Official Node Editor in ParaView ?

Hello everyone,

The rise of Topological Data Analysis and In-Situ computation has led to more complex pipelines and the need for better tools to manipulate them.
We are currently investigating how we could improve the use experience concerning the Pipeline in ParaView and we think adding a Node editor could be a good way.

The node editor is an important feature of the InViWo platform (https://inviwo.org/) and is a must-have feature to manipulate complex pipelines.
Additionally, this feature has already been proposed here: Node Editor.
We remind here the two existing projects aimed at bringing a node editor to ParaView:

Now we would like to hear from the community if such feature would be well received and also the main concerns some people may have.

@utkarsh.ayachit @cory.quammen @mwestphal @nicolas.vuaille

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I’m fairly neutral on including a node-level editor. Having taught a visualization course to non-computer graphics specialists using both ParaView’s pipeline browser and the node-editor style in VisTrails, it was far easier for most students to use ParaView’s simpler pipeline browser, and I suspect that will be true of most casual and even advanced ParaView users.

Technically, I’m not too concerned of having two ways to manipulate the pipeline - we already have two ways to edit a pipeline via the Pipeline browser and Python scripting. I would make it a dock widget, not visible by default, so that we don’t make the initial GUI any busier.

My main concern is ongoing maintenance of such a feature. It looks like it will be fairly complex to implement, and hence we can expect bugs going forward. Is it reasonable to expect that there will be resources to address those bugs going into the future?

I agree the current pipeline is simple and so it is nice for a lot of users that manipulate a linear pipeline. I think however that more and more user are have fairly complex pipelines for their analysis and may find easier to change the way filters are connected using such node editor. I have also hear people saying that this kind of view is more convenient to understand a complex pipeline that you did not make yourself (shared using a state file) and to inspect the parameters of several filters simultaneously.

I agree the dock widget needs to be hidden by default as the already existing pipeline is certainly better for new users.

From what I know, there are corporations interested in this feature. I also think this may help the TDA community stay with ParaView as their main tool (and TDA is more and more use by large corporations).

Just to add my grain of salt, I think this should initally goes into an official plugin to be distributed within the binary release.

This will let us see users interest without commiting to a costly maintenance.

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