GUI gets a bad rep because a lot of neophytes can get away with half managing systems via graphics. A lot of graphics are completely useless, distracting or worse misleading. On the other hand I have to smile when I hear this phrase “we don’t use GUI”.
It’s like badge of honor. Maybe that’s just the way I hear it. Maybe some of my friends really mean, “graphics are great, but the tools that exist are bad”. Then again, I know how to ruffle the feathers at a conference when I give a talk on graphics. If I’m talking about graphics all I have to say is “I bet there is no one out there in the crowd who would refuse to use a good graphic tool”. Typically half the crowd will shuffle in their seats a bit when I say this. I know what they are thinking … “I ONLY use SQL*Plus”.
It’s clear that graphic data is more powerful than textual data.
That’s not the question. The question, the issue, is access to efficient fast programs that display data graphically in an intelligent manner and that allow easily asking new questions of the data and drilling into the data with new graphical representations. Oracle’s OEM performance page and top activity pages were a step in the right direction, but had limited drilldown (and slow) and no way to rephrase the questions a user might have. A good example of a tool that shows data powerfully and graphically and allows rephrasing of questions and outputs answers in new graphical presentations is Sun’s (now Oracle’s) Fishworks. Additionally there are things that I can’t see in text that I can see in graphics, for example check out these.
There is a time for text and a time for graphics. Graphics lead the way to the text that is worth spending time analyzing.
I just finished reading “Brain Rules” today and like these tidbits on Text verses Graphics:
“pictures demolish ” text and oral presentations
“the inefficiency of text has received particular attention” … “reading creates a bottleneck” … “to our cortex, unnervingly there is no such thing as words”
“tests performed showed that people could remember more than 2500 pictures with at least 90% accuracy several days post-exposure, even though the subjects saw each picture for about 10 seconds. Accuracy rates a year later still hovered around 63 percent. ”
“words are only the postage stamps delivering the object for you to unwrap” – George Bernard Shaw
Or as Einstein said it:
“If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it”
(thanks to Wolfgang Breitling for the reference)