I was thinking today that a tip of week blog would be useful. I decided to ask some people in the Streams development organization what a good tip of the week would be. I did this for a couple of reasons, one so I could find people to help me keep this going with a new tip every week and secondly to see if I would learn anything. The first person I asked told me something I did not know.

The answers I got were also varied. There was a customer problem related tip, a compiler related one, a plug for some samples, a Studio one. Given the variety of responses within the small sample set, there seemed to be more than enough content to keep this going for at least a year. Streams has a lot of components: SPL language, SPL compiler, toolkits, Studio development environment, runtime environment. There are also plenty of potential topic areas: application patterns, problem determination, debugging, monitoring, good practices etc… Should be no problem finding something interesting every week.

At this point I got stuck writing this post. I needed to make a decision about what the very first tip of week would be. After much deliberation I took the path of least resistance and decided to write about something I knew and that people may not know: Streams Studio graph color preferences. You can change the colors of the graph elements to create a custom look and feel. We added this function for two main reasons: color accessibility and personal preferences. It turns out there is another reason: fun.
Warning: changing the colors can be addicting and you may lose more than an hour playing with this.

Color accessibility allows people to change the colors to ones they can see (or see better). Personal preference really means we got customer feedback that they did not like some of the default colors and realizing this would be something that would never please everybody, we added the color preference dialog and now people can change anything they do not like.

Here is how you do this in Streams Studio:

  1. Windows->Preferences->InfoSphere Streams->Graph Coloring Options
  2. to change the color of an element, press the color box beside the element>/li>
  3. select the new color and press OK
  4. repeat until you have made all the changes
  5. Apply or Ok and the graph will update with the new colors
  6. if you make a mess, Restore Defaults button will restore the original defaults.

This screen shot shows changing the background colors to black.

The result is this:

These changes affect the instance graph, the graphical editor and the application graph. One thing to note is that you may need to adjust the color schemes used in the instance graph if the colors clash. In the case above, I would change the color schemes so that black was not used.

Have fun personalizing the look of the graphs within Streams Studio.

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