Our objective in the following sections is to introduce the basic elements of the Pda interface as simply as possible. We will use elementary protocols to describe Pda’s components and functionality. That should make more readily accessible in the Example section, in which we develop a more complex protocol. Platform dependencies (Windows, Mac, Linux) will be pointed out where necessary, although we handle the main one here, namely Pda essentially works much as a word processor might for constructing (deriving) your next magnum opus. There is a main panel, and collections of buttons, special tool palettes, etc., to support your protocol derivation and analysis. In one way Pda is simpler, since its palettes (on their surface) are not complicated. Pda’s interface is possibly also more complicated, since the actions within its toolbars and palettes are accessed through pop-up, context-dependent menus.
One attribute of Pda you will discover through use is its pliability. As you become more expert, you will find that Pda offers you functionality to match your skills. This owes not only to the design of Pda, but also to its nature as an Eclipse plug-in. Tool power goes with tool complexity, but we will try to keep complexities from the Eclipse IDE from distracting your efforts to learn Pda.
Start your exploration of Pdawith a tour around its main panel in the Main Panel section. Once you have a sense for that, you will be better prepared to understand the menus it contains. Their description can be found in the Menu features section.