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System and method for performing class propagation and type checking in a graphical automation client
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION. The present invention provides a system and method for performing type checking and class propagation of automation objects in a graphical automation client program. In one embodiment of the type checking method, the method includes displaying on the screen an automation node, such as an automation invoke node or an automation property node, of a first automation class. When the user changes the automation node to a second different automation class, the method performs type propagation checking to determine if the method or property is valid for, i.e., is defined by, the second automation class of the automation node. Second, the user input may include changing an automation class of a second automation node wired to the automation node from the first automation class to the second automation class, wherein the second automation node propagates the second automation class to the automation node. Performing type propagation checking includes the automation node invoking a function of an object manager to determine if the method or property selected for the automation node is valid for the newly selected second automation class of the automation node. In one embodiment, the method includes displaying on the screen a first automation node of a first automation class, wherein the first automation node includes an output terminal for providing information specifying the first automation class, and displaying on the screen a second automation node of a second automation class, wherein the second automation node includes an input terminal for receiving information specifying an automation class. In another embodiment, the method for performing automation class propagation includes displaying on the screen a first automation node of a first automation class, wherein the first automation node includes an output terminal for providing information specifying the first automation class, displaying on the screen a second automation node of the first automation class, wherein the second automation node includes an input terminal for receiving information specifying an automation class, and displaying a wire connecting the first automation node output terminal to the second automation node input terminal. Thus, the present invention provides a method for performing type checking and class propagation of automation objects in a graphical automation client program in order to provide immediate debugging information. The automation refnum provides the automation class and type library information to the automation open node so that the automation open node may perform type propagation checking. A graphical automation client may be created with just an automation invoke node and no automation property node or a graphical automation client may be created with just an automation property node and no automation invoke node. That is, the second automation node receives the first automation class in the type descriptor from the first automation node and changes the automation class of the second automation node to the first automation class if the second automation class is different from the first automation class. That is, the second automation node receives the second automation class in the type descriptor from the first automation node and changes the automation class of the second automation node to the second automation class if the second automation class is different from the first automation class. FIG. 25 shows first and second automation nodes prior to changing the first automation node to be of the second automation class and FIG. 26 shows the automation nodes after changing the first automation node to be of the second automation class, i.e., after the automation class propagation has occurred. The second type of user input is changing the automation class of a second automation node, whose refnum output terminal is already wired to the refnum input terminal of the automation node, from the first automation class to the second automation class. In response to the user changing the automation node to be of the second automation class, the automation node performs type propagation checking to determine if the method/property is valid for the second automation class, in step 206.
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