Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

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ymor
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Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

Post by ymor »

Once again, kudos on creating such an amazing DICOM viewer (and DICOM-station simulator) and for providing such responsive support to your users! I'd also like to point out that some of its extremely helpful features seem to be rather unique, and apparently not yet offered by competing alternatives. In particular:
  • its "Favorite Tags" mechanism
  • its availability also as a "Portable Zip Package" with "No installation required"
However, I'd like to suggest another enhancement to make MicroDicom even better:

Currently, when "Accept receiving studies" is enabled and new data begins to arrive, a "modal" dialog box pops up in order to inform the user and to track the progress of the data transfer, but this is very disruptive to the user's productivity.

MicroDicom-ReceivingData-ModalDialogBox-01.png
MicroDicom-ReceivingData-ModalDialogBox-01.png (263.15 KiB) Viewed 7298 times

The user cannot continue with his/her current work on the currently-displayed image, and does not have much of a choice but to wait until all of the data finishes arriving. When a large study is being transferred, the disruption is even more annoying -- especially if the Internet connection is slow -- because this modal dialog box can pop up repeatedly, for every single slice/instance!

It would be a tremendous improvement if all of these notifications could happen asynchronously, in their own pane. For comparison, you might want to look at the way the ClearCanvas DicomViewer handles this issue, with a Tools | Activity Monitor living asynchronously in an entirely separate TAB, which is not even necessarily shown (unless the user chooses to view it). BTW: the ClearCanvas "Activity Monitor" also tracks the status of data SENT, not just received, as well as of other operations.

BTW, in the screenshot shown above, one can also see the minor GUI bug that I reported in this thread, whereby the "Patient Information," "All Tags," and "Favorite Tags" tab-labels at the bottom of the "DICOM Tags" pane are hidden, and not revealed until one hovers over them with the mouse or resizes the programs window.
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Re: Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

Post by microdicom »

This behavior is fixed in latest beta. Thank you.
You can download latest beta: https://www.microdicom.com/beta.html

We can't reproduce minor GUI bug that you mention. I will write you in other thread about it.
ymor
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Re: Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

Post by ymor »

microdicom wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 2:18 pm This behavior is fixed in latest beta. Thank you.
You can download latest beta: https://www.microdicom.com/beta.html
Thank you so much for responding so quickly with an initial fix.
However, I would suggest that you roll it back, as I think that it makes things even worse.

From what I can see, the latest beta (v2022.1, build 1280) simply eliminates the dialog box entirely.

But IMHO this is not good because:
  • Now, there is no way to track the progress of an incoming data-transfer at all.
  • To me as a user it seems that the incoming data-transfer is not performed asynchronously inside its own, separate, thread. Thus, during the data transfer, the GUI can still entirely freeze up anyway, and so the fact that the modal dialog box was eliminated did not really fix the disruption to the user's productivity.
Both of the above points are especially relevant when a large study is being transferred -- and even more so if the Internet connection is slow.

Thus, I repeat my original suggestion that both the actual receiving of the incoming communication, as well as its tracking in the GUI, be performed fully asynchronously inside separate threads, without any need for user interaction. Whether this be done inside a new additional pane inside your GUI's current framework, or whether you might want to create an entirely new tab (similar to the ClearCanvas DicomViewer's "Activity Monitor"), is an implementation detail entirely up to you.
microdicom wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 2:18 pm We can't reproduce minor GUI bug that you mention. I will write you in other thread about it.
As I wrote in the other thread: with the latest beta build 1280, running on Windows 10 Pro (21H2), this issue no longer happens.

Once again: thank you so much for your responsive support and your excellent tool!

BTW, a very minor additional suggestion: it would be nice if your installer would recognize any already-existing installation of MicroDicom and initialize the current installation directory as the suggested default for the new install.
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Re: Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

Post by microdicom »

Thanks for the feedback.
Incoming data transfer is performed asynchronously, in different threads. But we have to test it with large studies. It seems that it is not asynchronously, because we update DICOM browser several times while image are receiving, not only one in the end of receiving. We will rework this part. Also we will think how to show the progress.

Thank you for suggestions.
ymor
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Re: Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

Post by ymor »

microdicom wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:31 pm Thanks for the feedback.
Incoming data transfer is performed asynchronously, in different threads. But we have to test it with large studies.
...
We will rework this part. Also we will think how to show the progress.

Thank you for suggestions.
For the record, just pointing out the obvious that, when tracking the progress of incoming (and ideally also: outgoing) data-transfers, these can also end up FAILING, due to: aborted DICOM associations, or other network-related or miscellaneous errors.

I don't know if the previous dialog box was able to show these conditions if/when they occurred, but they should definitely be taken into account as part of any potential rework.
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Re: Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

Post by microdicom »

Hello,
We make a rework on this in the latest beta.
https://www.microdicom.com/beta.html
Also we add Network monitor pane. It can be shown via Network menu/Network activity
ymor
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Re: Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

Post by ymor »

Just noticed this message. Thanks -- sounds very promising!

I'll check it out soon and update with feedback.
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Re: Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

Post by ymor »

I performed some basic testing of this initial implementation, and it is certainly a tremendous step in the correct direction! It already solves the main complaint as summarized in the Subject of this thread: now, receiving even large amounts of DICOM data no longer disrupts productivity at all.

But I have the following comments:
  1. The new 'Network activity' pane needs some further improvements:
    1. The major issue with this pane is that its contents -- as currently structured, with a separate row for each individual instance/slice received -- are barely useful, because it is very hard to see the big picture of what were really the attempted incoming data transfers (at least at the patient level), and which of those were successfully received, and which experienced problems.

      Once again, I highly suggest taking inspiration from the way ClearCanvas DicomViewer structures its 'Activity Monitor' page, with:
      • a separate row for each DICOM-association, at the level of patient
        (but ideally, it would be nice to be able to drill down to the level of study and/or series),
      • and a color-coded progress bar showing the progress for all instances/slices in the corresponding incoming transfer,
      • and a final status likewise representing the entire incoming transfer.
    2. Also, these minor issues:
      1. The ability to CLEAR the pane's entire contents, or (ideally) selected portions thereof, should be added.
      2. The implied ability to SORT the rows according to the column headers is not currently working.
        And BTW, for this to be more meaningful on the 'Time' column, it should be changed to a 'Date/Time stamp'.
      3. It would be nice if the contents of this pane were PERSISTED across different MicroDicom sessions (and cleared only explicitly by the user).
  2. As I mentioned in my last reply on this thread, ideally the new 'Network activity' pane should be used also for OUTGOING data-transfers, not just incoming ones:

    When the user performs a 'Send to PACS' action (especially with a large amount of DICOM data), the user must currently still wait for the modal dialog box to finish the transfer, and cannot meanwhile interact with other parts of the software. Admittedly, because this is an action that the user initiated, the need to wait for the transfer to finish is less annoying than when it happens unexpectedly (and potentially frequently) due to INCOMING data-transfers initiated from another DICOM station. But if you now already have a 'Network activity' pane, there is no reason that OUTGOING transfers cannot be managed here as well, asynchronously in a background thread.

    Again, the ClearCanvas DicomViewer 'Activity Monitor' page can serve as an excellent source of inspiration for how to manage this elegantly. Note that for outgoing DICOM transfers, ClearCanvas also has a mechanism for attempting retry attempts when a send-attempt gets blocked or stopped.
In closing, thank you once again for being so responsive to your users' feedback!

I understood from the beginning that my enhancement request was not a trivial one, and it was clear to me that it would take time for even an initial implementation. It's exciting to see that you decided to take on this substantial task, and indeed this first phase is already a very welcome big step in the right direction!
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Re: Modal dialog box when receiving data very disruptive to productivity

Post by microdicom »

Thank you for explanations, Ymor. We will add all of them.
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