Topic: multi-processing for a user interface

topics > computer science > user interface > Group: types of user interfaces

graphical user interface
parallel processing

interactive response time
man-machine symbiosis
modes in a user interface
multi-user systems
multiple activities in a user interface
windows for a UserInterface


Users want a dedicated terminal but they initiate time consuming commands and they readily switch between multiple contexts. A window system works well. Each process or group of processes may be associated with a window. For long commands, the system may create a new user process and display system progress in a window or allow user interrogation of process state.

With multiple processes, the user always has a "live" keyboard for editing and computation. Background processes can execute between user keystrokes, during hardware I/O, on regular time slices. Consistent system response times may be more important than fastest time or highest system throughput. A regular response frees users from continuously attending the console. (cbb 5/80 4/98)

Subtopic: windows as multi-task up

Quote: a window system provides a multiplexed interface to an operating system [»pikeR3_1988]
Quote: the 8 1/2 windowing system treats all resources as multiplexed files; e.g., /dev/bitblt; X window functionality in 10,000 lines of code [»pikeR6_1991]
Quote: in Waterloo Port, a window corresponds to an activity; move the cursor to change activities [»malcM12_1983]
Quote: the state of Smalltalk tasks is preserved in instantly accessible windows on a desk top [»teslL8_1981]
Quote: every Acme command is interpreted in the directory named by the corresponding window tag [»pikeR1_1994]

Subtopic: windows vs. processes up

Quote: a window system should be fully independent of the programs it controls [»pikeR3_1988]
Quote: user views environment through windows for each task or aspect; may overlap [»teitW3_1977]

Subtopic: switch between processes up

Quote: each child fork in the Z editor is associated with a control character; simplifies context switching [»woodSR6_1981]

Subtopic: only one foreground task up

Quote: only one ZOG process interacts with users; simpler than one process per window [»mccrDL10_1984]
Quote: instead of one person, one computer, follow one task, one computer; avoids crashes [»dvorJC9_1989]

Subtopic: batch vs. foreground up

Quote: compute in the background when possible; rapid response to requests, and load balancing [»lampBW10_1983]
Quote: use batch processing if possible; more efficient and simpler error recovery [»lampBW10_1983]
Quote: with an interactive terminal, control a batch job; determine its progress, alter its execution limits, purge it [»muchSS_1976]
QuoteRef: cbb_1973 ;;7/29/79 dual grounds, background if waiting for user input, computation ground executed during hardware output, commands via editor

Related Topics up

Group: graphical user interface   (24 topics, 512 quotes)
Group: parallel processing   (41 topics, 1125 quotes)

Topic: interactive response time (32 items)
Topic: man-machine symbiosis (46 items)
Topic: modes in a user interface (40 items)
Topic: multi-user systems (4 items)
Topic: multiple activities in a user interface (17 items)
Topic: windows for a UserInterface
(21 items)

Updated barberCB 9/04
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Thesa is a trademark of C. Bradford Barber.