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Re: cross tables in reports?

From: Todd Boyle
Subject: Re: cross tables in reports?
Date: Sun, 03 Nov 2002 14:19:15 -0800

At 02:52 PM 11/2/2002, Derek Neighbors wrote:
Stanley A. Klein said
> BTW, there appears to be work ongoing on GUI interfaces for R, but it
> doesn't seem to be very far along.  It might be nice to let the R folks
> know that GNUe might be a good candidate for that.

I still think A+ is the best for this.  A+ team could create an generic
OLAP framework, much like Hyperion, Adaytum and the likes.  Then it
would just be another tool in the tool box.

[other worthy comments clipped-thanks for this good discussion.]

Keep in mind the learning curves of users.  The greatest value
is supporting the user who is deeply immersed in their industry.
By far the greatest effort or expenditure in OLAP, data mining,
etc. will be in pursuit of a user interface that gets past 1% adoption
in the enterprise.

We're probably not talking about individuals or even 10-person
companies - so, we're targeting companies that would be making
a large, longterm training and infra. commitment to "GNUE OLAP"

Do you remember 1985-90 or maybe 92 when everybody was
trying to achieve an "integrated" accounting package on the PC?
instead of "modules" with various ugly batch posting processes?
Lots of different user-interface metaphors were tried, 90-95
for horizontal accounting software and Quickbooks won; it's not
all that different from #2 Peachtree other than, they kept working
on the platform where Peachtree quit investing in theirs.  Well,
under the surface it is still transaction modularism to this day

The reason I mention this is that so many new accounting
packages emulate the Quickbooks UI -and even concepts
like the "opening balance" plug, the inability to post both an
AR and AP at the same time, the term "Splits", the term "Names"
etc. etc.

Developers and execs. inside some of those imitators hvae
told me the economics of retraining bookkeepers is so huge that
in the eyes of Enterprise the economics favor to conserve the
investment in bookkeepers' training.. It is QWERTY keyboard.
Sheer inertia.   Who cares about IP laws when you have that
kind of inertia!   (While GNU developers code, M$ is winning
that battle, bigtime. It is a user interface cult! )

I am not taking a position either way but GNUE developers
should be aware of the possibly fatal risk of introducing a
really new UI thing, and value of imitating user interfaces and
metaphors that are already understood by some particular
target audience.  Whatever you might do under the
surface, clone the microsoft pivot table UI first then clone
other leading olap interface metaphors.  (The pivot table idea,
dragging icons to header and row to configure a cross tabulation,
was commonplace, before Excel did it.  Pilot Lightship had it, etc.)

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