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Display Box Construction 101


One of the things you can do with JMP is build an interactive user interface using display boxes. For instance, you might be interested in building a custom add-in, creating an interactive display for your data, or a custom report. If so, you've come to the right place!




I have been working on a project to create a custom add-in builder that allows users to create a custom JMP add-in that accesses R functions. This allows users to define their own R functions packaged in a JMP user interface. Building a wizard that generates a user interface display requires a lot of display box manipulation in JSL (JMP Scripting Language).

Thus, some of my best friends have been these handy JMP scripting help articles, accumulated after weeks of research:



Since friends don't let friends waste time googling very specific UI display functions in JSL using 17 different keyword combinations, I compiled a "Display Box Construction 101" resource kit that can jump-start you on your journey to building complex UIs.

Let's begin!

The Basics of Display Trees

Constructing Display Trees

  • How do I define and use all types of JSL display elements (Boxes)?
  • How do I create a display window?
  • What are some simple functions that act on display boxes (e.g., append, delete)?
  • Where can I find examples that combine multiple interactive display elements in one single window?

Extracting Values from Interactive Display Elements

  • What types of display box elements allow user input?
  • How do I access and store values the user selects through my interactive display?

Display Box Functions

  • Where is a comprehensive list of all the functions that act on display elements in JSL?
  • How do I delete and add components to a display tree?

Display Box Syntax

  • What syntax is used to define common display box elements?
  • What is each type of display box element used for?

Display Box Functions

  • What functions are commonly used for each type of display box?
  • What are the parameters for each type of display box element?

Specific Display Tree Use Cases

Configuring Drop Down Menus

  • How do I create and customize an interactive drop-down menu?

Radio Button Answer Choices

  • How do I create radio button selection options?
  • How do I group radio buttons together? How do I group them after they have been created?

Setting Functions to Display Elements

  • How do I set a function to a display element after it has been created?

Custom Column Lists and Data Table Selectors

  • How do I create a custom column list in my UI?
  • How do I create a data table selector for my UI?

Generating Variable Amounts of Display Elements

  • How do I generate buttons within a loop, depending on the loop number?
  • How do I generate variable amounts of display elements?
  • How do I create a fixed UI without creating a fixed display?

Creating Variable Amounts of Variables (as if there aren't enough variables already)

  • How do I generate variables within a loop, depending on the loop number?
  • How do I use Eval, Parse, and Eval Insert in JMP?
  • How do I create code that is evaluated later on?

JMP and R

Working with R

  • What should I know when working with R through JMP and JSL?
  • What functions does JMP have for interacting with R?

Sending Data to R

  • How do I send data from JMP to R?
  • How do I use R Submit?

General JSL Resources

Scripting Index

  • (JMP > Help > Scripting Index) for syntax and comprehensive list of functions, data structures, etc.

JMP Scripting Guide v. 13

  • How do I do anything in JSL?
  • Hint: There are 720 pages. Use CTRL + F.

Associative Arrays

  • Fun fact: The only data structure in JSL that can store display boxes is the Associative Array. If you're building dynamic UIs (in my case, the elements I display depend on user input), I suggest using them to store display boxes that you append to your display. This allows your display to be adaptive, versatile and conditional.
  • What is an associative array, and what can I use it for?
  • How do I iterate through an associative array?
  • What are the advantages of using an associative array?


  • What are lists, and what can I use them for?
  • How do I iterate through a list?
  • How do I make assignments with lists?

Expression Functions

  • How do I create an expression in JSL?
  • What type of expression function should I use in my code?

Character Functions (Specific Examples)

  • What functions operate on characters and strings in JSL?

JSL Syntax Rules

  • What are the no-nos and yes-yeses of JSL?
  • What are the JSL escape characters?
  • How do I even parentheses?

Happy scripting, and best of luck in your UI building adventures! Let me know what your favorite UI building resources are in the comments below; I'd be happy to hear from you.

1 Comment
Super User

 Perhaps not a 101 topic but I'd be interested to see a post about the life-cyle of display boxes.  They are somewhat curious creatures - you can create them before you use them, they live whilst their window lives, and their clones live beyond the lifespan of the window.