Re: Great SWT Program
- From: bbound@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2007 22:40:41 -0000
On Oct 3, 11:18 am, blm...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <blm...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I think there are two questions here:
(*) One is why/whether should people who already know text-mode
tools should switch to something with a GUI. IMO, the most
compelling reason for switching is that the GUI offers features not
available with the text-mode tool -- not "not readily learnable
by novices", but "not available", or "not available without
significant additional learning". Whether the text-mode tool is
novice-friendly isn't important for these people, except as it
affects whether there will continue to be a user base for the tool.
This explains sticking with tools learned before the invention of the
GUI, but not learning similar tools later, nor the active
*development* of such tools since that date.
The snob appeal of knowing something most people don't, and a
reluctance to discard tools one has spent a lot of time mastering,
are factors, if not very admirable ones.
And the snob factor explains everything, including the
One reason to switch to the GUI equivalent is simple enough: you'll be
speaking the same language, as it were, as 99% of the computer-using
population so you won't be baffled by mentions of e.g. charmap. And of
course switching is much easier than going the other way, since there
are widespread interface conventions that carry over from app to app
and even from Windoze to Mac.
(*) The other question is why/whether people who already know GUI
tools should switch to something text-mode. I won't try to make
a case that they should. What I do think is that some people
(particularly those who design software for others to use,
but also anyone smart/determined enough to use the old tools)
should be exposed to the old text-mode tools *in a way that
shows their strengths as well as their weaknesses*.
Tall order; most "exposure" to those tools of anyone not already
expert with the tool in question will give a bad impression, pretty
much without fail.
Based on my experience with doing this (teaching people a little
about the old tools), a small minority of those so exposed
will decide they like the old tools, for a few things at least,
and I think giving them options they wouldn't otherwise have
had is good.
No disagreement there.
And those who design software -- well, maybe having a broader
experience of what has been done in the past will lead to them
developing something that incorporates the strengths of the old
stuff as well as the new.
Or there. We desperately need good GUI tools that have better support
of task automation than the current crop, in a wide variety of areas
ranging from file management to graphics manipulation and yes, text
editing. Current IDEs do a pretty good job with programming tasks,
especially compiling and running, debugging and jumping to errors in
the code, and even refactoring and other fairly sophisticated
transformations that go well beyond a semantically-blind search-and-
replace. Let Eclipse, then, be a model for what we need more of in
other problem domains. (Text-tool lovers can stick with emacs and
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