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Re: RSI's Priorities (was: GUI Builder...)

David Fanning wrote:

> Brian Jackel (jackel@danlon.physics.uwo.ca) writes:
> [...]
> >
> > New bells and whistles at $1500 a pop or
> > Freeze development and deliver an ``IDL Classic'' at
> > $500 per head.
> Objects have absolutely revolutionized the way I write
> programs. I think they will have as big an effect on me
> as widgets did when they were first introduced. I don't
> think I've written a program for pay in the last six
> months that didn't have at least one object in it. And
> I especially like them with direct graphics. They are
> fast, they print nicely, and they are unbelievably
> powerful.
> Could I do the same thing without objects? Probably, if
> I were clever enough. But objects just make it so darn
> easy. :-)
> I cast my vote more more bells and whistles like this
> one!
> Cheers,
> David
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> David Fanning, Ph.D.
> Fanning Software Consulting
> E-Mail: davidf@dfanning.com
> Phone: 970-221-0438, Toll-Free Book Orders: 1-888-461-0155
> Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/

I claim that this newsgroup is biased !! Sure enough, personally
I rather take it as my own fault that I have *not* been using objects in
IDL yet -- there are just always so many things that have to be finished
on time that I never get around learning about them (in fact, I haven't
even fully digested all the information that David gives on widget
programming in his book yet ... sigh ... if I only had time to improve
my EXPLORE program ... end sigh). But: e.g. in our research group there
about 10 people using IDL, and 1.5 of them participate in or even read
this newsgroup. Most others (and I would say that's probably typical for
scientists) have some basic knowledge in programming (sure, FORTRAN
(=f77) mostly), but not much beyond that. They are quite happy if they
can use e.g. a readdata.pro to retrieve some ASCII data from a file, and
they rejoice when they learn about the where function. Most programs
written in our groups start out as 5-20 lines of code, hand-tailored for
one specific plot. And most programs stay that way, too. I am already
happy if my colleagues make use of some of the library routines that
I have written or gathered from various sources, but if I were ever to
tell them: "Here's this perfectly  handy and powerful routine, and it's
even object-oriented!" they would just thank me very politely but never
speak to me again ;-) There once was a german chancellor who said
"Entscheidend ist, was hinten rauskommt" (free translation: "it's the
plot, stupid! [not the program]"), and he sure was right on this one.

But if David ever writes another book on object oriented IDL programming
techniques, I may well become one of his customers!

Best regards,

Dr. Martin Schultz
Department for Engineering&Applied Sciences, Harvard University
109 Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA-02138, USA

phone: (617)-496-8318
fax  : (617)-495-4551

e-mail: mgs@io.harvard.edu
Internet-homepage: http://www-as.harvard.edu/people/staff/mgs/