The graphical user interface of SNNS has a network editor built in. With the network editor it is possible to generate a new network or to modify an existing network in various ways. There also exist commands to change the display style of the network.
As an introduction, operations on networks without sites will be discussed first, since they are easier to learn and understand. Operations that have a restricted or slightly different meaning for networks with sites are displayed with the extension (Sites!) in the following overview. These changes are discussed in detail in section .
As usual with most applications of X-Windows, the mouse must be in the window in which an input is to appear. This means that the mouse must be in the display window for editor operations to occur. If the mouse is moved in a display, the status indicator of the manager panel changes each time a new raster position in the display is reached.
Different displays of a network can be seen as different views of the same object. This means that all commands in one display may affect objects (units, links) in the other displays. Objects are moved or copied in a second display window in the same way as they are moved or copied in the first display window.
The editor operations are usually invoked by a sequence of 2 to 4 keys on the keyboard. They only take place when the last key of the command (e.g. deletion of units) is pressed. We found that for some of us, the fastest way to work with the editor was to move the mouse with one hand and to type on the keyboard with the other hand. Keyboard actions and mouse movement may occur at the same time, the mouse position is only relevant when the last key of the sequence is pressed.
The keys that are sufficient to invoke a part of a command are written in capital letters in the commands. The message line in the manager panel indicates the completed parts of the command sequence. Invalid keys are ignored by the editor.
As an example, if one presses the keys U for Units and C for Copy the status line changes as follows:
status line command comment
> Units operation on units
Units> Copy copying of units
Units Copy> (the sequence is not completed yet)
To the left of the caret the fully expanded input sequence is displayed. At this place also a message is displayed when a command sequence is accepted and the corresponding operation is called. This serves as feedback, especially if the operation takes some time. If the operation completes quickly, only a short flicker of the text displayed can be seen. Some error messages appear in the confirmer, others in the message line.