[nSLUG] Lock the door...

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Tue Jan 6 18:18:42 AST 2009


2009/1/6 Mike Spencer <mspencer at tallships.ca>:

> But since (by definition [1]) half the people out
> there have an IQ under 100, I can grant that a (Mickey) Mouse- and
> menu-based interface has a place.

It certainly has a place.  I just think that the more comprehensive the user
interface (and the more captive the user) then the _better_ that interface
better be.  It's totally sad that I can pop up an rxvt and type 'xpdf
~/myfile.pdf &' in less time than it takes the GTK2 'Run with' file dialog to
stat 2000+ files in /usr/bin/.  How sad is it that a comprehensive user
interface, the goal of which is to help novice/ignorant users accomplish
tasks, instead pushes them away, because it doesn't work well, and they shy
away from learning the "complicated" command-line option, partially because
they've been conditioned to use the "comprehensive user interface"?

> (Do you remember when it was a condescending sneer to refer to an app
> as "menu-based"?)

I think I was probably a Mac user way back then (having graduated from my
first real computer experience, the Apple II), so I was on the "other side"!

> Personally, I think many of the younger developers (younger than I,
> anyhow :-) grew up from the cradle with Windoes and have internalized
> that pictoral/pictograph interface as the norm.  They can write code
> but they do so with pictograph IF as a target because that's what "a
> computer" means to them . The user gets to *choose* one of the things
> the computer knows how to do. Older developers think more in terms of
> language.  If you can *say* it, the computer should be able to do what
> you say.

Brilliantly said.  I can add nothing, save this: if you haven't read "The
Elements of Style: UNIX As Literature" by Thomas Scoville, go read it now:

   http://www.rap.ucar.edu/staff/tres/elements.html

-D.



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