identified that will serve as the starting point (either directly or indirectly) for all other graphic information rendered on a display. In the presently illustrated embodiment, all points on the Cartesian grid are expressed in the form of pixels. Other embodiments may utilize any type of scaling unit so long as it provides a consistent basis for determining distance between points.
  • [0116]
    Rendering a graphic from the base coordinate 810, a second coordinate 820 may be identified. The second coordinate 820, in the present example, may be reflected formulaically as a base coordinate plus a modifier in the context of an overarching constant (base+% modifier+f(x)). In this example, the constant has been reflected as pixels, more specifically one pixel; scaling units other than a pixel can be utilized as can constants other than one. Second coordinate 820, in this instance, is rendered as a result of being located on the Y-axis at a 4-times percentage increase over the Y-axis location of base coordinate 810 in the context of a 1 pixel scaling unit. In other words, coordinate 820 is located 4 pixels higher on the Y-axis as is base coordinate 810.
  • [0117]
    Third coordinate 830 is depicted in a similar fashion wherein it is located at 4-times the pixel percentage on the X-axis as from second coordinate 820 and 4-times the pixel percentage of the X-axis and Y-axis as compared to base coordinate 810. Base coordinate 810 in conjunction with second 820 and third coordinates 830 result in the rendering of a triangle 840 on the display.
  • [0118]
    A coordinate layout system is not meant to be limited to only a Cartesian grid but also encompasses, for example, polar coordinates and a three dimensional grid (i.e., x*y*z).
  • [0119]
    The final rendering of one object can be used as a base coordinate for a second object in a semantic coordinate layout system. For example, third coordinate 830 can be utilized as a second base coordinate 850 for a new object. That is, the upper right hand corner of a first object (triangle 840) serves as the bottom left corner of a second object (square 850).
  • [0120]
    For further example, utilizing an exemplary semantic coordinate layout system, a first base coordinate might be identified as the upper right hand corner of another object (e.g., coordinate 850). In some instances, however, the location of the upper right hand corner of another object will not be known as a layout engine 700, for example, may still be determining the locale of certain information to be rendered.
  • [0121]
    Once the layout engine 700 evaluates the layout of a particular device, the actual location of the upper right hand corner of another object is ascertained. Once that location is ascertained (e.g., coordinate 850), semantic coordinates allow for the rendering of additional coordinates and/or the entire remainder of an object. This late binding of locations through the use of a semantic specification (e.g., the upper left of object Y is ten pixels from the lower right of object X) further allows for automatic adjustment of layout.
  • [0122]
    Formulaic expression may also be used in a semantic coordinate layout system. For example, (Lower Y=Upper Right X+20% of Width of X+10 Display Units). In this example, none of the values are immediately calculable until the layout engine 700 renders object Y and a relationship between display unit and pixel (or some other base measurement) is determined by the layout engine 700.
  • [0123]
    The exemplary formulas provided herein are not meant to be limiting. Various other formulaic entries may be utilized in the rendering and layout of objects and information.
  • [0124]
    In some embodiments of the present invention, the rendering of objects or information in a scalable user interface that operates agnostically of device or platform will often utilize a combination of vector graphics, a grid system and/or a semantic coordinate layout system. For example, a line is specified as being drawn from point x1, y1 to point x2, y2 with a specified line width and perhaps a specified arc. Points x1, y1 and x2, y2 may be determined as the result of utilizing a grid layout system. Individual objects may then be rendered in light of these coordinates using vector graphics. Additional objects may then be expressed as semantic coordinates considering certain coordinates of previously rendered objects.
  • [0125]
    Alternatively, some embodiments of the present invention may utilize bitmapping/rasterization in the context of a particular layout system (e.g., an object is rendered utilizing a combination of techniques individually and in conjunction with one another). For example, utilizing a semantic coordinate system, a base coordinate for a display button may be indicated as ten display units right from a previously rendered object. The actual button, however, may be a bitmap in a library and is rendered on the screen with its lower-left corner being at the base coordinate as determined by a semantic coordinate layout system.
  • [0126]
    The layout engine 700 of FIG. 7A may operate in conjunction with various rendering tools to result in scalable or intelligently placed graphic events. For example, the layout engine 700 may determine that an input request 710 to render a particular button or icon cannot be displayed as requested following a query to the rules engine 720. The logic engine 730, however, may instead determine what aspects of the particular icon need be adjusted or scaled (e.g., adjusting the display unit or constant) whereby the icon is still rendered but on a smaller scale in accordance with various vector graphic or coordinate layout techniques.
  • [0127]
    It should further be noted, as is illustrated in FIG. 9, that the rendering of graphic events or information can occur hierarchically. For example, display 900 may exhibit certain limitations as are recognized by a rules engine 720 (FIG. 7A). Limitations on display or other events can also be hierarchical and also stored in the rules engine 720.
  • [0128]
    An example of hierarchical limitations is shown whereby a sidebar 910 is comprised of various smaller icons 920-940. Sidebar 910 may impose its own independent limitations as they pertain to smaller icons 920-940, that is, smaller icons 920-940 cannot exceed the width and height of the sidebar 910 just as sidebar 910 may not exceed the limitations of display 900.
  • [0129]
    A similar situation exists with text boxes 950 and 970. Both text box 950 and text box 970 are comprised of smaller display elements 960 and 980-990, respectively. Display elements 960 and 980-990 must not exceed the limitations imposed by text boxes 950 and 970 just as those text boxes must not exceed the limitations of display 900.
  • [0130]
    Furthermore, limitations can exist between the smaller sub-elements of the display. For example, icons 920-940 may have a limitation wherein they cannot come within X pixels of one another due to color schemes that might begin to ‘blend’ together and result in a deteriorated viewing experience.
  • [0131]
    Similarly, display elements 980 and 990 may be fixed as to a certain size that cannot be scaled any larger or smaller due to the amount of textual information contained therein where, if reduced any further than its default font size, would render the amount of text illegible.
  • [0132]
    FIG. 10A illustrates a menu 1000 with available and not-available options as is known in the prior art. Menu 1000 illustrates a number of available menu items 1010 such as “New” and “Open.” Menu 1000 also displays a number of not available menu items 1020 such as “Close,” “Save” and “Properties.”
  • [0133]
    Available menu items 1010 are those menu items or commands that are presently available for execution, for example, opening a new file or opening an existing file. Not available menu items are those menu items or commands that are not presently available for execution due to any number of factors. For example, an actual file or document may not be open. In such a case, a non-existent file cannot be closed or saved. Similarly, properties as to a non-existent file cannot be displayed. Should a file actually be opened, it is possible that not available menu items 1020 may become available menu items 1010 as that now open file or document can now be closed, saved or have its properties reviewed.
  • [0134]
    In the prior art, not available menu items 1020 are usually displayed as ‘grayed out.’ That is, while available menu items 1010 are displayed in a generally prominent text and can be selected either through, for example, highlighting with a mouse or keypad; a macro or other combination of key combinations (e.g., Ctrl+N in Microsoft® Word results in a new document opening), those items that are not available (not available menu items 1020) are generally displayed in a less prominent text (e.g., a light gray color that still allows for readability but indicates its unavailability as menu command).
  • [0135]
    In applications with a large hierarchy of menu commands or menu commands with various levels (e.g., File-Open-Folder-File Name), selecting or executing an available menu command 1010 often takes up a large amount of screen space due to a multi-level menu tree or various other menu screens, tabs and so forth. In a device with limited display space (e.g., a mobile device), such a complex menu-tree can obfuscate the entire display or, in some instances, may not be subject to display in any form due to the number of levels and/or menus and processing or other display limitations of any particular device.
  • [0136]
    Even in applications with generally straight forward menu displays, a large number of menu commands can cause the menu to overlap beyond the height of the screen thereby causing the necessity of utilizing a scroll or elevator bar. While scroll or elevator bars can artificially provide additional space by scrolling available menu commands 1010 up and down the screen, operating such a scroll bar in a limited display area is disadvantageous in that operating minute display commands, such as a scroll bar, with generally small operational controls on a mobile device is more difficult than on a desktop or even a laptop personal computer.
  • [0137]
    Further, the scroll bar will cause certain available menu commands 1010 to disappear from the screen as available menu commands 1010 are scrolled up and down by the user. To do so might cause a particular command of importance or interest to a user to disappear as they view other available menu commands 1010. Part of this difficulty is a result of the integration of all menu commands on the menu, that is, both available menu commands 1010 and not available menu commands 1020. For example, a particular menu might comprise ten various commands. Despite the fact that only two of those commands might be available menu commands 1010 as a result of the current state of the device or an application, the remaining eight not available menu commands 1020 will still be displayed thereby utilizing large amount of screen display space.
  • [0138]
    FIG. 10B illustrates a menu 1030 exhibiting intelligent prioritization of menu commands as governed by their present availability according to an embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 10B, the state of the device or application is the same as that of the prior art menu as illustrated in FIG. 10A. In FIG. 10B, however, only available menu commands 1040 are displayed. This results in savings of space, memory and processing power as, for example, only two menu commands—New and Open—are displayed (available menu commands 1040). In such an embodiment of a menu 1030, it would not be necessary to utilize a scroll bar to access various menu commands as the menu 1030 is reduced in size due to the non-display of not available menu commands 1020.
  • [0139]
    Should the state of the device or application change, however, those commands that are presently not displayed but otherwise relevant to the change n device state would then be added to the list of available menu commands 1040 and displayed on the menu 1030.
  • [0140]
    FIG. 10C illustrates a menu 1050 exhibiting intelligent prioritization of menu commands as governed by user preference according to an embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 10C, the state of the device is such that a menu would normally, for example, display ten menu commands if it were a type of a menu as found in the prior art of FIG. 10A. In FIG. 10C, however, only preferred available menu commands 1060 are displayed; preferred available menu commands 1060 in this particular embodiment are not just those commands capable of execution but those commands capable of execution and whose display presence is preferred by the user of the mobile device.
  • [0141]
    For example, in menu 1050 the display of ten available menu commands 1060 would still occupy a large amount of space on most mobile devices despite the fact that, for example, five additional commands are not displayed as a result of them being not available. In this particular embodiment, the mobile device—as a result of logic contained in, for example, an abstraction layer—will recognize that of the ten available menu commands, the user of the mobile device only utilizes three of those menu commands on any regular basis. The mobile device will then display only those three menu commands as preferred available menu commands 1060. Those commands that are not preferred but are otherwise available will not be displayed 1070.
  • [0142]
    This results in a better end user experience through savings of space, memory and processing power in addition to smoother and more navigable interfaces as only those available menu commands actually needed by the user are displayed. In such an embodiment of a menu, it would not be necessary to utilize a scroll bar to access various menu commands as the menu 1050 is reduced in size due to the non-display of not available menu commands as well as available menu commands that are not preferred by the user.
  • [0143]
    Preferred available menu commands 1060 can be those commands as recognized by the device as being preferred (e.g., in 50 previous uses of a particular menu, only two commands out of ten were utilized) or can be identified manually be the user. Preferred available menu commands 1060 can also be set by default by the manufacturer of a device or agnostic platform. For example, it might be recognized in the industry that while particular menu commands might be useful, they are only utilized by a small percentage of the public utilizing the device. As such, only those commands used by the general public are displayed when available.
  • [0144]
    Should the state of the device or application change, however, those commands that are presently not displayed but preferred would then be added to the list of preferred available menu commands 1060 and displayed on the menu 1050 with regard to the state change invoking the availability of certain commands.
  • [0145]
    The same intelligence utilized in a menu can also be utilized with regard to display icons. FIG. 11A illustrates a device display 1100 wherein limitations as to screen size, pixels or other factors do not affect the display of a series of icons 1110-1140. These icons 1110-1140 may be for such functions as telephone, calendar, Internet and contacts.
  • [0146]
    FIG. 11B illustrates a device display 1150 wherein certain limitations, screen-width for example, make it impossible for the display of four icons of a given size. In this example, the device may display only those icons that are preferred by the user 1060-1070 such as calendar and telephone. Like the menu displayed in FIG. 10C, these preferred icons 1060-1070 may be the result of default preferences, user-input preferences or intelligent decision making by logic in a device. This logic may be similar to the logic used in a layout engine as illustrated in FIG. 7A.
  • [0147]
    FIG. 12 illustrates a cross-platform event engine 1200 as utilized in an exemplary embodiment of the present agnostic user interface. Cross-platform event engine 1200 comprises an event library 1210 and a logic engine 1220. An embodiment of the cross-platform event engine 1200 translates a first platform's events (e.g., key down, up, or center press) into event formats recognizable by a second platform whereby software code can operate unaltered on different platforms with different event encoding and/or event sets. An embodiment of the cross-platform event engine 1200 also ensures the presence and standardization of certain events (e.g., press-and-hold and key repeats).
  • [0148]
    Event library 1210 comprises information as it pertains to the occurrence of certain events on various devices and/or platforms. For example, event engine 1210 might be programmed to understand that by pressing and holding a particular button on a particular mobile device for a particular period of time (e.g, the ‘1’ number key for two seconds on a certain device) will result in the mobile device activating its telephone functionality and automatically dialing into a voice mail account assigned to that particular mobile device.
  • [0149]
    The information residing in the event library 1210 can be installed by an original equipment manufacturer or may be subject to user adjustment (e.g., deactivating default settings and/or imposing new settings). Information in the event library 1210 may also be updated automatically during the operation of the device or configured as the result of intelligent determinations by the device.
  • [0150]
    For example, if the event library 1210 determines that it is resident on a device for which it does not know what event will be triggered by the two-second press and hold of the ‘1’ key, the event library 1210 can make certain assumptions based on a particular series of a device but not the exact model. This assumptive logic is similar to that of the display engine as described in FIG. 7.
  • [0151]
    The event library 1210 can also receive new updates with regard to device information during a synchronization operation with a desktop PC or server that hosts other programs related to the device (e.g., a mail forwarding program that forwards mail from the desktop to the mobile device). These updates might be downloaded at the desktop PC or server automatically or as a result of the user affirmatively downloading an upgrade or patch from the appropriate provider of that information (e.g., the device manufacturer or the agnostic interface designer).
  • [0152]
    The event library 1210 can also request the user manually provide this information if an assumption or synchronization operation fails to provide the necessary information.
  • [0153]
    An event input 1230 from the user of the device or a program running on the device comprises a particular operation that should result in the activation of a particular application, the display of certain information or the invocation of some other functionality particular to the device. For example, the two-second hold and press of the ‘1’ number key should result in the launch of voice mail access on particular devices.
  • [0154]
    Similarly, this request might be generated by a particular program as a result of the occurrence of another particular event, for example, an internal alarm indication (e.g., it is now 8.00 AM) may result in result in the generation of a text box indicating a certain event is about to begin and accompanied by an alarm sound (e.g., a repeated beep). The execution of particular string of code in a device (e.g., the code for generating the box) may comprise event input 1230 just as may the activity of the user (e.g., press and hold of a particular key).
  • [0155]
    The event input 1230 need not be of any particular format or language so long as it may be processed by the cross-platform engine 1200 with regard to determining whether a particular application, sub-event, display, sound, etc. should be executed.
  • [0156]
    The cross-platform event engine 1200 also comprises the aforementioned logic engine 1220. The logic engine 1220, based on an event input 1230, will query the event library 1210 to determine if the particular event input 1230 may be processed as requested on the particular device or if some adjustments will be required with regard to the particular configuration of the device as set forth in the event library 1210.
  • [0157]
    If the event library 1210 reflects that the event input 1230 can be identified, processed and subsequently executed without resorting to translation or reconfiguration of the input, the logic engine 1220 will allow the event input 1230 to result in the generation of an event instruction 1240.
  • [0158]
    For example, the user presses and holds the ‘1’ key for two seconds (event input 1230). The cross-platform event engine 1200 will accept the event input 1230 and will query the event library 1210 with regard to the event engine 1200 having received this particular input. The event library 1210 (presuming it to have been programmed with this particular information) will recognize that on a particular device, a two-second press and hold of the ‘1’ key is meant to execute a telephone call to the user's voice mail. The event library 1210 will communicate the identification of this operation to the logic engine 1220. The logic engine will then identify that the device is compatible with that operation thereby resulting in the generation of an event instruction 1240 that will cause the activation of a telephone call to the user's voice mail.
  • [0159]
    Event instruction 1240, like the event input 1230, is not of any particular format or language so long as it may be generated by the cross-platform event engine 1200 with regard to indicating that a particular text and/or graphic event may be displayed on the device or that a particular application or other operation should be executed in accordance with the event input 1230.
  • [0160]
    Should the logic engine's 1220 query of the event library 1210 determine that the requested operation is not immediately compatible with the present device (e.g., the device does not utilize a two-second press and hold for voice mail access but a three-second press and hold), the logic engine 1220 may further query the event library 1210 to determine what the particular configuration of the device allows for the identical or similar operation and, if so, whether the particular event request 1230 can be converted or translated into a request that will result in the identical or similar operation.
  • [0161]
    For example, if the device recognizes that a two-second press and hold is being executed, the logic engine 1220, after having accessed the events library 1210, might recognize that this particular event is usually associated with voice mail access on particular devices. The logic engine 1220, in conjunction with the events library 1210, will determine that while voice mail access is possible on the present device, access requires the execution of a three-second press and hold event. The cross platform event engine 1200 will convert the initial request (1230) into the proper request whereby access to voice mail will occur as the result of an event instruction 1240.
  • [0162]
    Information pertaining to possible translation or conversion might also reside directly in the logic engine 1220 or at a locale on the device accessible by the engine 1220. For example, information pertaining to common events might be cached in the logic engine 1220 or in memory (not shown) accessible by the logic engine 1220.
  • [0163]
    Similarly, the logic engine 1220, in certain embodiments, may be trained, whereby the logic engine 1220 begins to recognize a repeated event input 1230 and without query to the event library 1210 understands that such an event is possible but initiated through a different process as defined by the event library 1210. Through the training of the logic engine 1220 and the now absent need for continued queries to the event library 1210, the processing speed of an event instruction 1240 is increased.
  • [0164]
    The logic engine 1220, in some embodiments, may also be expressly instructed by the user (e.g., through pre-programming or a query during processing) to respond to a particular difference in configuration as identified by the event library 1210 in a particular manner. For example, if the event input 1230 pertains to the particular timing of a key press to activate a particular application, the user might pre-program the logic engine 1220 to automatically launch that application (e.g., as a default) instead of querying the events library 1210 and perhaps coming to an erroneous result as to the particular nature of the event and how it might be processed in its native environment.
  • [0165]
    In that regard, the cross-platform events engine 1200 can further be configured to recognize that the user of the device is perhaps most familiar with a particular operating system platform or mobile device. In that regard, the logic engine 1220, in conjunction with event library 1210, may consider, in the event there is a disparity as to what event a user actually seeks to execute through an event input 1230, those events that relate to the user's more familiar platform or device prior to considering any other particular events as they relate to less familiar devices or platforms.
  • [0166]
    For example, a first device might associate a two-second press and hold with attempting to access voice mail. A second device might associate a two-second hold with launching an electronic mail program and wirelessly accessing the Internet. On a separate device running a cross-events platform 1200, the events library 1210 will be programmed with information concerning events as they relate to both devices (e.g., a two-second press and hold relating to voice mail on the first device and electronic mail on the second). When an event input 1230 (two-second button hold) is received by the cross-platform event engine 1200, the logic engine 1220 will query the event library 1210 and recognize that such an input 1230 can have a differing result between devices. Having been previously programmed to note that the user formerly was a ‘first device’ user, however, the logic engine 1220 will elect to convert the input 1230 to an input compatible with voice mail access thereby resulting in voice mail access (through instruction 1240) rather than electronic mail and Internet access as would be appropriate had the user been a former ‘second device’ user.
  • [0167]
    An embodiment of the cross-platform event engine 1200 also allows for cross-platform representation of strings and other executables.
  • [0168]
    Like the layout engine in FIG. 7B, the event library 1210 of the cross-platform event engine 1200 may be integrated with the abstraction layer 420 of the virtual platform 400 that allows for the interoperability of a particular user interface on any variety of devices and/or platforms. This integration may also include integration with the layout engine 700. While the cross-platform event engine 1200 and virtual platform 400 need not necessarily be physically integrated, the agnostic user interface of the present invention requires that the two components at least be capable of communicating with one another as to allow for the translation of what might be a foreign instruction into an instruction otherwise comprehensible by the cross-platform event engine 1200.
  • [0169]
    While some mobile devices now offer a full QWERTY keyboard on the device to allow for text entry for the purposes of, for example, generating electronic mail or updating a contact database, these keyboards take up a large amount of space and can cause a mobile device to be too wide or too large for a particular user's requirements. As such, a number of mobile devices utilize what is known as triple-tap (sometimes referred to as triple-press) text entry. FIG. 13A illustrates a portion of a keypad 1300 as might be utilized in triple-tap text entry on a mobile device as is known in the prior art.
  • [0170]
    In a triple-tap device, the keypad is that of a telephone keypad with groups of letters in alphabetical order and associated with particular number keys. For example, number key 2 1310 in FIG. 13A is associated with letters A, B and C. Similarly, number key 3 1320 in FIG. 13A is associated with letters D, E and F.
  • [0171]
    To enter text on a device utilizing a triple-tap text entry, the user taps the key the number of times corresponding to the position of the letter in the standard ordering. For example, to enter the letter “A,” the user presses the ‘2’ key once; to enter the letter “B,” the user presses the ‘2’ key twice (A-B); to enter the letter “C,” the user presses the ‘2’ key three-times (A-B-C).
  • [0172]
    The difficulty with triple-tap is that the device or platform operating the triple-tap text entry method must deal with segmentation issues, that is, when two characters that are mapped to the same key are entered consecutively (e.g., A and B on number key two 1310 as in the word absent or A and A on the number key two 1310 as in the word aardvark). The issue becomes when does the first ‘tap’ series end and the second ‘tap’ series begin.
  • [0173]
    The typical solution to segmentation is generally known as the ‘timeout approach.’ Using timeout, a device determines when a user has finished cycling through characters on a particular key. A preset timeout period, usually one to two seconds, must elapse before another character can be entered on the same key. If the user enters another character on the same key before the timeout period has elapsed, the current character is overwritten with the next character in order.
  • [0174]
    Using the previous example, to enter the word ‘absent,’ the user would tap the ‘2’ key 1310 once to enter the letter ‘A.’ The user must then let the timeout period of two seconds expire before tapping the ‘2’ key 1310 two more times in order to enter the letter ‘B.’ If the user taps the ‘2’ key 1310 even once before the expiration of the timeout period, the initial ‘A’ will be overwritten by a ‘B.’
  • [0175]
    Disambiguating input, that is, removing ambiguities (e.g., when does a first ‘tap’ series begin and a second ‘tap’ series end) from a keypad using triple-tap can often be tedious and inefficient. An alternative to triple-tap text entry is T9® predictive text input as offered by Tegic Communications, Inc. FIG. 13B illustrates a mobile device 1330 utilizing the T9 text-entry methodology as is known in the prior art.
  • [0176]
    T9® text-entry incorporates linguistic knowledge, in the form of a dynamic dictionary and word probabilities, to perform disambiguation. Using T9® text-entry, a word is defined as any sequence of key presses. Generally, the space key (or the zero key) is used to delineate words and terminate disambiguation. For a given sequence of key presses, the system retrieves a list of words from its dictionary that could be entered with that sequence. The list is then ordered in descending order of word probabilities and the most probable word is presented to the user initially or, in some embodiments, automatically entered into the string of text. If the initial prediction is incorrect, the user can scroll through the list of predicted words to try and find the correct word.
  • [0177]
    Despite the predictive intelligence of a T9®-type system, some mobile devices will still rely on triple-tap entry in conjunction with T9® for actual entry of text. That is, a user will still utilize a telephone-type keypad as evidenced in FIG. 13A in conjunction will the predictive analysis of T9® as shown in FIG. 13B. As such, the segmentation issue still remains.
  • [0178]
    Normally, a user will become accustomed to the timeout period of a particular device and learn to adjust to that period when entering text. Some systems might allow for the timeout period to be manually set or adjusted by the user. For example, if a user happens to enter text at a slow-pace, the timeout period can be extended from two-seconds to three- to four-seconds or longer depending on the user's particular preferences. Likewise, the timeout period can be shortened if a user is a particularly fast typist. In other embodiments, the timeout period can be the result of training (e.g., observing key press rates over the course of 1,000 key presses).
  • [0179]
    The difficulty arises, however, when a user switches from one device or platform to another device or platform. The timeout period of a first device may not (and often is not) the same as the second device. As such, the user will often experience a great deal of difficulty and delay with regard to entering text into a device using triple-tap or triple-tap and T9® in combination on the new device with a foreign timeout period.
  • [0180]
    Using an agnostic interface, however, difficulties encountered with a particular timeout period can be overcome whereby a timeout period is made agnostic across various platforms. Certain embodiments of the present invention provide users with an interface experience on one particular device (e.g., triple-tap, T9®, eZi mode) while utilizing a different device.
  • [0181]
    In an embodiment of the present invention, as illustrated in FIG. 14A, an on-screen text box 1410 in a mobile device 1400 is synchronized with an off-screen text buffer 1420.
  • [0182]
    With every key press, the off-screen text buffer 1420 is populated with indicia of that particular key press. For example, if the user presses the ‘2’ key, the off-screen buffer 1420 is populated or ‘strobed’ with an indication that the ‘2’ key has been pressed once (e.g., 2). If the user presses the ‘2’ key again, the off-screen buffer 1420 is cleared and re-populated or ‘strobed’ with an indicator of the ‘2’ key having been pressed twice (e.g., 2, 2). Should the user then press the ‘2’ key a third-time, the off-screen buffer 1420 is again cleared and re-populated or ‘strobed’ with an indicator of the ‘2’ key having now been pressed three times (e.g., 2, 2, 2). If, at any time, a particular key is not repeated (e.g., the ‘2’ key) the off-screen buffer 1420 synchronizes with the on-screen text box 1410 and populates the on-screen text box 1420 as appropriate. That is, the off-screen text box 1420 will effectively ‘carriage right’ by causing population of the on-screen text box 1410 with the appropriate textual character.
  • [0183]
    For example, if the ‘2’ key is pressed once and then followed by the ‘3’ key, the off-screen text buffer 1420 will populate the on-screen text box 1410 with the letter ‘A’ and, eventually, ‘D.’ If the user presses the ‘2’ key twice, followed by the ‘3’ key twice, followed by the ‘6’ key twice, then the on-screen text box 1410 will become populated with the letters ‘B’ and ‘E’ and, eventually, ‘N.’
  • [0184]
    Using this off-screen and on-screen synchronization methodology, the timeout function becomes unnecessary. The device, through using the off-screen text buffer 1420, simply need refer to the ongoing string of text in determining whether population of the on-screen text box 1410 is appropriate. If a key other than the initial key is pressed (e.g., ‘2’ followed by ‘3’), then a right-carriage function is appropriate (e.g., move to the next character in the word) and the on-screen text box 1410 should be populated. If the same key as the initial key is pressed (e.g., ‘2’ followed by ‘2’), then there exists the possibility of a third repetition of ‘2’ and population of the on-screen text box 1410 should be delayed until a right-carriage function is confirmed (i.e., the entry of a new key).
  • [0185]
    FIG. 14B further illustrates a string of key press entries 1430 as might be found in an off-screen text buffer 1420 as described in FIG. 14A. In the present figure, the user has initially key pressed ‘7’. Number key ‘7’ can be associated with the letters ‘P,’ ‘Q,’ ‘R’ and ‘S’ in addition to the number ‘7.’
  • [0186]
    In a traditional triple-tap system, the user would press the ‘7’ key and the letter ‘P’ (being the first textual character associated with the ‘7’ key) would immediately appear on the display. Immediately after pressing the ‘7’ key, the timeout function would begin wherein an internal timer would begin calculating the expiration of the timeout period. If they ‘7’ key were pressed again during the timeout period, the previously displayed ‘P’ would be immediately converted to the letter ‘Q’ (being the second textual character associated with the ‘7’ key). The timeout period would then re-commence as the user could still desire to enter the letters ‘R’ or ‘S’ in addition to the number ‘7.’
  • [0187]
    If the user pressed the ‘7’ key after the expiration of the timeout period and following the initial display of the letter ‘P,’ however, the letter ‘P’ would remain on the display and a second letter ‘P’ would appear and the timeout sequence as described above would now commence for this second textual character to be displayed. Proper display of text is dependent upon the user properly making key presses during or outside of the timeout period.
  • [0188]
    Using the off-screen text buffer 1420, however, the device instead relies on the string of key press entries 1430 versus the timeout period. For example, the user has key pressed the aforementioned ‘7’ as well as ‘3,’ ‘8,’ ‘3’ and ‘6.’ As none of the key presses involve a repeat of a key press (e.g., ‘3’ followed by ‘3’ thereby indicating the letter ‘E’), it is determined that each key press is meant to render the display of the first textual character associated with each of these number keys (i.e., S E V E N). The ‘0’ (space) key is followed by ‘6,’ ‘3,’ ‘8,’ ‘9,’ ‘6,’ ‘7,’ ‘5’ and ‘7.’ Again, as there are no repeat key presses, it is determined that the textual display should accord with the first textual character associated with each key (i.e., N E T W O R K S).
  • [0189]
    FIG. 15 illustrates a method 1500 for utilizing the off-screen text buffer 1420 as described in FIGS. 14A and 14B. In step 1510, the off-screen text buffer (1420) is cleared and made ready for the entry of a first key press indicator. In step 1520, the user makes a key press and an indicator of that key press (e.g., ‘7’) is entered into the off-screen text buffer (1420; 1430).
  • [0190]
    The user will then make a subsequent key press 1530 (e.g., ‘3’) and the device then determines 1540 if the subsequent key press 1530 is a repeat character as compared to the previously entered character (e.g., ‘3’-‘3’). If the subsequent key press 1530 is a repeat character, the off-screen text buffer is cleared 1550 and the off-screen text buffer is re-populated 1560 with all previous indicators plus the most recently entered subsequent key press indicator. The device will then await the entry of a subsequent key press 1530.
  • [0191]
    If the subsequent key press 1530 is not a repeat character (e.g., ‘7’-‘3’-‘8’), then the device will populate 1570 the on-screen text box 1410 with the appropriate textual characters thus far entered (e.g., ‘S’ and ‘E,’ to be followed, presumably, by the letter ‘V’). The device will then continue with the entry of a particular word 1580 in a similar fashion.
  • [0192]
    With the use of T9®, a similar system of on-screen text box 1410 and off-screen text buffer 1420 and method 1500 are utilized. With T9®, however, the context of a string of key presses (e.g., string 1430) is parsed to make intelligent language determinations. The length of the context (e.g., the length of the string) can be set as a matter of default or by the user of the device or based upon particular manufacturer setting determined by the particular parser utilized in a device. For example, context may be one word, one sentence or even a full paragraph dependent of the intelligence of the T9®-type system used.
  • [0193]
    An embodiment of the present agnostic interface may also allow for pictorial-language entry, for example, Japanese-language entry in Kanji. Through an optional translation language engine, for example, a particular entry in Kanji in the on-screen text box 1410 can be associated with a character entry in the off-screen text buffer 1420. A translation engine may be embodied in an abstract layer 420 and/or through a rules engine or information library or module.
  • [0194]
    FIG. 16 illustrates an exemplary method 1600 for utilizing a layout engine to display graphics and/or text in an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0195]
    A request 1610 will first be made of the layout engine to render certain text or graphics information. In accordance with this request 1610, a query will be made to the rules engine in step 1620 to obtain information as to whether or not the particular device or platform can process the request 1610 as initially submitted to the layout engine dependent upon certain constraints of the particular device or platform. The layout engine will then make that determination in step 1630 as to whether the constraints of the device allow processing of the request 1610.
  • [0196]
    If the request 1610 can be processed, the layout engine will allow display of the requested graphics and/or text 1640 through the generation of an output instruction as discussed in the context of FIG. 7A. If the request 1610 cannot be processed, the layout engine will further determine the constraints of the particular device in step 1650; that is, what aspect of the present device is preventing the display of the text and/or graphics information as submitted through request 1610. The layout engine, in step 1660, will then determine the scope of the original request and how to best display the requested text and/or graphics information while staying within the scope of that request (e.g., rendering a graphic in red as opposed to the requested maroon). The layout engine, through an output instruction, will then render graphics and/or text information in step 1670 that corresponds to the constraints of the particular device and the original scope of the request 1610.
  • [0197]
    During step 1620, if the query to the rules engine results in no determination of particular limitations of the device, an optional step 1680 with regard to obtaining that information can be made before repeating the query to the rules engine as described in step 1620. This optional information obtaining step 1680 can be the result of a synchronization operation, a software update, manual input or an intelligent assumption as made by the layout engine.
  • [0198]
    FIG. 17 illustrates an exemplary method 1700 for utilizing a cross-platform events engine to execute cross-platform events in a native environment in an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0199]
    In step 1710, an event as input by the user or generated by a device is received by the cross-platform events engine. In step 1720, the events engine will query the events library to determine the nature of the request (e.g., what application should be executed as a result of a two-second button press?).
  • [0200]
    If the event request received 1710 by the engine can be processed on the particular device—as determined in step 1730—the engine will allow for execution 1740 of the particular application or occurrence of other actions that result from the initially received event request.
  • [0201]
    If the event request received 1710 by the engine cannot be processed on the particular device, the engine will further query the library to determine why the event cannot be processed in step 1750. For example, is an action associated with a two-second button press, is there a multitude of actions associated with a two-second button press or is an illegal operation associated with a two-second button press (e.g., the associated event is the launch of a non-present application). In the case of a multitude of operations being associated with the event received in step 1710, the events library might be programmed to note that the user of the device is a former user of a particular device as would be discovered during optional query step 1790. In such a situation, the events engine would associate that former device with the received event 1710 before associating it with a second or any other event.
  • [0202]
    In step 1760, the events engine will, having determined the operational limits of the device in step 1750, determine whether the initial event request received in step 1710 can be converted to a request that can be processed by the device (e.g., a two-second hold for voice mail on one device is equivalent to a three-second hold on the present device thereby requiring the conversion of information related to a two-second hold as information related to a three-second hold).
  • [0203]
    If the initial request received in step 1710 cannot be converted, the device will return an illegal operation error notification in step 1770. The device will then query the user whether they wish to allocate a particular action or result with the initially received event request in step 1775. For example, the present device may not have any action associated with a two-second button press but will allow the user to assign one. Having assigned an action to the event in step 1775, the device may then re-initiate the sequence be providing this new information to the event library and initiating query step 1720.
  • [0204]
    If the initial request received in step 1710 can be converted, conversion of that request will occur in step 1780. Various techniques are known in the art for converting one informational format to another. For example, transcoding or ‘spoofing’ one request as another through providing an alias or ‘wrapper’ around the actual request while presenting it as the aliased request. Following conversion of the request in step 1780, the event or action associated with the request will be executed in step 1785.
  • [0205]
    FIGS. 18A and 18B illustrate the management of information displayed on a mobile device 1800 using five-way navigation. Shown on the display of mobile device 1800 are a series of electronic mail messages 1810 as might be displayed in a mailbox feature on a mobile device.
  • [0206]
    In order to manage electronic mail messages, for example, it is necessary to move a highlight bar to a particular message, open the message, enter a delete command either manually, through a drop-down menu or through icon selection, and finally confirm deletion of a message before the message is finally removed from a mobile device's mailbox. In systems where a mobile device is synchronized with a desktop mailbox (e.g., Microsoft® Outlook), an additional confirmation is often required as to whether the user wishes to delete the message only on the mobile device, only on the desktop or on both the handheld and the desktop. The process is then repeated for each message to be deleted. For a user that receives a large number of electronic mail messages on their mobile device, this can be extremely tedious and time consuming in addition to wasting battery and processing resources.
  • [0207]
    FIG. 18B illustrates the use of a five-way navigation control 1820 to manage information such as electronic mail. Using the five-way navigation control 1820 allows a user to move an icon, cursor or other indicator on a display up, down, left, and right in addition to a confirmation or ‘down click’ feature wherein the user presses down on the center of the navigation tool in an action sometimes equivalent to the pressing of the carriage return key on a keyboard. Five-way navigation allows a user to operate various functionalities of a mobile device with one hand and without the use of, for example, a stylus.
  • [0208]
    In FIG. 18B, as in FIG. 18A, a list of five electronic mails is presented. Should the user wish to delete two of those electronic mails (1830 and 1840), using traditional management methods would require the user to highlight the first message (1830), open the message, enter a delete command either manually, through a drop-down menu or through icon selection and then confirm deletion of the message. Using an exemplary five-way navigation technique, the user can navigate down the message to be deleted (1830) by pressing down on the navigation tool 1820 and then pressing the navigation tool 1820 to the right and then down clicking whereby the message is then highlighted and selected for further action, in this instance, deletion.
  • [0209]
    The user can then press the navigation tool 1820 down two more times to arrive at a second message to be deleted (1840). The user can then highlight the message for deletion as in the instance of message 1820. The user can then, at an appropriate time, select a ‘delete all’ command wherein all highlighted messages are then deleted.
  • [0210]
    Using five-way navigation is not limited to deletion of messages. A user could also select files to review (e.g., where the user has access to desktop files) or could also manage files or messages to be placed in particular mobile device folders for organization using similar navigation and highlighting techniques. Similarly, a user could select various contacts in a directory to electronically ‘beam’ (e.g., through a Bluetooth® or infrared transmission) to another user.
  • [0211]
    The above-described embodiments are exemplary. For example, the present agnostic interface also allows for building various applications (e.g., gaming applications) across various platforms and devices. One skilled in the art will recognize and appreciate various applications of the disclosed invention beyond those presently described here. This disclosure is not meant to be limiting beyond those limitations as expressly provided in the claims.

Claims (30)

1. A system for handling event input between disparate platforms, the system comprising:
a processor; and
a memory containing instructions executable by the processor whereby the system is operable to:
recognize an event associated with a first platform, the event having semantic content;
translate the event into a form recognizable by a second platform; and
communicate the event in the translated form to the second platform,
wherein the second platform is configured for effectuating the semantic content of the event.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein translating the event into a form recognizable by a second platform includes translating the event into a syntax recognizable by the second platform.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein the instructions for translating the event into a form recognizable by the second platform are configured by an original equipment manufacturer.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the event is automatically generated by the system.
5. The system of claim 1, wherein the event is a request to invoke a functionality of the system.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein the event is generated in response to user input received by the system.
7. The system of claim 6, wherein the user input received by the system is a key press.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the event is generated in response to a system occurrence.
9. The system of claim 1, wherein the event includes information generated by the event.
10. A device for handling event input between disparate platforms, the device comprising:
a communication interface;
a control system communicatively coupled to the communication interface and comprising a processor and a memory containing instructions executable by the processor whereby the device is operable to:
recognize an event associated with a first platform, the event having semantic content;
translate the event into a form recognizable by a second platform; and
send the event in the translated form to the second platform,
wherein the second platform is configured for effectuating the semantic content of the event.
11. The device of claim 12, wherein translating the event into a form recognizable by a second platform includes translating the event into a syntax recognizable by the second platform.
12. The device of claim 12, wherein the instructions for translating the event into a form recognizable by the second platform are configured by an original equipment manufacturer.
13. The device of claim 12, wherein the event is automatically generated by the device.
14. The device of claim 12, wherein the event is a request to invoke a functionality of the device.
15. The device of claim 12, wherein the event is generated in response to user input received by the device.
16. The device of claim 15, wherein the user input received by the device is a key press.
17. The device of claim 10, wherein the event is generated in response to a system occurrence.
18. The device of claim 10, wherein the event includes information generated by the event.
19. A method for event handling between disparate platforms, wherein the method includes:
Recognizing the event associated with a first platform, the event having semantic content;
translating the event into a form recognizable by a second platform; and
sending the event in the translated form to the second platform,
wherein the second platform is configured for effectuating the semantic content of the event.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein translating the event into a form recognizable by a second platform includes translating the event into a syntax recognizable by the second platform.
21. The method of claim 19, wherein the event is automatically generated by the device.
22. The method of claim 19, wherein the event is a request to invoke a functionality of the device.
23. The method of claim 23, wherein the event is generated in response to user input received by the device.
24. The method of claim 19, wherein the event is generated in response to a system occurrence.
25. The method of claim 19, wherein the event includes information generated by the event.
26. A non-transient computer-readable medium containing program instructions for causing a device to perform the method of handling event input between disparate platforms, the method comprising:
recognizing an event associated with a first platform, the event having semantic content;
translating the event into a form recognizable by a second platform; and
sending the event in the translated form to the second platform,
wherein the second platform is configured for effectuating the semantic content of the event.
27. The computer-readable medium of claim 26, wherein translating the event into a form recognizable by a second platform includes translating the event into a syntax recognizable by the second platform.
28. The computer-readable medium of claim 26, wherein the event is automatically generated by the device.
29. The computer-readable medium of claim 26, wherein the event is generated in response to a system occurrence.
30. The computer-readable medium of claim 26, wherein the event includes information generated by the event.
US14872055 2005-03-14 2015-09-30 Cross-platform event engine Pending US20160026512A1 (en)

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