Edition: Futurama Website/Futurama Export/Futurama Webservice

Module: Futurama Editor

User: Developer



This page describes four windows in the Editor that are vital when developing an application: the Document Explorer, the Design window, the Properties window and the Dependencies window. To make the description more telling an example is given in which a number of objects is created using these windows. The goal of this example is not to provide a treaty on how to create objects. For this it is better to follow the beginners Tutorial.

Document Explorer and Design window

The Document Explorer is the window in which all the objects of the application are shown in a structured treeview. Any application has to have a clear structure and a Futurama application is no different. If the application lacks structure it will become increasingly difficult to maintain a clear overview of all elements especially when the application grows in size and difficulty. Furthermore the application will quickly become unreadable to others as well as most likely to the developer himself after some time. Fortunately it is easy to create a structure for the Futurama application by means of using the Node object. Nodes enable the developer to group together objects that belong to each other. In that sense they can be compared to directories in the Windows Explorer. In the Document Explorer Nodes can be expanded and collapsed at will.

Defining objects, such as the Node, takes place in the Design Window (the window at the top right of the Futurama Editor). An object can be created by doing a rightclick in the Design Window, selecting 'New' followed by a click on the desired object. The list of possible objects depends on the object that is selected in the Document Explorer; only the objects that are allowed are shown.

Of every object the Design window states the name of the object, the type and the value. The latter is useful only for objects that produce a value. By doing a rightclick on the name in the Design window a context menu appears containing a number of options. Aside from the usual options such as Copy, Paste, Cut, Delete and Rename (which are also available in the menu-item Edit and the buttonbar below the menubar) the menu offers additional options which will be explained later.



In this example a Node is created. To start it is necessary to first download the zip-file containing the Futurama Document. Alternatively the document can be created from scratch by following the link given in the prerequisites.


  • Open the Futurama Editor.
  • Open the Futurama Document "MyFirstDocument".
  • Create a Node in the Design window by doing a rightclick.

It can be seen in the Document Explorer that a Node named 'New Item' has appeared in the Document. In addition the Design window states that the Name of the object is 'New Item', the type is a Node and the value is empty.

  • Do a rightclick in the Design window.
  • Select Rename (or press F2).
  • Rename the Node to 'Calculations'.
  • Save the Document.

Properties window

In the Design window we can see the Name and Type of a selected object, but objects have far more properties. These can be found in the Properties window (at the right bottom of the Futurama Editor). The Properties Window contains all the properties of the selected object. At the top of the Properties Window is the name and location of the object. Below the pathname are two icons which enable the user to show the properties either alphabetically or sorted by category. A number of properties are filled automatically and can't be changed by the user. An example is the unique ID of an object. These properties are coloured grey in the Properties window. The properties that are coloured black can be altered by the user. These properties often already have a defaultvalue upon creation of the object.  A complete list of all available properties for any object is given in the helppage dedicated to that object e.g. Fixed.



In this example a couple of objects are created. The example is a follow up on the previous example.


  • In the Design window use New to create an object of type Fixed in the node 'Calculations'.
  • In the Document Explorer select the Fixed 'New Item'.
  • Go to the property (Name) and change 'New Item' to 'A'.
  • Go to the property 'Text' and click on the icon with three dots. This will open a dialog in which the value of 'A' can be altered. It can be type directly or the arrows on the right can be used.
  • Change the value to 5 and select OK.

Note that the value of 5 can also be seen in the Design window.

  • Select the Fixed 'A' in either the Design window or the Document Explorer and do a rightclick.
  • Select Copy.
  • Now select the Node 'Calculations' in the Document Explorer and do a rightclick.
  • Select Paste.

A Fixed named 'A(1)' has appeared. It is not possible to have two objects with the same name in the same level so the suffix '(1)' is added.

  • Rename 'A(1)' to 'B'.
  • Change the value in the property 'Text' to 7.
  • Create a third Fixed and rename it to 'Sum'.
  • Change the value in the property 'Text' to 12.

To use a Fixed for 'Sum' is obviously no logical choice. A Formula would make more sense. It is easy, however, to change objects from one type to another.

  • Select the Fixed 'Sum' in either the Design window or the Document Explorer and do a rightclick .
  • Select Change To... and then choose Formula.

A complete list of properties for the Formula can be found here. Here to the property 'Text' is limited where the formula is created.

  • Go to the property 'Text' and click on the icon with three dots. This will open a dialog 'Define Formula'.
  • Click the button 'Select a Formula' and choose Math | Add long. This Formula simply adds numbers of type long (i.e. integers).
  • Click on the empty button to the right of Number1 and select a Fixed.
  • Select the value 5.
  • Click on the empty button to the right of Number2 and select a Fixed again.
  • Select the value 7.
  • Click on OK.

Note that the Value of 'Sum' in the Design window states the Formula we just created, not the result of the formula. 

Dependencies window

In virtually every Futurama application objects will be connected to each other. Formulas will use the results of other Formulas as input and their results will in turn be used by other objects When objects refer to other objects the Dependencies window is particularly useful. The Dependencies window can be made visible by clicking on the tab 'Dependencies' next to the tab 'Design'. After selecting an object in the Document Explorer in the Dependencies window the determinants and the dependants of the object can be seen. In the top half the determinants are shown. Determinants are objects on which the selected object depends. In the bottom half the dependants are shown. Dependants are objects which depend on the selected object.

A very useful feature of the Dependencies window is that it is possible to quickly jump from object to its Dependencies. Simply doubleclick on either a Determinant or a Dependant to select it. This is particularly useful in larger applications where Formulas depend on objects which are in other Nodes.

Using the Dependencies window is also very useful for checking whether objects are obsolete and could be removed safely. If an object is to deleted while it still has dependants a warning will appear stating that other object(s) depend on it.

If an object has dependencies and it has to be changed to another object e.g. a Fixed has to change to a Formula, then the option Change To ... in the contextmenu of the Design window is a useful one. Using this option an object can be changed into another while maintaining the dependants. If instead a new object would be created then all Dependants of the old object have to be altered to make them refer to the new object which can be time consuming.



In this example objects are connected to each other hereby creating dependencies. The example is a follow up on the previous example.


  • Open the Dependencies window.
  • Select consecutively the three objects in the Node 'Calculations'.

Note that neither Determinants nor Dependants are shown. This makes sense for the Formula 'Sum' depends solely on Fixeds defined within the Formula.

  • Select the Formula 'Sum'.
  • In the Properties window go to the property 'Text' and click on the icon with three dots.
  • Click on the icon with the Fixed to the right of Number1 and select a Reference.
  • Click on the icon with the three dots which opens a dialog 'Defining Reference'.
  • Make a Reference to Fixed A.
  • Analogously make a Reference to Fixed B at Number2.
  • Click on OK.

When examining the Dependencies window now it can be seen that both 'A' and 'B' have 'Sum' as Dependant. Similarly 'Sum' has 'A' and 'B' as its Determinants. For every determinant and dependant the name and the type are given. Furthermore the property Text is shown which typically contains the formula of the determinant/dependant. Finally the value of the determinant/dependant is shown.

In the next page the result of the formula will be examined.

Related Topics

-Evaluating objects: Brief introduction to verifying the result of objects

Related Tutorials

-Creating formulas with Futurama: This tutorial describes the development of a small application in Futurama


If you have any questions about this subject or if you want to provide us feedback please send us an e-mail.

Updated: 2013-08-01