Table Of Contents
Table Of Contents

Styling and Appearance

Goals

In INET simulations, multiple visualizers are often used simultaneously. Since some of them have similar default looks, it is not always easy to tell them apart when watching the simulation. In order to help in creating more appealing and more comprehensible simulations, INET visualizers have many customization options. These customization options are named consistently across all visualizers.

This showcase consists of four examples which demonstrate how to customize lines, arrows, icons, fonts and annotations.

INET version: 4.0
Source files location: inet/showcases/visualizer/styling

Customizing Lines and Arrows

In INET simulations, links and packet paths are visualized as arrows. When too many links and paths are visualized in a simulation, it can be difficult to find which arrows correspond to the links or paths that we are interested in. In such a case, arrow customization may be used to make the interesting arrows stand out more.

This showcase contains an example simulation where arrows are customized. The simulation can be run by selecting the Line configuration from the ini file.

The network consists of two nodes, host1 and host2, which communicate wirelessly, and we customize data link activity arrows. The following configuration is used for the visualizer:

*.visualizer.*.dataLinkVisualizer.lineColor = "blue"
*.visualizer.*.dataLinkVisualizer.lineStyle = "dashed"
*.visualizer.*.dataLinkVisualizer.lineWidth = 6
*.visualizer.*.dataLinkVisualizer.lineContactSpacing = 15
*.visualizer.*.dataLinkVisualizer.lineShift = 32

Move the mouse over the image to see the differences between the default and the customized visualization.

../../../../_images/Line_default_v0727.png
../../../../_images/Line_custom_v0727.png

The lineColor parameter specifices the color of the arrow, and it accepts English color names (more precisely, SVG color names) and HTML-style RGB values. For the NetworkRouteVisualizer, TransportRouteVisualizer and MobilityVisualizer modules, lineColor may be set to a list of colors separated by commas, or to the dark and light keywords which will be interpreted as a list of good dark (light) colors. The lineStyle parameter can be set to solid, dotted or dashed. Line width is controlled by the lineWidth parameter. If there are multiple lines between the same nodes, the space between the lines can be changed by adjusting the lineShift parameter. The space between the end of the arrow and the network node can be adjusted by setting the lineContactSpacing parameter.

Customizing Labels

Lines and arrows often have labels placed next to them for displaying additional information. Customizing the font or color of such labels is often useful, for example to highlight important information.

The example simulation can be run by choosing the Font configuration from the ini file. The network is the same as in the previous example: two hosts communicating wirelessly. We customize the font used in labels on data link activity arrows.

To customize the fonts used in labels, we configure DataLinkVisualizer in the following way:

*.visualizer.*.dataLinkVisualizer.labelFont = "Courier New, 12px, bold"
*.visualizer.*.dataLinkVisualizer.labelColor = "red"

Move the mouse over the image to see the differences between the default and the customized visualization.

../../../../_images/Font_default_v0727.png
../../../../_images/Font_custom_v0727.png

Font family, font size and font style can be set by using the labelFont parameter. You can omit any value from the parameter if you do not want to change that. For example, you can set labelFont to "bold" so that font family and font size remain unchanged. The labelColor parameter can be set to a single color by using a color name or a HTML-style RGB value.

Labels are enabled by default. (Labels can be disabled by setting the displayLabels parameter to false.)

For InterfaceTableVisualizer and StatisticVisualizer, the font parameter is used instead of labelFont, and textColor is used instead of labelColor.

Customizing Icons

Some visualizers, such as TransportConnectionVisualizer, display icons. The following example shows how to customize icon appearance in INET.

The simulation can be run by choosing the Icon configuration from the ini file. The network is the same as in the previous examples: two hosts communicating wirelessly. This time, however, we add TCP traffic between them, so that we can show how the icons displayed by TransportConnectionVisualizer can be customized.

We use the following configuration to customize the transport connection icons:

*.visualizer.*.transportConnectionVisualizer.icon = "misc/marker2"
*.visualizer.*.transportConnectionVisualizer.iconColor = "light"

Move the mouse over the image to see the differences between the default and the customized visualization.

../../../../_images/Icon_default_v0727.png
../../../../_images/Icon_custom_v0727.png

The icon parameter specifies the icon to be used. The OMNeT++ image path is used to find the image, just like with the i display string tag or the cIconFigure class. In our case, the misc/marker2 name resolves to the inet/images/misc/marker2.png file:

../../../../_images/marker2.png

The iconColor parameter allows you to colorize (tint) the icon. As TransportConnectionVisualizer potentially displays several icons per network node, the parameter accepts a (space-separated) list of colors, and the module will cycle through them as it assigns colors to icons. It also accepts the dark and light keywords, which will be interpreted as a list of good dark (light) colors.

The LinkBreakVisualizer and PacketDropVisualizer modules have an iconTintColor parameter instead of iconColor. However, note, that iconTintColor can be set only to a single color. These visualizers also have an iconTintAmount parameter. By adjusting iconTintAmount, the colorization amount of the icon can be adjusted between zero and one. If we set the parameter to zero, the icon will not be tinted at all. If the parameter is set to one, the icon will be tinted fully.

Placing Annotations

When many annotations are placed around a network node, being able to control their placement can reduce clutter and make the simulation more comprehensible.

The following example shows how to control the placement of annotations. The simulation can be run by selecting the Annotation configuration from the ini file. The network is the same as in the previous example. The simulation will set up several TCP connections between the two hosts, and TransportConnectionVisualizer will be used to visualize them as marker icons.

We use the following configuration to place the annotation icons.

*.visualizer.*.transportConnectionVisualizer.placementHint = "bottom"

Move the mouse over the image to see the differences between the default and the customized visualization.

../../../../_images/Annotation_default_v0802.png
../../../../_images/Annotation_custom_v0802.png

The placementHint parameter determines where the annotations will be placed. The annotations can be placed in eight directions around the node: topCenter, left, right, bottomCenter, topLeft, topRight, bottomLeft, bottomRight. The placementHint parameter may contain one or more of those words, denoting the preferred direction(s). The word top is an abbreviation for topLeft topCenter topRight; bottom, left and right are similar abbreviations. There is also any, which is the union of all eight directions. When placementHint is set to any, annotations will be placed as close as possible to the node.

The order of annotation positioning can be controlled by using the placementPriority parameter that takes an integer. Zero is the largest priority.

More Information

For more information, refer the visualizers’ NED documentations.

Discussion

Use this page in the GitHub issue tracker for commenting on this showcase.