ISE Eiffel v4 and Windows 
Author Message
 ISE Eiffel v4 and Windows

I downloaded the trial version of version 4 (all 30 something megs of it!) and
have played with it for a few days. Whilst I was (and am) very impressed with
Eiffel as a language, the development environment is not quite so impressive.

I currently develop in Smalltalk and C++, so I suppose I'm used to being
pampered. Smalltalk used to be far and away the most advanced IDE around, but
both Borland and MS have caught up a lot of ground with their IDE's over the
past couple of years. It's with this background that I approached Eiffel. Given
the cleanness and power of the language, I was expecting something similar in
the development environment [I know there isn't a necessary correlation between
the two, but I'm just explaining.]

I'm not a particular fan of the Windows environment (much preferring MacOS,
OpenWindows, or even Motif), but when you develop for an environment, you must
stick with the HI guidelines for that platform. ISE has broken some of the basic
behaviours of the Windows platform, when valid alternatives were available. The
use of right-click-move-right-click as the means for dragging is probably the
most obvious example, though there are a few others:
- control-clicking to open a browser on an item
- the IDE's preferences (I'm sure there must be someway to change the font, but
I can't find it!)
- the distinction between "clickable" and "non-clickable" for the text of a
class, particularly the "read-only" status of the clickable format.

ISE may wish to argue that their ways are "better", but I don't think that's
really the point. Part of the payoff from GUI's is that people agree to stick to
accepted means for accomplishing standard tasks, eg.
left-mouse-press-drag-release is a drag operation, and left-mouse-double-click
"opens" the item clicked on. This is "mental" component reuse, something Mr.
Meyer and all Eiffel aficionados would approve of.

I'm sure, that given a suitable period of time, I could learn to use the ISE's
environment and it's idiosyncrasies, but again that's not really the issue. I
learned to use 'vi' eventually, but that doesn't mean that it's interface
couldn't use some improvement :-)

On a marginally related issue, Tog (one of Apple's ex-interface guru's) says to
always hire artists to draw the graphics for programs. Don't let the
programmer's do it! Pictures drawn by programmers always look like squashed
bugs! It's probably good advice: I still can't remember what the little pictures
on the windows mean (thank goodness for tool tips). I'm not an artist looking
for work. I'm a programmer who's drawn enough of his own squashed bugs to
recognize one when he see it :-) If you *have* hired an artist to draw your
icons, I'm really sorry about this: I'm not being offensive, just blunt.

I'm keen to use Eiffel. The support for programming by contract and the
built-in-from-the-ground-up correctness support are great steps towards reliable
software. The language I like, but I'm still struggling to even become friends
with the environment.

Comments anyone?

Regards,
Phillip



Fri, 25 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 ISE Eiffel v4 and Windows

Quote:

> - the IDE's preferences (I'm sure there must be someway to change the font,
> but I can't find it!)

The font can be changed by clicking on the Aleph symbol (the second button  
left to the melt button in the top row).
Though, it doesn't work too well for me - after changing fonts the tab  
spacing got confused, the box doesn't start with the current setting as a  
default (it doesn't even preserve font size or style if changing from one  
symbol set to the next), and after a bit clicking around, I got the box  
totally confused (shows font sizes 12, 6, 12, 8, 12, 18, 16, 8, 12,  
clicking a size changed the font displayed - very strange - might have to  
do with that it's the System font and no font style in list).

Other than that, I agree with you. While I don't particularly like  
Microsoft's stuff, they do send their software through a usability lab and  
make the user interface friendly. ISE would tremendously benefit if the  
decided to do something similar.

Regards,
-Joachim

--
Joachim Durchholz, Hans-Herold-Str. 25, D-91074 Herzogenaurach, GERMANY



Fri, 25 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 ISE Eiffel v4 and Windows

Have you checked out Tower Eiffel?

From past experience (an earlier version than their latest) it was more
Windows complient than ISE, but still lacked the smothness of MS and
Borland environments.



Fri, 25 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 ISE Eiffel v4 and Windows



Quote:

> I downloaded the trial version of version 4 (all 30 something megs of
it!) and
> have played with it for a few days. Whilst I was (and am) very impressed
with
> Eiffel as a language, the development environment is not quite so
impressive.

[many comment deleted]

Quote:

> Comments anyone?

I totaly agree with you concerning the 'look and feel' of ISE V4 IDE.

But, even with its 'user unfriendly' GUI, I really prefer the ISE IDE to
the VC++ IDE (that respect the Windows look and feel).
And this is for just one reason: ISE IDE shows you the classes
(the only software component I am interressed into) information in an
oriented way (client, parent, exported ...) while VC++ IDE shows  you
the text contained in some files that happen to contain the source of
your classes.

I hope ISE will modify its 'wrong' interface that handle its 'good'
information.
BTW, since I am also a VC++ user,
I hope MS will modify its 'wrong' information handled by its 'good'
interface.

Quote:
> Regards,
> Phillip

Happy Eiffeling,
Silvio


Tue, 29 Jun 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 4 post ] 

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