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Revision as of 20:46, 13 February 2008 by HamishBowman (talk | contribs) (UIs, spelling)

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Introduction and Rationale

As GRASS is growing in size and functionality and targeting new user groups through being ported to MS Windows, getting a greater attention as a OSGeo project and the new GUI in development it is time to consider the usability of the program.

This augmented visibility will bring many new users to GRASS who may have known GRASS for long but never dared to use it for one or the other reasons. Other may be totally new to GIS and geospatial analysis or drawn to GRASS by its great capabilities. GRASS should have the best possible user interface to provide a appealing working environment to the new and experienced users to enable them to do their work effectively and without reading tons of documentation and mailing list archives.

The great Chance

OpenUsability the initiative that promotes usability in free and open source software (F/OSS) development has a call open until February 20th for interested projects to benefit from the work of willing students to review and improve overall usability or the usability of special parts of a program just as Google Summer of Code does it with new program feature. GRASS should strongly consider applying and take this nice opportunity for the reasons mentioned above

User interfaces

There are a number of user interfaces available for GRASS 6:

  • Tcl/Tk GUI (current gis.m GUI, limited new development)
  • Old Tcl/Tk GUI (d.m, functional but unmaintained)
  • wxPython (wxgui, functional but still under heavy development)
Usability improvement efforts should be concentrated on the wxGUI.
  • Text based command line interface (CLI)
The CLI is in pretty good shape WRT modules, due to the near universal use of G_parser(). Option and flags could perhaps be more consistent between modules (e.g. sep= -> fs=) but these are frozen between minor versions.
  • The C API - it can be a bit inconsistent, but it's not exposed to users.
  • SWIG interface (Python, Perl, ..) to the GRASS libraries

Modules could make better use of guisections.

The current usability show-stoppers

Please list here the issue where you think that usability needs to be improved. Please mention the version of GRASS used.

Links to other initiatives