Issue 58159 - Area terminology is confusing
Summary: Area terminology is confusing
Alias: None
Product: General
Classification: Code
Component: chart (show other issues)
Version: 3.3.0 or older (OOo)
Hardware: All All
: P4 Trivial (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: AOO issues mailing list
QA Contact:
Depends on:
Reported: 2005-11-19 14:31 UTC by joachimdurchholz
Modified: 2013-09-25 20:41 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

See Also:
Latest Confirmation in: ---
Developer Difficulty: ---


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Description joachimdurchholz 2005-11-19 14:31:43 UTC
Nobody has an idea what a "chart wall" is. The term "chart area" is ambiguous
and could be rightfully used for any of the chart's components.
This terminology is simply confusing.
(Please note that the English terminology may be wrong; it's just guesswork
based on the German version of OOo I'm using.)

There are three main areas in a chart, from innermost to outermost:
1) The area where the graphic elements of the chart (dots, lines, pies, etc.)
are places.
Current terminology: "chart wall" (German: "Diagrammwand"). I don't know about
US conventions for that, but I'm 100% sure that equating that area to a wall is
not a common mental image for a German!
2) The above area, plus the axes and labels.
Current terminology: "chart" (German: "Diagramm"). Now that's most unhelpful:
any other area could have been named "chart" as well.
3) The outermost area, comprising everything that Chart handles.
Current terminology: "chart area". This is just as unhelpful as "chart", any of
the three areas could have been named that way.

Hence this proposal:
1) Innermost area is "drawing area".
2) Drawing area plus axes is "data area".
3) Outermost area is "background area".


1) The innermost area takes up the graphic components of the chart. The entire
purpose of Chart is visualisation, graphics, which is drawn - hence "drawing area".
2) The medium area comprises all the data that are taken from spreadsheet cells,
hence "data area".
3) The outermost area is just a backdrop: its components don't move if the data
area is moved or resized, it's just a passive backdrop for all the other parts
of Chart. Hence "background".

HTH :-)
Comment 1 kla 2005-11-21 10:02:20 UTC
-> Iha: Maybe it's help to find an clear terminology.
Comment 2 IngridvdM 2005-11-24 16:03:53 UTC

1) & 2) The word 'Wall' comes from 3D diagrams where you have walls and a floor
like in a chamber. For 3D this words are good in my opinion, but you are right
for 2D charts it is confusing. For 2D charts I would suggest to use the word
'Plot Area' instead of 'Wall'. Curently I see no need in the menus or dialogs to
proper distinguish between the definitions 1) and 2). So I would tend to use
only one term here as long as possible.

3) You did not like the old word 'Chart Area' because it is to common. But in my
ears your suggestion 'background area' has exactly the same problem. My first
assosiation with 'background area' is definition 1). So it's really not easy to
find good words here. 'Page' is a word that I would not confuse within the
chart, but as the chart is a subcomponent on a page of another Application one
could confuse the Chart Page with the Documents Page. Hm. Maybe we can collect
more suggestions here.

Comment 3 joachimdurchholz 2005-11-24 22:56:52 UTC
"Plot area" sounds good to me. (I'm not a native English speaker, so my
terminology tends to be off the mark anyway.)

I'd prefer a terminology that can be uniformly applied to 2D and 3D though.
I'd associate "plot area" with the place where the plot actually lives, i.e. for
a 3D graph, I'd associate the term with a 3D "area".
Maybe "plot background" makes clear that these planes are not in the same place
as the plot, but *behind* it.
(Maybe even "plot backdrop", but here I'm not too sure about my grasp of English

With "plot background/backdrop", 3D charts can share terminology for the
vertical planes and use their own for the horizontal one, so that should work IMHO.

Re "distinguish area 1 and 2": I was trying to find a terminology for the
current structure, which most definitely has separate inner and medium areas.
(This can be verified by tabbing through the subcomponents of a Chart -
fortunately, tabbing *does* work in Chart *g*.)
The middle area takes up inner area and axes. I agree that it would be nice if
the axes were made subcomponents of the inner area, and the middle area were
removed (at least GUI-wise - I have no idea of the technical side of things).
However, that's a different issue, and should be filed by somebody with a better
understanding of the ramifications. However, *if* an issue is filed, 58159
should be made to depend on it - there's no use discussing terminology until the
set of objects that need to be named is nailed down for good!

Re "background area":
My first association was that a background is the least important thing, which
is clearly the (by default) white background of the entire Chart object. The
plot background has a background color, a border line, maybe a grid and scales,
that's far more than "just a background" (at least in comparison to the boring
white background provided by the Chart object).
That's just my thinking, of course - I'm happy to agree to disagree here :-)))
Comment 4 IngridvdM 2005-11-25 19:27:09 UTC
"distinguish area 1 and 2": I am sorry, of course you are right here. I was a
bit to fast and forgot the tiphelp and statusbar.
And you are also right that the goal should be to have a uniform terminology for
2D and 3D.

So I would like summarize here and try a further suggestion:

1) 2D: Plot Background 3D: Plot Background and Floor
2) Plot
3) Chart Window

Would that produce unambiguous associations for you? Thanks a lot for your comments.
Comment 5 joachimdurchholz 2005-11-25 20:55:10 UTC
Terminology is OK in English, but may produce difficulties in translations.
E.g. in German, my knee-jerk translation for both "plot" and "chart" would be
"Diagramm". I.e. we'd end up with a terminology like
1) Chart background (plus chart floor for 3D)
2) Chart
3) Chart window

Hmm... it's not *that* bad. It's actually better than what we have right now, so
we should note this down as a fallback consensus if future discussion isn't

"Chart window" is definitely good. People know that a window is a container for
stuff and decorations and handles, just a wrapper around the really interesting
stuff, and that's exactly the characteristics of area #3.
Even better, this frees up the "background" terminology for area #1.


I'm still a bit unhappy about #2.

Actually I'd like it best if it simply went away. It doesn't contribute anything
to the UI: it doesn't have a background color (that's alreay provided by #1 resp
#3), it doesn't give relevant resize handles (those of #3 already implicitly
move those of #2 with them), it isn't even visible unless clicked (which may
then confuse the user: "I clicked a free space on the chart window, why does
this area #2 intercept my click?").

I'm not sure whether scripts want to access it. Or if they even *can* access it.
However, if it's a programmers-only subobject, terminology can be chosen using
an entirely different mindset. E.g. it could be called a "frame" (programmers
are used to things being invisible, even if terminology suggests visibility). Or
"data hull" (i.e. the "hull" around all the "data" subobjects of Chart).

Anyway. The more I think about it, the more I feel comfortable with eliminating
#2 from the GUI. Making it unclickable, having tab order skip it, and generally
making it unselectable and GUI-unenumerable, that should do the trick.
Maybe Chart programmers will even want to eliminate it from the internal data
structures. That would probably be much more work initially, but more
maintainable in the long run.

Comment 6 IngridvdM 2005-11-25 21:20:04 UTC
Thanks a lot. I agree completely to your above statement. I will see wether
elimating #2 from the gui can be done and wait for further user comments here
for a while.
Comment 7 matthias.mueller-prove 2006-01-11 13:34:19 UTC
set parent task
Comment 8 bjoern.milcke 2006-06-23 14:04:24 UTC
Changed Target to 2.x
Comment 9 bjoern.milcke 2006-06-23 14:17:04 UTC
Target set to Later
Comment 10 IngridvdM 2008-07-22 14:21:02 UTC
reset to new