UI freedom (was: UI: Being Pollitically Correct)

Francois-Rene Rideau rideau@clipper
Wed, 4 Jan 95 0:06:46 MET

> I worry that, in trying to be very general, we loose all our speed.
   Don't worry about that. I have many ideas about how we can can have
fast interfaces, though again, the user should be free to parametrize
his interface as he pleases, and to use whatever concept he pleases,
chosing from the ones provided, or creating his own.
   For instance, I like the idea of manipulating a visible stack of
any kind of objects, as on HP calculators; nothing would prevent users to
have multiple stacks, as stacks are themselves objects. I feel that the
standard "cut&copy" paradigm from the MacIntosh (or worse -- X-Window), is
just some very limited kind of one-level deep stacks, of untyped ASCII text
only in the case of X-Window, and weakly typed loosely managed objects but
for a limited number of system types in the case of MacOS or MS-Windows.
   As for structure editing, (parametrizable) visual constructors/editors
could be automatically derived from the structure of an object type.
The programmer and/or the user could override the defaults by specifying
what kind of editor he wants under various conditions depending on the
program that asks an object and/or
   Now, when a program *really* wants direct access to some hardware
(e.g. movie decompresser/player), then there's no need for nasty interfaces;
just grant direct access to the real or virtual (multiplexed) pixmap
hardware. KISS means do not introduce software interfaces when they are
not yet or not anymore needed.
   Please find me an example (but displaying raw images) where it truely
useful that the programmer knows that the user will have such button at
such pixel position and not one pixel higher, lower, more on the right or
the left, brighter or duller, more red or more blue, etc.
   As far as I know, when a program needs an object of some type, it
needn't know how the object was synthetized, though in current systems
the programmer will typically have to provide an editor himself as the
system won't allow such synthesis otherwise.

> Where does our specificity come from?  It is this that we need to
> design...
   To me it comes from this modularized design: do not put in a program
what does not belong to it, but instead, provide separate interfaces,
and generate interfaces automatically while allowing easy annotation of
a program by sample customizable interfaces.

   Of course, I'm not the UI guru or maintainer, so rather ask Chris about
the detailed look and feel of the standard system interfaces provided. I'm
just giving away my two pence worth.

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-- Fare -- rideau@clipper.ens.fr -- Francois-Rene Rideau -- +)ang-Vu Ban --
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