PROSA II - PROtein Structure Analysis available
Lynn F. Ten Eyck
teneyckl at sdsc.edu
Tue Feb 15 15:42:24 EST 1994
In article <2jkegs$cbd at ccu2.auckland.ac.nz> Shaw Mr. G,
shaw at ccu1.auckland.ac.nz writes:
>The problem is that students get scared off by unfriendly software
>and decide crystallography is not for them.
True, and unfriendly software also has two very high hidden costs.
1. It takes a lot of effort to learn how to use a new program;
2. This substantially inhibits the spread of better methods.
People have too much invested in the old programs, and
fear the effort required to learn new ones.
>Given the tools and programming skills around, I see no excuse for
>punched card inspired user interfaces on 1990's software.
Unfortunately, it is still difficult to write *PORTABLE* code
with good user interfaces. Most of the tools are tied to a
particularoperating system and/or hardware vendor. Portable
software often has to run on a dumb terminal (or a vt100 emulation
on somebody's PC). The situation is improving, though, and if you
are willing to write for a particular area (e.g. Unix boxes with
Motif) you can do a very good job.
Duncan McRee based XtalView on the XView toolkit, which is
available for a number of Unix platforms (but not all; we cover
Sun, SGI, and DECstations at present, and are working on others).
This has been pretty successful for a very rich user interface.
User interfaces have to consider a) the problem; b) the user; and
c) the system. Whenever you write a good piece of software, you
will be amazed at the systems some people have to run it on.
Lynn Ten Eyck
teneyck at sdsc.edu
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