When exploring the Mandelbrot set, it is natural to keep a library of interesting views which you have discovered — whether for artistic value, or to investigate how forms within the set change as you zoom in, or both. The inter-relationships between these views can be very interesting; see, for example, various online discussions about Julia morphing.

FracTest can help you to visualise the relationships between views stored in your libraries. This page will tell you how.

Context Management

To get FracTest to manage your context, you first have to configure your fractal library, or libraries, in it.

Once the database has been indexed, any views added to, or removed from, your configured fractal library folders, are automatically updated in the context database. As you navigate the fractal, the current view is automatically added to the database each time it changes.

Note that FracTest can only index Mandelbrot set views, and not the associated Julia sets. We do not recommend adding your history or checkpoint folders to the "Context Dirs" setting, as this will produce unpredictably changing results.

To avoid unnecessary overhead in the event that you aren't using context, FracTest builds the context database the first time the context window is opened (as described below). This process can take several seconds.

Context Window

To open the context window, click the context button in the toolbar; this is the tree icon as shown at right. Alternatively, use the menu entry "Analyse" → "Show Tree".

The window appears as follows:

The context window (click to expand).

The tree hierachy represents the containment hierarchy of the indexed views. Double-clicking a view will open it in the main window.

Context Overlays

Once the context database has been set up, you can toggle the display of context overlays on and off. To do this, click the context button in the toolbar, shown at right; alternatively, use the menu entry "Analyse" → "Show Context".

When overlays are enabled, all views which lie within the currently-displayed view will be displayed in the main window. The following picture shows a typical set of overlays:

The main application window with context overlays displayed (click to expand).

The picture on the right shows another example of context overlays in detail (click to expand).

Each overlay is labeled with the name of the view it represents. Views which are large enough are shown as rectangles; so here we can see, for example, that "IBeam Centre 2" is contained within "IBeam Centre 1".

Views which are too small to display as rectangles are displayed as diagonal crosses. This is the case here, for example, with "IBeam Centre 1 Tip 1", which is also within "IBeam Centre 1".

If a view contains nested views which are too small to display, those views' names are shown indented below the name of the top-level view, up to a limited number of views. At the top of the picture, for example, you can see that "IBeam TendMidA 1" has nested views listed below it. The ". . ." at the end indicates that there are more views, whose names are not shown.

When multiple views are too close together to show separately, but not contained within each other, they are merged into a single symbol shown as a vertical cross within a circle. This is illustrated by the three side-by-side views "Island Side", "Island Tip", and "Island Centre" in the image. The names of the nested views, up to a limit, are shown beneath the symbol.

Double-clicking in an overlay rectangle, or on a cross symbol, will open the associated view — if there are nested views, the top-level view will be opened. Since the "merge" overlay doesn't have a top-level view — it represents several side-by-side views — double-clicking it has no effect. Zoom in to see the individual views separately.