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I agree. I nearly choked when I saw that remark about CLIs and not human. But you said it much better. Let me paraphrase, and see if it fits.

GUIs are fine for some people who need handholding for infrequent tasks or initial exposure. But CLIs give the advantage of fewer hand movements, and (most important for power users) the ability to script common actions or have programs drive other programs.

One of the most frustrating thing about the Mac for me is that I can't really script anything. Sure, OneClick helps, and AppleScript can trap some of the interesting things, but I really can't tell anything "move the mouse to the topmost file that begins with F, and click there". That's too tricky.

So what we really need is both. GUIs to help the casual or beginning user, and CLIs for the frequent or power user.

Let's also consider one other factor in HCI design. I personally have a brain wiring that makes icons nearly useless, and I understand about 10% of the population are like me. I have to stare at each icon individually and name it, so that the next time I come to that icon, I can recall the name, and then access the meaning of the icon. If you simply present me with a dozen icons or so, I must tediously go through and determine the word for each icon. Thank the maker for tooltips... I just wish they would come up faster!

If a tool has a way of turning all the icons off, I usually do that, or if it has a way of replacing all the icons with words, I even prefer that. So for the 1 of 10 people in the population like me, please, please, please give words near the icons, or provide tooltips. Otherwise, I will swear at you every time I have to use your program.

-- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

In reply to GUIs and CLIs by merlyn
in thread The sad state of Perl documentation by SuperCruncher

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