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?