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Graphical User Interfaces


TomChristiansen, GUIs considered harmful:

:It has been noted that GUIs make simple things simple, and complex ones impossible. Certainly it is worthwhile to make simple things simple. But too often software is geared to only one level of expertise. That which is novice-friendly is too frequently expert-hostile, and vice versa. Being needlessly forced to click the mouse over a menu will slow down the expert user who is more comfortable with a keyboard interface.

<Brennen> Ok, so I'm generally sympathetic to Christiansen's points here. I like software that's drivable from the command line & the console and has lots of scriptability & fits well into the Unix tool/filter/file/pipe scheme. But. I think it's important to point out that a major reason we use GUIs is that they make some complex things simple - or possible:

Of course, Christiansen goes on to note this - "There are cases where only a GUI makes sense, like a CAD system." It'd probably help if I waited 'til the end of stuff before making notes on it. Still, I think his given case doesn't really illustrate the number and importance of domains where GUIs are either extremely helpful (even for the power user) or necessary, and I say this as someone who could much more easily live without graphics than without the (text) console.

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