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future software directions

Christoph Gartmann gartmann at VMS.MPIIB-FREIBURG.MPG.dbp.de
Fri Feb 19 10:47:45 EST 1993


In article <9302180457.AA20119 at net.bio.net>, KNECHT at UCONNVM.bitnet writes:
> currently running MacVector on Macs and have GCG running on a VAX.
> The question has come up as to the future directions.  I see lots of
> development going on in the PC world and from my experience with GCG,
> I expect it to die a slow death that I will shed no tears over.  I hate
> having to work with a manual open on my lap.

And so I would like to add my opinion as well:

I found GCG the most powerful sequence analysis package so far
(working in biocomputing since 1988, in computing since 1984). And as
it is in general: the more functionality you have, the more complex
the tool is! Thus be careful if a program is very simple...

Considering the user-interface of GCG I agree that a command-line
oriented control is not as self-explaining as pull-down menus are.
This represents an "access obstacle" for unexperienced AND unmotivated
users. To circumvent this problem we created a menu interface (like R.
Doelz and J. Prilusky did). Try GCG with one of these! Nevertheless it
is true that it is more efficient and faster working using the
command-line interface, provided that you know all the commands and
switches. Otherwise use a menu.

Anyway, if you really want to know what you are doing with your
research data on a computer you need to know what the programs do. And
the more complex a program is, the more you have to read about it. It
is not possible to do reasonable research without understanding what
your methods actually do, how PCR works and so on. Why do you expect a
computer to function like 'do what I am thinking about' ?

After all you have to distinguish between the user interface and the
functionality of the program. And a very complex program cannot have
a really simple interface. And this is independent of any operating
system! You can't prevent manual reading...

Regards
  Christoph Gartmann

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