MultiValue Myth #2: MV Looks Old
Have you heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? It is my immediate rejoinder to those who complain that “MV looks old”. The complainers mean, of course, the numerous ‘green screen’ character user interface (CUI) applications still out there with an MV back-end. So don’t be put off the modern power of MV because a particular application’s interface is antiquated; the cover is not the book.
But, of course, people are influenced by the cover. It really doesn’t matter how many times die-hards say that the most efficient systems are character-based, working on Wyse 50 terminals and that they know plenty of users who never want to move to anything else – you will never sell that application to a new customer.
So while the data modelling and business logic stays the same, the presentation needs to change. Rocket provides different ways for this to be accomplished and there is a forthcoming marketing campaign on modernization so look out for that. And pause for a moment, because this is an opportunity to make a virtue out of necessity and consider what you want to do in renewing your front end. If you are going from a character based interface – or even a character version that was transformed into GUI a few years ago – you should really think about what you want to achieve.
It is as much about cognition as it is aesthetics, how you present information can help determine how it is used. The pioneer of data visualization, Edward Tufte, says “At their best, graphics are instruments for reasoning about quantitative information. Often the most effective way to describe, explore, and summarize a set of numbers – even a very large set – is to look at pictures of those numbers.”*
Rocket MV Technology now provides ways of embedding controls or leveraging open source libraries that mean your application’s front-end can be as good as any in the market. With them you can have both an excellent book and an attractive cover.
* (The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2001).