The Defense of Graphical User Interfaces in 2020

This may be a moot point to many, but to some like to carry their command line interface skillset card and shove it down your throats. Those people are probably as creepy as Mark Zuckerberg. I also think a Graphical User Interface, or GUI, as an acronym has to be effective too.

GUIs – it’s not just a rodent, or a trackpad, or a a TrackPoint

The philosophy or principals of a GUI is WIMP, short for Windows Icons, Menus and Pointers. Between that metaphor and the operating system, it’s graphical environment, and the user working all together helps the user navigate under a graphical environment. GUIs help break out data that would be hard to read or understand in CLIs. CLIs are all monospaced text (which means the same font size, and type, and color.) There is no seperation  of what is read only data, writeable data; how big the data is to scroll (like large scroll bar indicates a few pages, where sliver may be hundreds if not thousands); etc.

A lot of people mistake the Operating System as the actual environment the user experiences. In reality here’s a guideline below from left to right, the machine level to the user level. (I don’t have access to PowerPoint or Visio, so I am countering myself

Branded Operating System | Kernel | Graphical Environment

Windows > NT Kernel > Explorer (that also includes the Start Menu and actual Desktop screen)

macOS/Mac OS X > Mach > Finder

Linux > Linux 2.xx > KDE, GNOME, Xwindow

DOS > MSDOS and PC DOS 1 through 7 > Microsoft Windows 1 – 3.11, Windows 95 – Windows me*

*Prior to Windows NT; Microsoft’s Windows was actually a glorified program (officially called a “Graphical Environment”) that had to be run by DOS, and in reality DOS was the boss – no pun intended; and Windows was solely a user facing environment. Starting with Windows NT; and later Windows XP for consumers; Windows did run under the hood, with a more restricted derivative of DOS; and while Windows was the boss per se, the user can’t really tell the difference since it’s identical to the “Windows 9x” series of “Graphical Environments”

GUI is opposite to minimalism of which CLI is. Clean, and boring stuff is for the bland people who haven’t banged a chick in the last ten years if not longer. I’m going to just be blunt: If you hate women, you also hate GUIs. Why? Because you macho-men say that “real men don’t use GUIs”. Well in that same logic, you don’t care about boundaries (which would explain who so many have rapist mentalities); you could care less about context (of which GUIs can visually provide) and you don’t like to be reasonably expressive, and you hate people, of which most non technical people need a GUI to survive.

Does the Technical People get an advantage to GUIs?

Hell yes. For enterprise hardware think like Cisco routers and switches; some of the Cisco applications. GUIs can easily export data to the desktop and run on standard applications, for inventory and asset management to adds, moves and changes in telephony. Many people learn visually, and they also think; many technical people neglect this fact. Visualization also confirms critical decisions that can easily be done by mistake, especially if you had a long day or night entering in one command at a time in a terminal or remote session.

Before you start to carry your card of certifications: just remember: how much did you pay to get indoctrinated and secondly how long did it take you to understand the command line language if you had no prior experience, and third what has those certifications brought you? What project did you impress at your last employer?

I thought so.

Is Facebook like a CLI?

In the mantra of “move fast and break things” in early 2020, Facebook forced some groups of users of a really difficult to understand interface. While it’s minimal looks is en-vogue; Facebook’s simplicity is actually a farce. If a casual techie was to look at the code, there is a lot of crap running behind the site at the user level on their browser or app. When you go from one friend’s profile to a brand’s page; the code is like paste, it gets sticky, and it hardens up. Your notebooks CPU starts to drive up, or your phone gets hot. Because Facebook is constantly surveilling your lifestyle (even if you don’t use the service at all or barely); and Facebook could care less. This counter’s the whole minimal and clean code and interface. A lot of this is bad coding; but on the other hand Americans could care less about quality. In Information Technology, good-enough (read: half-assed) has been acceptable; where in other generations of technology this would be shunned upon (like the late Steve Jobs.)

In short, GUIs when designed properly, with a sensitivity of the developer and the patience of a trainer; but that has gone on the wayside too. Apple’s once exclusive technical manuals actually spent a good chunk how how to design a uniformed application environment that was singular, direct, and rememberable; that didn’t have fifty-different-ways-to-do-one-task.

That’s a whole different discussion for another day.



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