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Re: Octave User Interface

From: John Swensen
Subject: Re: Octave User Interface
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2010 23:10:53 -0500

On Feb 3, 2010, at 11:57 AM, David Grundberg wrote:

> Octave doesn't need a GUI. Programming languages don't need buttons and 
> menus. I think that the win32 console leaves much to be desired though, 
> so maybe that is something worth attacking on that side. If only I could 
> be forced to run Windos, that is.
> David
> _______________________________________________
> Help-octave mailing list
> address@hidden

I agree that Octave doesn't *need* a GUI, but by no means does having an IDE 
hurt anything.  I often find it quite nice to have the standard OS open file 
dialog when trying to locate a file.  I also enjoy having a window with a list 
of all the variables in the current scope and their values (when they are 
scalars or small vectors).  I also enjoy having the command history so I can 
make a selection of previously executed commands and execute them as a block.  
Now, there may be a way of doing a lot of these things from the command line, 
but the convenience factor and having Octave act like the rest of the programs 
on my computer is definitely a plus (especially for those new to Octave and/or 

Having worked on an IDE in the past (OctaveDE, and I hope to spend some more 
time on it when I finish my PhD), I can tell you that it is a lot of work.  
Especially to make sure it runs on all platforms.  It was easy to get something 
working on just my Mac or just in Linux, but when trying to get things working 
across all platforms without any bugs and crashes was quite a bit more 
difficult.  OctaveDE is now at the point where it has the command line, 
variables panel, history panel, and a very crippled editor (I wish I could just 
embed Emacs as the editor, but keep it all one program).  I mostly use the 
editor for debugging and have Emacs open to edit.

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