Linked by David Adams on Fri 5th Aug 2011 16:08 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces A couple of days ago I read a blog post by Stephen Ramsay, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Fellow at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. In it, he mentions that he has all but abandoned the GUI and finds the command line to be "faster, easier to understand, easier to integrate, more scalable, more portable, more sustainable, more consistent, and many, many times more flexible than even the most well-thought-out graphical apps." I found this very thought-provoking, because, like Ramsay, I spend a lot of time thinking about "The Future of Computing," and I think that the CLI, an interface from the past, might have a place in the interface of the future.
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gpsnoopy
Member since:
2007-04-17

VSD is also extendable via scripting and plugins. For example, Boost publishes a text file that allows to better visualize some of its common classes (e.g. shared_ptr, optional, etc).

I've never seen any developer truly using the extension capabilities of either GDB or VSD.

It's the Hello World problem all over again. No matter how powerful a language or an interface is, if it takes 200 lines to print a 'hello world', it won't get popular.

CLI vs GUI is for me the same problem. It doesn't matter how powerful CLI can get, if 99% of the base usages are less efficient.

Take the Google Map example and the SQL-like CLI that Alfman posted below. Sure it's extremely powerful, but it fails to consider the information consolidation that such interface lacks:

- in Google Maps I can easily see where I am and where I roughly want to go. I can drag and drop the source and destinations with the tip of my finger. I can go into street view just by two finger-pushes, and find my view around town, visualizing the neighborhood before I even got there. Oh, and why not make a restaurant reservation via Google Map while I'm at it. Once I'm done, I can email it to a friend with 3 clicks.

There is no way a CLI can get close to the efficiency of a GUI interface. As the GUI can provide a tighter integration to several multidimensional concept that a CLI can't (at least no so easily).

The reason I cited TortoiseSVN was for similar reason. Sure the CLI is more powerful. But on a realistic situation, the information integration provided by the GUI is simply superior for most usages.

As another user posted, the CLI requires you to know exactly what you want and how to express it precisely. However, most of the time problems are fuzzy. You roughly have an idea of what you want, but you're not fully sure how to get there.

Taking TSVN as an example again, the GUI makes it a lot easier to manage the working copy and it's associated server side repository as the user does not have to remember by heart all the URLs. He can browse to the location he wants and then directly access the available operations on it.

The human brain retains 9 times more information when visually presented or visually supported (in contrast to text or speech). Knowing that, it's hard to defend that CLI is superior to GUI in general.

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