|An Overview of Vect Functionality
Vect (Visual Extraction Conversion Tool) is a program designed to generate Perl programming code that extracts specific data from lengthy files and reports and arranges the data based on user preferences. Auto generation of code is done in various phases. These phases are streamlined, where output from one phase becomes the input of the next phase. The graphical user interface of Vect lets the user step through the phases of loading data files and defining rules to extract specific data and in return generates the Perl code that can run on other files with the same format. Even though Vect can work on files of any format, semi-structured files (having a predefined outline) will help the user create more meaningful and intuitive rules and results.
The following four phases are involved in the generation of Perl code using Vect:
1. Loading input data : During this phase, single or multiple input data files are loaded into Vect. These will usually be text/data files.
2. Creating rules for extraction: During this phase, users can apply various rules to the input file to extract specific information. There are two types of data extraction:
1) Data-dependent . These rules are defined from the input data and provide the easiest method of data extraction.
2) Rule-dependent. These rules provide the most powerful means of manipulating, formatting, filtering, converting and composing various data sets. Future developments of the Vect program will involve the addition of new Rule-dependent rules which will extend its abilities.
3. Formatting the output data: During this phase, the rules are organized together to visually output an organized and legible output file format.
4. Auto Perl code generation phase: In this final phase Vect generates Perl code based on the previous phases and results in a program that can be run on other files that have the same format as the original data file. Users can modify the auto generated Perl code to further customize the output data and its format.
Four panels of the Vect user interface:
1. Input Data Panel. In this panel, initial data extraction is performed and the Data-dependent rules are developed.
2. Convert Data Panel. In this panel, additional extraction, filtering and conversion of data is performed and the Rule-dependent rules are developed.
3. Output Data Panel. In this panel the resultant output of the program you have created can be viewed and saved. If the results at this point are not displaying the data or formatting you are looking for you can return to the Convert Data Panel and adjust your program accordingly.
4. Perl Program Panel. In this panel you can display and save the program you have created.
In the rest of this reference manual we will go over these four panels in detail.