Re: Ease of Use?

Rob Brown-Bayliss <rob ZOOstation cc> wrote: 

> So what doi you think?  Is it our job to make changes to culture?  Can
> we take things to the next level?  are we doomed to wander in circles
> as the MAC and Windows worlds have for the last 15+ years?  What is
> the next level?

    I don't know, but I really wish to see more Emacs-like programs,
that is, coming with a Lisp (or something similar) interpreter
embedded, so that these programs could be easily extended to almost
anyone's needs by changing stuff in a high-level language rather than
in C or C++. Here is some stuff I think of:

    - Web browser's bookmark management: it could be great if one
      could decide how to store the URLs -> in a file, add in a file,
      put it in a database, etc... with of course a GUI tailored for
      this, instead of being forced to use what the browser gives you
      ("DIY man !", OK, but you'd rather write stuff like this in
      Lisp than in C/C++). The home page could be generated from the

    - I read Big5 Chinese Web pages, but some pages don't tell me that
      they are encoded in Big5, so the browser thinks it's Latin-1 and
      I have to manually switch to Big5: well, I could define a list
      with regexps to tell the browser which encodings to use

    - Microsoft creates a new tag only implemented in IE: write the
      code in that language to simulate it... 

    - I live in Taiwan and wish I could listen to some radio programs
      in France. Wouldn't it be great if I could program a browser 

          - connect to the Web at 2:55 AM (yeah, metered Internet
                                           connectivity and phone,
          - connect to the radio station's RealAudio (or whatever)
            server and "listen" untill 4:00 AM (-> in a file)
          - disconnect from the Web at 4:05 AM
          - copy the file to my MP3 device

    - let's say I have some program that generates some log files that
      I would like to view: vi, Emacs, less, OK, but why not using
      a Web browser ? I could write some code, etc. and tell it how
      to output the stuff (color, font, indentation)... 

    - how about PHP and the like embedded in a browser ? "select *
      from my_table" sucks when I have lot of large columns, but then,
      I would use PHP to write function to output just what I want,
      etc... By putting embedding in a browser is that we can write
      applications without relying on a Web server, which may be
      helpful when, say you are at a client site and all they have are 
      CL stuff and of course, you don't want to bother to install some
      Web server just for the sake of using PHP... My key point here
      is to make the browser programmable so it can browse anything
      (databases, log files, trace files, ...) and output in color, in
      tables, in frames, etc... without the need of a server.
      A browser as a database client ? Yes !

    - ...

    So, to put it short, put the most stuff accessible from a
high-level language like Lisp and write the application with that
language, so that actually, instead of having one static
application, one would have a framework to write dynamic

> I think that if Leanne can get more use from a CLI than a GUI for
> basic operations then (no disrespect to her, she is an inelligent
> woman with two university degrees who simply thinks cars and computers
> belong in the same box) maybe the GUI is not the be all and end all.
> If that is the case what can be gained from including some of the CLI
> into the GUI?  Take Evolution as an example, what benefit can be
> imagined from a commandline buffer if any?

    A complete programming language should be provided so that new
functions can be written and their user interfaces can be
created; that way, CLI and GUI would be complementary.

    For example, let's say that I have a directory where I store some
memos and that all files have the following formats:

Date: xxx
Subject: yyy
From: zzz
To: aaa

    Then, it would be great if I could say : OK, you show the classic
stuff: directories on the left and files on the right but when you 
are in that memos directory, don't show the files on the right but
rather lines like:

[xxx] zzz -> aaa / yyy

    and putting the cursor on such a line would open a small window
with the contents inside, etc...

    GUI is such a sensitive and personal issue that it makes sense to
let users modify the GUI in the way they want. For example, in
Internet Explorer, when I open a new window, it uses the current page
as the contents: I like that. In Navigator, it uses the home page: I
hate that. I wish there were a variable *new-navigator-page-contents*
where I could say :blank, :home-page, :current-page, whatever.

    That's why current GUIs are so frustrating: you can't modify
them, er, I mean, you can, but then, you would have to do the same
thing at each new release (in a C/C++ only-program).

    So, for me, Emacs is the model for the next level. Scary, eh :-) ?
Well, the evolution of Emacs + Gtk will be interesting... What's next ?
Emacs + Gtk + ODBC and have all these query results in Lisp lists :-))) ?
 Georges KO (Taipei, Taiwan)                                      gko gko net
             Cycle 78, year 17 (Geng-Chen), month 8 (Yi-You), day 16 (Jia-Xu)

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