Real-time Desktop Manager (RDM) is a computer program that manages displays and application programs. RDM was developed for use in connection with NASA’s remote manipulator system (RMS) group of flight controllers; it could also be used in chemical plants, laboratories, factories, hospitals, and other settings where it is necessary to monitor many data streams. The RDM displays are datadriven, and color is used to indicate the criticality of a display. There are other programs that perform such functions, but they are very expensive and, unlike RDM, do not afford graphical capabilities.

RDM is written in the ANSI-C computing language, using the Motif widget set, for execution in the UNIX operating system. The sources of input to RDM are a series of input files, the user, and an information- sharing-protocol (ISP) dataacquisition system, which is maintained as an independent program. RDM enables the user to create a data display with the help of previously stored input files that define a main window display, a menu-bar display, and individual display windows. The displays are driven by data received from an ISP server and input from the user. The program reads input files to create easily configurable displays that can be modified before flights and simulations without having to modify and recertify software.

RDM conforms to the Mission Control Center (MCC) Human and Computer Interface guidelines. It utilizes other software already in use in the MCC, plus other software that has, variously, been developed or purchased by NASA. Some investigation of other graphical software tools revealed that display windows are created within programs that must be compiled for each change. In RDM, it is not necessary to compile for each change in a display. The user simply modifies the input files and initiates the execution of RDM that reads the files.

This program was written by Sharon L. Valentine, Charles C. Birkner, and Ronald L. Kerr of Rockwell International Corp. for Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the Johnson Commercial Technology Office at 281-483-3809.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2002 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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