Dawn and all,

Another aspect of GUI, which we sure have to consider, is data communication lines.
Our operation is spread over 1000 kilometres, and sending GUI screens back and forth will certainly clog our lines. Except when you make use of local intelligence. The volume of data sent to paint a GUI screen must certainly be a factor of 50 more than with CUI. (?)


Schalk

On Tue, 20 Apr 2004 11:02:31 +0100, Brian Leach <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

To go back to Dawn's original post -

Dawn,

I've been writing GUI applications for UniVerse for about 15 years now. Some
have worked, some have - well - been learning experiences.


You shouldn't really compare GUI and character based. Why? Because then you
inevitably start to think of the GUI in character based terms - the
arrangement of controls on a form, or the addition of some buttons. That's
my main beef with 'intelligent' terminals - they obscure the real picture.


GUI is not about what you put on the screen. It's about the flow of
information, and how that flow best suits the application in question. Data
entry is part of that flow, but only part: character based is good for some
data entry and for administration, but a good application is also about
navigation, culture and the ease of finding information again.


Here are two very different examples:

I did a freight forwarding package for a company that previously was
entirely paper based. They took a - let's say "flexible" - approach to
rules, validations, pricing, descriptions etc - and wanted to keep that.
Providing a traditional system, with a nailed down design and entry screens
just wouldn't work for them. In fact I tried that first as a prototype, and
it didn't. Not in their culture.
So I designed a system that worked the same way as their forms. Every page
matched the standard forms they used, except that information automatically
infilled, was sent to their billing systems, collated to their work flow for
follow ups and diarising etc ... But all invisibly. What they 'saw' were the
forms they had used throughout. Even the validation was fairly soft, and
consisted mainly of highlighting things that were suspect. Annoying popups
were kept to an absolute minimum, text and codes expanded directly from
typing, and generally the whole thing designed to look and feel as
unobtrusive as possible: nothing to interrupt their work flow. I couldn't
have done that with a character based system because it couldn't have
represented the compexity of some of the forms (try doing an airway bill or
customs declaration form and you'll see what I mean).


As a more traditional example, I have a project management system that I
both designed and use. This is based on drill down principles, allowing me
to track projects, modules, scheduled and tasks. Here the advantage of a GUI
is persistence and workflow: because a GUI allows me to have multiple
windows open modelessly, I can track down from the projects or work lists
into the individual tasks whilst keeping the lists (heirarchically arranged)
still visible, so I don't have to keep closing down windows or reselecting:
generally much more efficient. I can also display more, since most of the
time I am interested in viewing information rather than changing it - and at
the viewing stage I can use smaller fonts to display things that when
amended need larger screen estate. The diary is a case in point: I can use
colours and smaller fonts to show different entries in a way that a green
screen application wouldn't accommodate. And naturally I keep a document
path, so any documents/project plans/applications or other materials
connected with a task can be opened directly on my desktop.


I have seen good GUIs: ones that improve process and work flow and make life
genuinely easier.
I have seen bad GUIs that interrupt work flow, slow people down (bl**dy mice
and message boxes).


Good GUI works.
Bad GUI is bad bad bad.

But too often GUI is blamed for the lack of vision or competence of those
implementing it.


Brian








-----Original Message-----
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On
Behalf Of Dawn M. Wolthuis
Sent: 20 April 2004 02:03
To: 'U2 Users Discussion List'
Subject: RE: GUI as nice as character-based

Citrix and I don't get along -- too many bad memories trying to set up ODBC
so that client machines ... anyway, I know that there are reasons that shops
use it, just as there are reasons I hope not to have to touch the product
again ;-)


And I didn't intend for Java to be the only possible solution to fit the
rules -- I just tried to be sure to rule out the V-word ;-) [Just a little
joke there -- I actually think that Visage is likely an excellent choice for
Microsoft-centric sites and I'm a Ross-fan myself, remember]


Cheers! --dawn

Dawn M. Wolthuis
Tincat Group, Inc.
www.tincat-group.com

Take and give some delight today.


-----Original Message----- From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Ross Ferris Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 7:21 PM To: U2 Users Discussion List Subject: RE: GUI as nice as character-based

Dawn,

Citrix Server would break DLG (Dawn's Law of GUI) rule 4 anyway, as you
would need to pre-install Citrix client software on most platforms.

BTW Dawn, do you have a mathematic proof of DLG ?

Just wondering, 'cause just like the "Great Date Debate", many may be happy
to 'bend' these rules because they don't apply to the environment they use ?


For example, Citrix has MANY other advantages, especially in larger
organizations, when it comes to issues like securing the desktop, and
centralized updates etc.

In Wyatt's case, he can simply install SmartTerm (oops, Windows only
product, breaks rule 1 - hmm, but with Citrix his client 'can' be a Mac ?!!?
Your "proof" could be 'interesting' ?!?!) onto his Server, and it then
requires no pre-installation.


He can have a link on a web page to download the Citrix client software ....
does this 'break' your 'rules', or does it fit ?


Of course Citrix Server/Terminal Server has an important place in larger
enterprises, addressing issues like security, desktop lockdown, patch/update
management, software distribution etc - which transcend DLG


Also with your "rule revision" below, as with the original DLG, you still
haven't included the "J" word, which I believe is an implicit (and
understood) requirement for DLG !?!

Ross Ferris
Stamina Software
Visage - an Evolution in Software Development


-----Original Message-----
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
On Behalf Of Dawn M. Wolthuis
Sent: Tuesday, 20 April 2004 5:14 AM
To: 'U2 Users Discussion List'
Subject: RE: GUI as nice as character-based

Ah, I should add or modify one of the requirements -- when I indicated
that there needs to be no setup on the client, I should put that in the
"client tier" and consider citrix servers to be application clients, of
sorts.  So, for my purposes (though not for everyone), a citrix server
is not an option.

1. Client Tier (no setup)
2. Http Server Tier (could include app server, such as tomcat or EJB
container such as Eclipse or WebSphere) 3. Database Server Tier

I'll clarify the requirements to add "no more tiers".

--dawn

Dawn M. Wolthuis
Tincat Group, Inc.
www.tincat-group.com

Take and give some delight today.


-----Original Message----- From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Buffington, Wyatt Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 1:57 PM To: U2 Users Discussion List Subject: RE: GUI as nice as character-based

We have been using a product called SmarTerm from Esker. It allows us
to displays screen close to GUI that is easily configureable by the end
user with little to no programming. It allows for HotSpots which appear
as a button on the screen which the user can click on. Buttons are a
list of things that a user can do that are mundane or repetitive, these
can save wear and tear on the old fingers. It has a GUI pop up calendar
that can be invoked from the host and the date returned back to the
host. The user can change the colors on the screen to match their
preferences. Email addresses and http links are highlighted differently
and can be clickable. You can create you our macros that can be run
from a Button. We use triggers to change our screen colors depending on
which account we are in.

If anyone is interested in a screen shot of what can be done. Email me
offline at [EMAIL PROTECTED]

We are currently using Version 11.0.5 on both PCs and Citrix Servers. I
am also in the process of testing 12.1 Beta.


-----Original Message----- From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Mark Johnson Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 1:45 PM To: U2 Users Discussion List Subject: Re: GUI as nice as character-based


Dawn: Good luck in your search for this holy grail. Lemme know if such a silver bullet is found.

I've been hunting for years.

Mark Johnson

---- Original Message -----
From: "Dawn M. Wolthuis" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 2:17 PM
Subject: GUI as nice as character-based


I haven't gotten through all of the postings in the GUI thread as yet, but am working on the question of how to write a GUI that is as good as a "green screen" from the perspective of folks currently using a green screen application. I saw hints at that, but nothing that tackled it from the standpoint of being able to use any tools on the market today to accomplish this (no need to retain databasic code, for example).

What could be used to actually replace, completely, the character
screens?

Requirements:
0) work with U2 as multiuser databases

1) Be able to use any Windows, new Mac (unix) or Linux client
2) Have graphically attractive & colorful screens, looking enough like
standard GUIs (M$, in particular) that users would understand the use
of icons, etc.
3) Respond to keystrokes by users -- not only to the click of a "submit"
button
4) Require no preparation of the client computers in advance of using
the software, likely directing user to a web page.
5) "type ahead" can be done so that the user is not waiting constantly
for the computer to respond
6) Heads down data entry folks are as happy with this as they were with
their green screens when they first got those and have only minor
complaints if converting now from a green screen, none of substance

What are the options -- who has written or seen such a GUI? --dawn

Dawn M. Wolthuis
Tincat Group, Inc.
www.tincat-group.com

Take and give some delight today.



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