[oclug] Re: GUI vs Command line

Ian! D. Allen idallen at idallen.ca
Sat Oct 7 15:21:56 EDT 2006

On Sat, Oct 07, 2006 at 07:57:38AM -0400, miden wrote:
> Are you saying it would not be possible to do this or just that no one
> has done it for you?

I've never seen it.  Tell me about one that does this.

On Sat, Oct 07, 2006 at 02:15:06PM -0400, Rod Giffin wrote:
> Yes.  There are plenty of examples.  Take sending a message by e-mail 
> for example.  No complex menu navigaion is required for that in a GUI, 
> such as Evolution, for example.  You simply click on "New" fill in the 
> form with appropriate data, and click send.

Okay, I just sent a file to one user.  Now how do I repeat that and
only have to change the userid, or only the file name, without having to
"fill in the form" again (possibly making mistakes or forgetting exactly
what I filled out in the previous form)?

In a command line, I back up one line (one keystroke) and change "user1"
to "user2" or "file1" to "file2" and push return.  If I realize I want
to do this a lot, I save that line in a script file and pass the userid
or file name in as a parameter, so I only need type "./mailusers user3"
or "./mailfiles file3".

Say it's tomorrow and I can't remember exactly which files I sent to whom.
My command line history tells me exactly what I sent and to whom and
allows me to repeat what I did exactly, only changing the little bits
I want changed.

Say it's next month and I realize I'm always sending these emails to the
same people, so I collect the command lines that do that and put them
all into one script file that makes it all happen: "./doall"

Say it's next year and I realize I'm always doing these things at the same
time every month, so I put an entry in my crontab that will automatically
run my "doall" script on the 15th of every month.

Say I want my friend in Slovenia to be able to do exactly what I do.
I send him my script file.

What existing GUI lets me do that sort of thing?  To summarize:

 - automatically saves the last thing I did
 - gives me keyword-searchable history of what I did

 - lets me edit any little piece of what I did and repeat it

 - allows me to save and parametrize what I did so that in future I only
   have to specify the little bits that change

 - lets me group a common series of things I do into a repeatable script
   so that it's easy to do all those things in that order

 - lets me run anything unattended (via crontab or other background
   scheduling system)

 - lets me pass my saved and customized actions to another user, who can
   also customize and modify them further

> You're talking about taking an action that you can repeat later
> with the same parameters, or parameters you can easily change.  So,
> write the software so that it can save and retrieve parameters for a
> future session without using a complex menu.

My command line doesn't require me to rewrite any applications.
I can parametrize and run all the applications unchanged.

What existing GUI lets me do these things, all of which I do *a lot*?

"Anything worth doing will be done more than once."

| Ian! D. Allen  -  idallen at idallen.ca  -  Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
| Home Page: http://www.idallen.com/ - Contact Improv: http://contactimprov.ca/
| College professor (Open Source / Linux) via: http://teaching.idallen.com/
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