Strand 3: IT Systems

3.2 Software

Interfaces


Computers are a tool that we humans use. The problem though is how to use this tool as computers are a bunch circuit boards and electrical pulses which are hidden and we can control. The answer to how a user like you or me uses a computer is through interfaces. There are three categories of interfaces, command-line, menu-driven, and graphical. These interfaces are what help us to use a computer.

Command Line Interface (CLI):

'Command Prompt' in Windows
'Command Prompt' in Windows

The command line interface is an interface that need commands typed into control it. This is how all first computers where controlled. With enough time, and knowledge of commands, almost any thing is possible. But that is the problem, the amount of commands too learn are large and are needed to do any thing and it takes a considerably long amounts of time. So the learning curve is very high and basic users won't be using it much. Though the benefit of a CLI is that is you know what to do then it becomes a powerful tool.


Menu Driven Interface (MDI):

A 'Text User Interface'
A 'Text User Interface'

Menu Drive interfaces are the next step up from CML, even though they only really were used after the first GUI was being developed. These MDI are controlled through menus and options. everything that needs to be done it pre-programed and so knowledge of commands like in CML aren't needed. The MDI is totally fixed and cannot be changed and no graphics are incorporated, this is what what separates a MDI from a GUI.

Graphical User Interface (GUI):



Microsoft's GUI 'Windows 7'
Microsoft's GUI 'Windows 7'


The Graphical User interface is what every one uses today and knows. It was really what made the personal computer come to life. A GUI allows a user to interact with the computer visually instead of through text. This that made the usage of computers very simple, so simple infact that even a child of five years old can use a computer that has a GUI on it. Features of a typical GUI is a desktop, user friendly controls and WIMP, Windows, Icons, Menus, and Pointers.