Command Driven vs. Menu Driven

Today in the QAF (Quantitative Applications in Finance) class, the professor insisted on our using SAS as the statistical tool, and not SPSS. For the uninitiated, SPSS is a menu driven, fairly powerful SPSS tool and because it is menu driven, it is simple to use. SAS on the other hand needs to be programmed, but is much, much more powerful than SPSS, in terms of things it can do as well as in terms of amount of data in can handle (I claim no expertise on using either of these Software. What I am writing here is what the professor said in the class and from earlier experience of other applications, I do believe that he is right!🙂 )

So, one major trade-off that computer science is yet to defeat is the trade-off between the power of command driven interfaces (I am using this term generically for interfaces, where you have to type things out instead of simply choosing from a set of pre-defined menus) and ease of use (or ease of learning) of the menu driven interfaces.

It keeps coming up almost everwhere, from programming language and Operation Systems to applications. Does future promise something better? Will it be possible to have an interface that combines the power as well as the ease?

3 thoughts on “Command Driven vs. Menu Driven

  1. “So, one major trade-off that computer science is yet to defeat is the trade-off between the power of command driven interfaces and ease of use of the menu driven interfaces”……

    Well…the very nature of a trade-off is such that it cannot be defeated. You have to compromise….

    If you wish to know the precise momentum of an electron, you will know little about its position….If you desire high acceleration when starting a motorcycle, you will have to sacrifice on top speed….If you desire ease of use (read menu-driven applications), you will have to sacrifice power…..

    You may, of course, increase the computing power (the resources), and hence derive greater power as well as ease of use – but then you have not defeated the trade-off…just increased the resources…

    A simple saying sums this up – ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too’🙂

  2. It all boils down to processor speed. It should be possible someday that we won’t be able to notice the difference. The trade-off however is inevitable as wolverine says.

  3. I was talking of defeating the ‘trade-off’ and not eliminating it. And yes, of course, the ‘increasing resources’ would be the weapon. Hope we are able to increase the resources to that extent soon enough.

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