Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 8th Feb 2008 20:46 UTC, submitted by irbis
Graphics, User Interfaces "It's one of the more popular culture wars in the free software community: GUI versus CLI (graphics versus the command-line). Programmers, by selection, inclination, and long experience, understandably are attracted to textual interactions with the computer, but the text interface was imposed originally by technological limitations. The GUI was introduced as a reply to those problems, but has undergone very little evolution from 1973 (when it was invented at Xerox PARC) to today. So why can't we do better than either of these tired old systems?"
Thread beginning with comment 300080
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
hmmm
by fasteez on Fri 8th Feb 2008 22:11 UTC
fasteez
Member since:
2007-03-13

I just lost a big comment ... so i summarize

cli like shells are nearly perfect :

data flow (pipes)
operators (anything that pipes in and out)
homoiconic user composition persistency (scripts)
+ contextual symbols database (autocompletion aka fast search in the possible existing inputs)

many highend software ( nr shake, discreet flame, alias maya , sidefx houdini ... ) uses 2D pov of the same ideas :
dag aka composition of nodes and dataflow evaluation

computer languages too have the same concept ... (lazy evaluation in fpl)

we could surely find some minimalistic way of interacting with computers there

so cli is perfect but .. linear .. it doesnt scale , and TUI are discrete lo-def (its a matrix of rectangles)

here come the gui .. we have 2d ( and Nd in fact ) and freeform shapes but problems are :

- these dataflow / operators ideas stayed out of sight ... for a lot of people ( even teachers ) a MSOffice gui is some kind of state of the art of what a GUI should be. they start with their mind creativity crippled.

- on top of that comes the oldfashioned concept gui frameworks that makes you write tons for few results ..
imperative and even oop gui frameworks are not well suited for ergonomy and interaction expressivity.

I guess value oriented semantics will lead the way ( like xml / js / css can demo actually . they created fancier gui inside a browser than in richclient apps )

or maybe some ND interaction calculus for generic data can be developped ...

- then 2d is nonlinear... an advantage and a disadvantage too : good 2d interaction is not simple. good 2d data layout is hard too. especially dynamic live data , with semantic relation between them.

lets see ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: hmmm
by raynevandunem on Sat 9th Feb 2008 04:15 in reply to "hmmm"
raynevandunem Member since:
2006-11-24

My idea: What if we could incorporate CSS into GUIs outside the browser?

Since the only people who really take CSS seriously are web designers (the ones who create the blog websites with text gradient logos using CSS and Photoshop, among other features), what if we let the CSS folks work on the GUIs of applications outside the browser?

CSS, as a young stylesheet language, is engineered towards design and presentation of any markup-based web interface (XHTML, SVG, XUL, etc). Furthermore, the future iterations of CSS, like the CSS3 working draft, are being developed to give the web designers more say in the presentation of their websites, even though they are a long way from usurping some of the roles that web developers (those who use JavaScript frameworks like jQuery and Prototype) currently possess.

I know that, as of 2008, only Firefox-based browsers (using the Stylish extension) have the ability to customize the browser's own interface using CSS "userstyles", even though it goes only so far. This is because of Mozilla's XUL (XML User Interface Language) framework, which supports most other standards that are compatible with the XML standard.

Giving CSS designers control over the GUIs of applications, IMO, will allow for the development of better, more intuitive user interfaces. It's a natural evolution for graphical interfaces, that they should be designed (within the constraints of the programmers, of course).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: hmmm
by hobgoblin on Sat 9th Feb 2008 04:46 in reply to "RE: hmmm"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

isnt this more or less what microsoft stuffed into vista?

or at least, i could have sworn that one can do gui's using a xml based language there.

sadly they havent seperated the ui from the rest so that a creative person can go about and radically rewrite the ui if he wants to (that i know of).

but then, thats what the kde people did with kde4, no? so that all the variants of desktop clocks that they have use the same "engine", but each layout is rewritten on top of that?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: hmmm
by camel on Sun 10th Feb 2008 14:37 in reply to "RE: hmmm"
camel Member since:
2005-06-29

Actually Qt 4 (and through that all of KDE 4) does have Style Sheets (based on CSS) for apps.
See: http://doc.trolltech.com/4.3/stylesheet.html

Reply Parent Score: 1