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Re: FYI: A killer app?
Pascal J. Bourguignon
Re: FYI: A killer app?
Tue, 23 Jan 2001 23:52:21 +0100 (CET)
Dennis Leeuw <address@hidden> wrote:
> [...] Why does Unix keep returning and
> why doesn't it die like most OSes ancient OSes did. Because it has one
> strong point it has thousands of little tools that do little things, but
> they do it so well that you wouldn't want to loose there functionality.
> You even want to port them to other OSes just because they work that
> Why not return to the real roots? No killer apps, just tools that work.
> But what does that mean for a desktop environment?
> That means OO programming. Little cells that function, but what should
> it do...
We had that with NeXTSTEP. It was called the "Service" menu. There was
a small application that only did dictionary lookup in the Webster
Dictionary, but it did that well enough that everybody loved to lookup
words in this dictionary from any other application merely selecting a
word and command-=. And so on for all the other services. Also there
was this distributed objects stuff, which allowed easy communication
between objects in different applications, which allowed to develop
small applications that did only one thing, but did it extremely well
(Improv and its associated graphing application).
> Let's look at the Unix tools and invent graphical equivalents ( <- is
> that english?)
> Build a graphical awk, groff, less, split, join and more
> This would mean no single killer app, but a killer environment. There
> are ofcourse some things that need to be solved like:
> How to pipe stuff from one to another command ?
> How to select all options and how to interface things right ?
With MPW (Macintosh Programmer Workshop) there was this Commander
stuff: an GUI option dialog could be built automatically upon
invocation of any command line tool. Pretty nice when you where new to
a command. Pretty useless otherwise. That's the classical dilema
between CLI and GUI.
On NeXT, there was a tool that would allow to graphically build shell
scripts, with pipes and option settings (I think it was an open source
one, check on peanuts).
I think we can say that humanity has researched interfaces for some
tens of thousand years now, and we've not found anything better than
sequencial language (be it oral or written) to communicate. True, some
information is passed thru non verbal channel, but that's pretty
limited. (Why nobody developed a non linear written language? Probably
because our ears and mouth process sequencial data flows. To
communicate complex (OO) designs, we have graph(ical) notations that
are not linear in essence. However, it's quite tedious to write/draw
such graphs. I'm not sure we can do better in term of GUI).
Therefore, ok, somebody could come with a good (usable) GUI equivalent
of pipes and options, but it seems to me that NeXTSTEP with its
Service menu is about the best we can have within a GUI (better you
have a CLI).
In conclusion, it seems that the killer app of GNUstep is the whole
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- FYI: A killer app?, Dennis Leeuw, 2001/01/23
- Re: FYI: A killer app?,
Pascal J. Bourguignon <=