Authors: Daniel Jönsson, Peter Steneteg, Erik Sundén, Rickard Englund, Sathish Kottravel, Martin Falk, Ingrid Hotz, Anders Ynnerman, Timo Ropinski
Abstract: The complexity of today's visualization applications demands specific visualization systems tailored for the development of these applications. Frequently, such systems utilize levels of abstraction to improve the application development process, for instance by providing a data flow network editor. Unfortunately, these abstractions result in several issues, which need to be circumvented through an abstraction-centered system design. Often, a high level of abstraction hides low level details, which makes it difficult to directly access the underlying computing platform, which would be important to achieve an optimal performance. Therefore, we propose a layer structure developed for modern and sustainable visualization systems allowing developers to interact with all contained abstraction levels. We refer to this interaction capabilities as usage abstraction levels, since we target application developers with various levels of experience. We formulate the requirements for such a system, derive the desired architecture, and present how the concepts have been exemplary realized within the Inviwo visualization system. Furthermore, we address several specific challenges that arise during the realization of such a layered architecture, such as communication between different computing platforms, performance centered encapsulation, as well as layer-independent development by supporting cross layer documentation and debugging capabilities.