New tools for morphological data management

Roderic D. M. Page at BIO.GLA.AC.UK
Thu Sep 20 14:39:34 CEST 2001

I'd just like to second Tony's comments on cross platform support. There 
really isn't an excuse in this day and age for not supporting multiple 
platforms. Many people use Windows, but many do not. There is a large 
Mac community in systematics that should be considered, as well as some 
movement to Linux.

Since 1996 I've been monitoring the frequency of different operating 
system used to access the software list at the Taxonomy at Glasgow web 
site - - and 21% of the 
8000 plus hits are from Macs, with 65% from Windows (the rest are 
various types of Unix). So, you've potentially exclude a large chunk of 

Cross platform support is a little more time consuming (as I've learnt 
through programming Macs and PCs in C++), but there are options (apart 
from developing one's own libraries as I have done). wxWindows 
( has a lot of potential, and I've used it for 
a Linux version of TreeView 
(, which can also be 
compiled for Windows and the Mac.

So, if you are really interested in providing a useful tool for the 
community, don't be tied to one platform. If you're aiming to provide a 
tool for one platform because something similar exists on another, then 
supporting only one platform makes sense. For example, I wrote NDE 
( to provide a subset 
of MacClade's editing functions for Windows users. There's not much 
point porting it to the Mac. Your project aims to develop a new tool, so 
you really should think seriously about multiplatform support. If any of 
your programmers tell you this can't be done then get better 



Dr Roderic D. M. Page
Reader in Taxonomy
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QP
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 141 330 4778
Fax:   +44 141 330 2792
email: at

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