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ncursesn?

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  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    So once upon a time there was curses.

    Then there's ncurses, because some hippy wanted it under GPL (because BSD wasn't good enough)

    And yet, there's no ncursesn: curses for .NET

    It's a mystery. I know that the Console class makes working with textmode easy, but a proper widget toolkit for .NET would be very useful. Those in the enterprise will recognise a need for textmode apps.

    Or is there some other library which serves the same purpose and I've overlooked it?

  • User profile image
    TimP

    It's out there, not sure how well (or if) it can run on Windows.

    http://www.mono-project.com/MonoCurses

    Back when .NET 2.0 was new, I wrote a very basic text-mode widget library that was loosely influenced by ncurses using the Console class and it's actually not that hard, I just had no real motivation to make it anything more than a toy.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    W3bbo wrote:
    Those in the enterprise will recognise a need for textmode apps.


    Really? Maybe academia is subtly different from "the enterprise" in some way I've missed, but I can't think of a genuine need for curses style apps.

    Care to enlighten?

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    AndyC wrote:
    Really? Maybe academia is subtly different from "the enterprise" in some way I've missed, but I can't think of a genuine need for curses style apps.

    Care to enlighten?


    When I was at my local NatWest branch all their computers were running textmode apps. When setting up an account the branch manager was using a menu-system app on NT4 Workstation.

    It can be said, I feel textmode apps are more idiot proof (and simpler) than winforms.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    When I was at my local NatWest branch all their computers were running textmode apps. When setting up an account the branch manager was using a menu-system app on NT4 Workstation.


    Oh, I don't mean they're not in use. Their are hundreds of legacy bits and pieces out there that are absolutely critical line of business apps which get used not matter how clunky their interface is.

    What I don't see is a need for new ones, though. 99% of people are intimidated by console applications and would be much happier with something that feels more like what they are used to.

  • User profile image
    Massif

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    AndyC wrote:
    Really? Maybe academia is subtly different from "the enterprise" in some way I've missed, but I can't think of a genuine need for curses style apps.

    Care to enlighten?


    When I was at my local NatWest branch all their computers were running textmode apps. When setting up an account the branch manager was using a menu-system app on NT4 Workstation.

    It can be said, I feel textmode apps are more idiot proof (and simpler) than winforms.


    In fact there's a growing trend for creating web-apps which are just flimsy layers sat on top old text-based apps.

    Plus ca change, don'tcha know.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    AndyC wrote:
    What I don't see is a need for new ones, though. 99% of people are intimidated by console applications and would be much happier with something that feels more like what they are used to.


    You're making an assertion, where's the peer-reviewed HCI study suggesting that 99% of computer users will prefer a WIMP program to a textmode one?

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    AndyC wrote:
    What I don't see is a need for new ones, though. 99% of people are intimidated by console applications and would be much happier with something that feels more like what they are used to.


    You're making an assertion, where's the peer-reviewed HCI study suggesting that 99% of computer users will prefer a WIMP program to a textmode one?


    FFS, W3bbo, stop being so pedantic. 

    The chances are that the text mode app you saw was a straight terminal to a mainframe.  The reason they're still around is due to a combination of "if it aint broke, don't fix it" and waiting for the investment in the mainframe to amortise before making another investment in a newer system. This happens a lot. If they were building a new system, the chances are it would be GUI.

    Herbie

  • User profile image
    Lee_Dale

    Text mode apps in this day and age wwwwwhhhhaaatttt?

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    You're making an assertion, where's the peer-reviewed HCI study suggesting that 99% of computer users will prefer a WIMP program to a textmode one?


    I haven't done one, feel free to go ahead and post the results. My assertions are merely based on over ten years of experience supporting a multitude of users across a broad range of platforms and applications. I'm quite prepared to be proven wrong.

    Even the majority of CS undergraduates I see these days find the command line an intimidating experience. Personally I find that deeply sad, but for a generation who've experienced nothing before Windows 95, it's not entirely surprising.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Dr Herbie wrote:
    
    W3bbo wrote:
    
    AndyC wrote:
    What I don't see is a need for new ones, though. 99% of people are intimidated by console applications and would be much happier with something that feels more like what they are used to.


    You're making an assertion, where's the peer-reviewed HCI study suggesting that 99% of computer users will prefer a WIMP program to a textmode one?


    FFS, W3bbo, stop being so pedantic. 


    Not quite Wink I've been called on assertions I've made. Okay, so I was overly specific, but the point remains.

    Dr Herbie wrote:
    The chances are that the text mode app you saw was a straight terminal to a mainframe.  The reason they're still around is due to a combination of "if it aint broke, don't fix it" and waiting for the investment in the mainframe to amortise before making another investment in a newer system. This happens a lot. If they were building a new system, the chances are it would be GUI.


    Or would it? You could eliminate staff retraining costs by recreating the UI in a non-mainframe app.

    My father's MG Owners Club spare parts list is a textmode application btw.

    With a lot of textmode apps, it's low-resolution grey-on-black, this is easy on the eyes and the only way to cycle through fields is with the tab key (and some kind of "back-tab" combination). I feel this makes it great for data input scenarios where it's harder to mess things up.

    Compare with WIMPs for repetitive data entry where users will instinctivly use the mouse to go between fields, even though it's slower and the high-resolution displays can make things a strain unnecessarily. Then consider licensing costs for the parent OS, and more things can go wrong.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    AndyC wrote:
    I haven't done one, feel free to go ahead and post the results. My assertions are merely based on over ten years of experience supporting a multitude of users across a broad range of platforms and applications. I'm quite prepared to be proven wrong.


    I'll grant you that, but surely you'll agree that at least some applications are best suited to textmode?

    AndyC wrote:
    Even the majority of CS undergraduates I see these days find the command line an intimidating experience. Personally I find that deeply sad, but for a generation who've experienced nothing before Windows 95, it's not entirely surprising.


    Commandline != Textmode.

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    W3bbo wrote:
    

    Dr Herbie wrote:
    The chances are that the text mode app you saw was a straight terminal to a mainframe.  The reason they're still around is due to a combination of "if it aint broke, don't fix it" and waiting for the investment in the mainframe to amortise before making another investment in a newer system. This happens a lot. If they were building a new system, the chances are it would be GUI.


    Or would it? You could eliminate staff retraining costs by recreating the UI in a non-mainframe app.


    The applications I work on were ported from text-mode to .NET GUI and we have retained the keyboard interface.  This is something that a lot of devs forget; not all user are mouse-centric, especially in business where secretarial staff are more keyboard-centric.  They still don't want text-based systems, though as not all users are keyboard-centric, either.

    W3bbo wrote:
    

    My father's MG Owners Club spare parts list is a textmode application btw.



    Is it Windows software?
    What's its history? 
    Was it written from scratch, or ported from an old text-based warehouse inventory system written decades ago? If so, who ported it and why? 
    There are a million reasons why software might be text-based, but few, if any, will have to do with whether that was the best interface.

    W3bbo wrote:
    

    With a lot of textmode apps, it's low-resolution grey-on-black, this is easy on the eyes and the only way to cycle through fields is with the tab key (and some kind of "back-tab" combination). I feel this makes it great for data input scenarios where it's harder to mess things up.

    Compare with WIMPs for repetitive data entry where users will instinctivly use the mouse to go between fields, even though it's slower and the high-resolution displays can make things a strain unnecessarily. Then consider licensing costs for the parent OS, and more things can go wrong.


    See my point above about the system I work on now. Not all users 'instinctivly' go for the mouse. A WIMP UI can be written to do everything a text-based one can do, plus a load more.
    As for 'easy on the eyes', I don't have to tell you about changing system colours in Windows as you probably know more about that than I do.


    Herbie



  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    Text-mode has a lot of problems. The limited width of 80 characters is a serious problem. The fact that everything is text means you have to 'read' buttons (no icons on buttons). And 16 fixed colors are not enough in a lot of situations. Try building a grid/list control and you'll soon hit the limitations. (how many rows/columns can you display?)

  • User profile image
    littleguru

    No!! Please not back to text apps. I remember being forced to work in Derive for DOS. If you have a complexer menu it's starting to pain - and even without mouse... Holy crap!

    *remembering Norton Commander for DOS* Perplexed - I was so happy to escape that blue something.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    W3bbo's assertion that text mode applications are easier to foolproof may be true, but that is only because they tend to limit the users. You can only do this and in this order.

    Users like the freedom afforded by GUI apps. Yes, that means more work on the programmer's side to make sure they can't do something wrong. But that's our problem. Sticking to text applications is an easy fix at the cost of user-friendlyness.

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    Steps can be taken to ensure that developers write GUI code that is keyboard friendly:

    As part of writing secure code, developers are told to develop under least privileges and have all their admin rights removed.

    To write keyboard friendly GUIs, developers should have their mice removed.

    Wink


    Herbie

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    W3bbo wrote:
    

    I'll grant you that, but surely you'll agree that at least some applications are best suited to textmode?



    I can't think of a single one. I can't think of anything at all that can be achieved in a textmode app that can't be done better (or at least equally well) with a full GUI.

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