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Re: Gary's Recollections of Delta

Ken Cowan wrote:

> Talking about history repeating itself ...
> Has anyone ever noticed that all these "wizards" appearing
> in products get us back to asking lots of questions just as you
> had to do with command line apps for timesharing systems?

Hey, you're right! You just pop up a window for each question
instead of starting a new line!

I looked at this stuff in the context of User Interface
Management Systems (UIMS), which were arguably another
popular dead end a few years back. These were supposed
to allow the user to select a style of interface (for example
command line, menu, or graphical) either at run-time or
compile time, without further programmer intervention.

The slowest interface, and that most suited to newbies was
the select-command-from-menu (either graphical pull-down menu
or simply a list on a page). You don't have to memorize
commands but you have to follow a sequence of choices
provided by the "wizard". Better is graphical manipulation
like copying files by drag and drop. Faster still (depending
on the application area) is typing a command at a command
line, like 'grep SYS *.pl'.

Most programming languages themselves are serial
lists of instructions -- that's simply a good way to describe
an algorithm. (That's why people learned to talk I guess.)
Visual programming has its place, but it will never be an
efficient way to write a complicated algorithm. (Don't quote
me on that!)
Ralph Gonzalez