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Welcome to Information Connections Engine (ICE) Homepage

ICE is a Silverlight based framework that allows .net developers to easily visualize any type of information, as well as links between information in a user friendly and entertaining way. Perfect for SNA for example. ICE is heavily customizable (UI, actions, etc.)
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Quick Intro

Best way to get an idea of the kind of results you can achieve with ICE is to take a look at this short video, which presents different examples of how ICE is being used in different applications:


In a nutshell, ICE is a Silverlight XAP file (i.e. a client side application, very much like a Flash animation, only more powerful) that you add to your .Net application. The ICE Starter Kit.zip file (see "Downloads" tab) contains all the classes and schemas you'll need to format your data for ICE to display. Since ICE is a framework and anything can be a node: a person, a document, a data, your imagination is the only limit to what ICE can display.

These screen shots show a few samples of how ICE can easily be customized for your own needs:

"Out of the box" look and feel:
"Out of the box" look and feel

Same data, after applying a new style:
Same data, after applying a new style

Connecting people and their public links and tags in del.icio.us:
Connecting people and their public links and tags in del.icio.us

Connecting people with people based on their hierarchical position:
Connecting people with people based on their hierarchical position

Getting Started

ICE is not an executable, or a turn-key application you would just install and start playing with. It's a development framework. Meaning you need to be a .Net developer (and not necessarily a good one :o)) to start visualizing your data.

You can pretty much consider 3 "actors" involved in creating a solution based on SIlverlight:
  • The *.Net developer will attach the data
  • Designer (with some knowledge of XAML) will make it pretty
  • Web developer will use the result in the context of a larger project



As explained in the step by step tutorial, the very first thing you need to do is to sit with a piece of paper and think of what will constitute a node, and how these nodes are related through links.


Keyboard Shortcuts

Once you have ou graph up and running, a few keyboard shortcuts are available:
  • Page Up and - keys: Zoom out
  • Page Down and + keys: Zoom in
  • Keypad: Move entire graph in selected direction
  • Shift + Page Up: Expand all nodes one level down
  • Shift + Page Down: Collapse all nodes one level up
  • Ctrl + Space: center graph to main node

Don't hesitate to use the Forum if you have questions or suggestions for enhancement.

Behind the Scene

ICE is a Silverlight application that developers can embed in their web application. It displays nodes that are attached to other nodes through links. Links behave like rubber bands (or springs), and nodes behave like magnets with the same polarity, which conveniently prevents nodes from overlapping with each others, even when large quantities of nodes are displayed. Besides, when you use the gravity options (turned off by default), nodes have weight. Their weight depends on how many "children" they have. In other words, the more children, the heavier the node, the more gravity affects it. Notice that gravity can be in any direction.

The animations of the nodes and spring-like links are inspired from Treaer.Physics: work.



Last edited Nov 21, 2009 at 4:18 PM by Tourpe, version 21