[GRASS-dev] Re: GRASS & programming

Michael Barton michael.barton at asu.edu
Mon Mar 24 19:01:50 EDT 2008

On Mar 24, 2008, at 3:14 PM, grass-dev-request at lists.osgeo.org wrote:

> Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 00:01:37 +0600
> From: Ivan Shmakov <ivan at theory.asu.ru>
> Subject: [GRASS-dev] Re: GRASS & programming
> To: grass-dev at lists.osgeo.org
> Cc: Ivan Shmakov <oneingray at gmail.com>
> Message-ID: <m2tziw80hq.fsf at cherry.siamics.int>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

One could wax philosophical on this topic for a long time. And in  
enjoying the various perspectives on this topic, I digressed from my  
original intended comments.

My perspective is that the goal of the GRASS project is not to teach  
or even try to encourage users to gain programming skills. The goal is  
not to discourage programming either. The goal of this project is to  
provide a set of powerful tools for geospatial analysis and  
presentation, and to make these as accessible as possible to potential  

One way to control this software is through typing commands, which can  
be chained into sequences--using any of a wide array of programming/ 
scripting languages--to automate geospatial analysis and presentation.

Another way to control it is to use a GUI interface.

The fact that a great many more people have learned how to control  
software using a GUI interface in the past couple decades than have  
learned to do it via a programming language, strongly suggests that it  
may be a good way to make geospatial software tools accessible to a  
wide user audience. On the other hand, programming (whether by typing  
commands or by some other syntax) is very useful and can accomplish  
tasks that are simply not practically possible any other way.

So I'm committed to making sure that we have a variety of means  
available for potential users to access and control the software we  
are developing. I don't really care whether a user uses the GUI or  
learns to program in order to chain GRASS commands. I do care that  
both methods are richly available and easy to access for users who  
need them--and hope that we also remain open to other, yet undeveloped  
means of controlling GRASS.


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