[AstroPy] AstroPy Digest, Vol 81, Issue 12

Erik Bray embray@stsci....
Wed Jun 26 10:32:23 CDT 2013

On 06/21/2013 07:58 AM, Perry Greenfield wrote:
> On Jun 20, 2013, at 5:59 PM, Thøger Emil Rivera-Thorsen wrote:
>> On 20-06-2013 21:20, Adrian Price-Whelan wrote:
>>> I'm totally lost on what thread I'm responding to, but +100 to what
>>> Perry said about GUIs! IMHO there is plenty to keep us busy working on
>>> the modeling and backend, and we should focus our efforts on making
>>> that code super slick and useable *first*, then worry about a GUI
>>> (which, also IMO, are overrated! why do you want to click on your
>>> absorption lines anyways??).
>> Most of our work doesn't require a GUI, but a few tasks can be helped
>> immensely by a good one.
>> One of these, but not the only one, is the case of having to give a good
>> initial guess to a fitting package, if you have many lines and many
>> components and many tied, frozen or thawed parameters.
>> Something that is vitally important for writing a good GUI, IMO, is
>> reproducibility, which means that pretty much all settings that one
>> creates should be possible to write into a script or into the model or
>> something, so one doesn't have to rely on one's shaky and
>> coffee-trembling hands to find the same settings multiple times.
> Yes, I've long felt that was a critical element to a good GUI. They are great to play with the data, and how to view the data. But at some point, one wants to be able to repeat that easily, either to do batch processing, replicate the results (perhaps to tweak a bit more), or be consistent in the processing of other similar data. It would be even better if the GUI could save a script that effectively recreates what was done without requiring any interaction (rather than a lot of hidden machinery to recreate the state).

Yes, yes, yes.  I've spent hours trying to help people debug problems that 
involved, at some point or another, interacting with a GUI.  And I've seen 
people swear up and down that they were doing the exact same thing they did 
before and are now getting different results.  Only to realize, eventually, that 
they were actually doing something subtly different than their original process.

Any GUI that involves processes like selecting absorption lines or setting 
initial guesses for fits should be able to record the process as a script 
(either in a simple DSL or even as executable code) that can reproduce the exact 
steps taken without invoking the GUI at all.


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