VAX/VMS & NCBI's _Entrez_: text interface desired

Bill Pearson wrp at cyclops.micr.Virginia.EDU
Fri May 7 19:52:50 EST 1993


In article <930507104042.214062a7 at JAGUAR.CSC.WSU.EDU> THOMPSON at JAGUAR.CSC.WSU.EDU ("Steve Thompson: VADMS genetics") writes:
>Greetings BioNetLanders -
>
>From all I can gather (using Gopher and USENET) NCBI's _Entrez_
>system can only run on a VMS system if Motif and some type of
>windowing environment is utilized.

Entrez will only run on a windowing system on any computer -MSWindows,
Mac, or X-windows.

>The probability of getting many separate laboratories to purchase
>both the _Entrez_ CD's and CD readers for their own machines is nil.
>Therefore, we desire to place the system on a distributed platform
>that all users could equally access.  In our case that limits our
>choice to VAX/VMS.  Our system already has the necessary CD readers
>and network connections.

	At most universities, a cost-effective system can be built
on a Novell Network server.  Often you will find that there is a server
available, in the library for example, and the only cost is the addition
of a 1 GB disk ($1500).  Even if you must purchase the server and software,
a it can be done for < $5000.  And, as Dennis Benson mentions, you can now
use Entrez via tcp/ip, without having the database on line at all.

>Yet few of our users have X-window server software on their machines,
>furthermore, many of our users ONLY have access to text or at most
>Tek graphics terminals.

It is hard to believe that there are more terminals than Windows compatible
PC's at many universities today.

>Has anybody developed a text only interface to _Entrez_ ?!

No, nor should they.

>The potential application of such an interface in enormous.  I would
>imagine that if one were developed, the demand would be substantial.

The beauty of Entrez is not only the database, it is also the user
interface. Anyone can start using entrez in a matter of minutes,
because of its excellent presentation.  With inexpensive network
servers and Windows (or Mac) machines available, it is very difficult
to justify the investment in a terminal based interface to Entrez, or
any other powerful windowed environment.  What you save in not
purchasing hardware, you easily spend in increased training and
decreased access.  While I am no believer in the propaganda that
Microsoft puts out about Windows productivity, in the case of Entrez,
the window system really increases the value.

Bill Pearson




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