DELTA & Graphical User Interfaces
mhuben at WORLD.STD.COM
Mon Oct 30 21:43:01 CET 1995
Prof. Cavalcanti correctly points out that portability is a key issue
for development of a next generation GUI for DELTA. However, I don't
think libraries and GUI compatibility kits are the way to go.
Instead, I think that the cleanest solution to the portability problem
is JAVA, the openly licensed language from SUN that runs inside the
latest version of Netscape.
The latest version of Netscape has HTML extensions that allow almost
all the graphical needs you could want: controllable windows and panes,
loading parts of documents separately, downloading programs and data
from across the net, etc. You might also edit across the internet with
a JAVA editor.
The concept is that you download JAVA programs the way you download
documents (they may be included in documents) and the programs can
dynamically drive your page. They can summon further
documents/data/programs from other sites as well. So, you may be able
to download the latest DELTA in JAVA from Australia with the data from
anywhere for your favorite taxa from Netscape without ever actually
having to store or configure anything on your machine. No more multiple
versions for multiple architectures.
My personal vision of the future is that platforms will support
internet access operating systems (which is what Netscape/JAVA really
is.) DELTA in JAVA could be one of the first significant application in
JAVA that would make good use of the geographic dispersion of
systematics expertise. The relatively impoverished GUI concepts in the
web are rapidly becoming (yet another) standard, that will soon be
common knowledge even for first time users of DELTA.
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