VMS database submission form program

Foteos Macrides MACRIDES at wfeb2.bitnet
Fri Aug 2 04:14:00 EST 1991

>>        I have no wish to exert control over what our users and
>>        submittors do, however I now believe it is necessary to voice
>>        an opinion on these latest developments designed to encourage
>>        the use of the ASCII submission form in preference to Authorin.
>>        If you must write something for the VMS (or UNIX) world, then
>>        we plead that it be transaction capable, because no matter how
>>        glitzy or easy_to_use you make your product, without that
>>        capability you are dooming your users to an antiquated and
>>        increasingly outdated mode of data submission, and in the end,
>>        it is they who will not thank you for it.
>>Paul Gilna

>>         I don't mean to offend anyone, but wouldn't the time it took to write
>> this, and other postings like it from the GenBank staff, be better spent
>> seeking funds to generate an Authorin in C with Curses and an encoding scheme
>> that will ensure uncorrupted transmission of its output through network
>> gateways?  It was the writing of Authorin in a PC/floppy-bound manner that
>> "doomed" users to "an antiquated and increasingly outdated mode of data
>> submission," and in fact, "in the end" they should thank those creating
>> pressure to re-do it in a more portable manner that would enable it to be
>> installed on centrally accessible computers regardless of their operating
>> systems.

>Since the above is completely inaccurate and posted in a public forum,
>I'll have to divert more of my time to countering this statement
>It's not Paul's direct responsibility to work on Authorin, but he must
>live with the data sent in to the database which is why an ounce of
>prevention by him now now may save many headaches later.
>Regarding "curses," the last time that I mentioned curses when talking
>to someone from Sun Microsystems I received the quaint little reply
>"Oh ... does anyone still use Curses anymore <raised eyebrows>."  I am
>not a software engineer and I do not intend to debate the relative
>merits of these packages.  I should say, however, that Authorin was
>not "PC-bound."  It was written in C using the XVT interface library
>which was designed to make software portable across multiple
>platforms.  The early versions of XVT did not quite live up to all
>aspects of this claim (although it is now pretty robust), but the
>Authorin code ***has*** been reused for other hardware platforms and
>the Mac code would be the basis of the next port to UNIX.  Your
>complaints are simply uninformed, Fote.  Sorry.
>I'll stop wasting my time answering groundless charges and get busy
>lobbying NIGMS and NCBI for a UNIX port once again.  Our project
>officers read these newsgroups.  Curiously I was told that very few
>people sent in mail to NIH about Authorin ports other than the few
>that posted to the newsgroup.  Irene Eckstrand requested feedback a
>couple of weeks ago, but it seems like all of this ranting is just
>verbal pyrotechnics on the part of a few with little mass support.
>Since this is a public international forum I feel obliged to respond
>to inaccurate information.  If you want us to devote our time to
>providing you with better service, please send questions through our
>usual channels, e.g., authorin at genbank.bio.net, instead of flaming us
>in public before knowing the facts.
>Dave Kristofferson

        There indeed has been considerable misunderstanding/miscommuniction in
the discussion of this issue via this public international forum.  What I got
out of the previous postings was the impression that having developed Authorin
for IBM/clone PCs and porting it to MACs, there might be enough existing
resources left over for a port to UNIX, but that is still "if-y", and there
are no resources, nor plans, for a port to VMS.  Apparently others got this
impression and offered to develop ports in the public domain, but this was

        I don't know how many there are or how much they communicate with
network forums, but I suspect there are a goodly number of people on VMS
systems (to which the GCG package is presently wed) who would greatly
appreciate a port of Authorin to VMS.  Without any prospect of one in the
foreseeable future, it can be anticipated that they will predominently make
ASCII submissions.  A public domain program for VMS was announced, which
amounts to a task-directed editor for generating such submissions, with a
clear statement that it is not Authorin or a valid substitute for it -- just a
"helper" for generating the ASCII form.  This was met with apprehension that
it is designed to encourage the use of the ASCII submission form in preference
to Authorin and will doom users in making the generation of forms more glitzy.
Verbal pyrotechnics can be in the eye of the beholder and not necessarily

        I doubt that anyone who reads these newsgroups fails to appreciate all
that the GenBank staff is doing under difficult circumstances.


 Foteos Macrides           Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
 MACRIDES at WFEB2.BITNET     222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

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