Excellent point -- that is also my main issue with terminal emulations that look pretty. A GUI interface does more than look pretty -- it helps prohibit any invalid data from being entered. There are much fewer "data entry fields" in favor of point and click on drop downs and such. Of course, the point and click slows folks down.
Software developers of packaged software have the issue of needing to make all of the data entry approaches look way cool and yet ensure that in those cases where there is still a need for fast data entry, the users will not reject the software. The primary need for GUI's that are clicky-clicky is handled well enough with a variety of tools and such applications can often function just fine within a web browser (using jsp or asp for example). It is always harder to add in new stuff than the remove the old and I'd like to see something that will let us remove any need for character-based, terminal emulation software from our production environments, without losing their great features that have kept us using them these many years. 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 Brian Leach Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 5:03 AM To: 'U2 Users Discussion List' Subject: RE: GUI as nice as character-based 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. > > > >-- >u2-users mailing list >[EMAIL PROTECTED] http://www.oliver.com/mailman/listinfo/u2-users > >-- >u2-users mailing list >[EMAIL PROTECTED] http://www.oliver.com/mailman/listinfo/u2-users >-- >u2-users mailing list >[EMAIL PROTECTED] >http://www.oliver.com/mailman/listinfo/u2-users > >-- >u2-users mailing list >[EMAIL PROTECTED] >http://www.oliver.com/mailman/listinfo/u2-users > > >--- >Incoming mail is certified Virus Free. >Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). >Version: 6.0.659 / Virus Database: 423 - Release Date: 15/04/2004 > --- Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). 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