MS GLEE Graphing

Author: Dave
Date: 12.16.13 - 4:16pm

So this post is about the Microsoft GLEE graphing library. Also available is a research paper describing the algorithms they used.

If your not familiar with it, its a free (for non-commercial use) graphing library with automatic layout written in C# and released in binary form. There is also a commercial build of it that is a product that goes for $280. This is about the free version from Microsoft research.

So honestly the control seems to be pretty decent for free. Graph# and some of the other .NET ones all seem to rely upon WPF, and while they have nice animations and look pretty, they require at least VS 2010 and .NET 4+. I still prefer VS 2008 Express because it is lite and fast even though I have access to enterprise versions.

So there are some nuances of the control that make using it a little tricky. Laying out nodes is extremely easy. Actually, it will create nodes just by adding edges, so make sure the nodes actually exist or it will create new ones.

It supports a bunch of mouse events, not all show up in the events property grid in the IDE. and some that do like MouseMove dont seem to work. Examples are few and far between and there is no documentation beyond the two examples they give with it. This is probably to try to force sales :(

Some things like the right click menu support are sketchy. You can fake selecting a node by changing the node line width. In order to get a node select working with the right click, I had to hot track the node selection with the SelectionChanged event, and then popup up the context menu on MouseUp. The graph.SelectedObject was not reliable within the MouseUp or MouseClick events. Its behaving as if a thread.invoke que is causing a delay. MouseX events can even beat the SelectionChanged on mouse over but its a small bug compared to the previous attempts.

It also took quite a while to figure out how to ZoomAll. I havent found a way to EnsureVisible yet, except for Zooming to a target node, then maybe zooming out x times.

You can set the ZoomFraction (zoom increment per call to Zoomin/out)

Not sure what else is coming to mind I will add more notes as they come up. You can download the source I am working on along with a test graph here

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