Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 24th Jun 2007 13:44 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Federkiel writes: "People working with Apple computers are used to a very consistent user experience. For a large part this stems from the fact that the Lisa type of GUI does not have the fight between MDI and SDI. The question simply never arises, because the Lisa type of GUI does not offer the choice to create either of both; it's something different all along. I usually think of it as 'MDI on steroids unified with a window manager'. It virtually includes all benefits of a SDI and and the benefits of an MDI." Read on for how I feel about this age-old discussion.
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Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Okay, somebody might be accustomised to doing everything in Norton/Midnight commander and doesn't want to learn a real CLI or GUI at all. Does it make them more productive? Is it a better way? The answer is "no", just because somebody doesn't want to learn to do things better doesn't mean that Norton Commander is the best interface out there.

If that user prefers Commander, then yes, it is the best interface - for him. Just like how you prefer the Finder - making Finder the best interface, for you.

It takes a Windows user 15 steps to complete a task while in MacOS it would take only 4 steps, so naturally if the user learns how to do things right it would save him time and make him more productive.

The world isn't that simple. The tasks a computer has to perform cannot be brought down to "a task" requiring "x number of clicks". Using a computer involves millions of little tasks which all require a certain amount of user input. I'd think you'd have a very hard time trying to prove that the Mac requires fewer click to operate than a Windows box.

And even if you could, it is irrelevant, since a trained Windows user might perform his 15-click task faster than the equiv. 5 click action on the Mac, due to training, and preference.

Reply Parent Score: 1

obi_oni Member since:
2006-02-15

Glad you brought up the midnight/norton commander.

Something that's great about the midnight/norton commander is the predictability of it all. After building up some muscle memory, I can manipulate files almost faster than my screen can refresh, people watching me work just see the screen flash a bit ;-). Combined with the CLI, it's great. I still use it daily, even though it's a bit dated and clunky in some parts (the editor is only nice because I'm used to it, and very clunky when it comes to copy/pasting for instance)

That being said, even though graphical variants have been tried (a lot) both in windows, linux and other operating systems and desktop environments, somehow they never work out. Someone interested in usability should really look into why it worked in the first place, and why it fails so badly in mouse-based/wimp environments.

I think it worked because of its source/destination system (the 2-panel layout always made clear where your file would end up), the always available command line (it doesn't get in the way of the CLI, on the contrary it augments it), the integrated file search/filtering/comparing, and the integrated editor - and most of all: absolute predictability of the commands.

Maybe I should write my own eventually, not necessarily using the same layout (2-panel + CLI) but copying some of the concepts, and adding some modern features in the mix.

(Something like http://hotwire-shell.org/, the old http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XMLTerm, using modern editors/viewers, and try to get away from being "filesystem based", allow different views based on its content/metadata. I still think you need an source/destination thing, so 2 panels might stay ^_^)

Reply Parent Score: 1

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"Glad you brought up the midnight/norton commander."

:-)

"Something that's great about the midnight/norton commander is the predictability of it all. After building up some muscle memory, I can manipulate files almost faster than my screen can refresh, people watching me work just see the screen flash a bit ;-)."

Just as an addition: The MC takes into mind that most operations done with files and directories are "source target operations", such as copying, moving or symlinking. The two panels concept seems to be a very good approach here - better than handling files using the edit buffer (^C, ^X, ^V).

"Combined with the CLI, it's great."

In fact, it is, because it does not limit you. If you need to do an operation that is not supported by the MC, you just call the command you want.

Using mc.ext file, you can even implement the "open on doubleclick" feature here. And for something else, you just enter a command, followed by Meta-Enter (Esc, Enter if no Meta keys available), such as "mplayer -idx Esc Enter Enter" for a malformed AVI file.

"I still use it daily, even though it's a bit dated and clunky in some parts (the editor is only nice because I'm used to it, and very clunky when it comes to copy/pasting for instance)"

The mcedit is one of my favourite editors. It even supports syntax highlighting that you can configure and extend as you wish.

Running in an X Terminal, the MC has mouse support. The downside: You cannot copy / paste via middle mouse buttons from / to other applications.

"I think it worked because of its source/destination system (the 2-panel layout always made clear where your file would end up), the always available command line (it doesn't get in the way of the CLI, on the contrary it augments it), the integrated file search/filtering/comparing, and the integrated editor - and most of all: absolute predictability of the commands."

This is completely correct. Sure, it needs a bit time for the average user to see how this concept works (and why it works), but I knew many people coming from DOS and NC who cried out having nothing similar in their new "Windows". :-)

Reply Parent Score: 2

juno_106 Member since:
2007-06-24

I prefer the way Apple handles toolbars. It uses less screen space.

Reply Parent Score: 2