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close this book Food Composition Data: A User's Perspective (1987)
close this folder Other considerations
close this folder Systems considerations in the design of INFOODS
View the document (introductory text)
View the document Introduction
View the document Staff turnover and system growth
View the document Documentation
View the document The choice of environmental and basic tools
View the document Choices of operating systems
View the document Choice of programming language
View the document User interface
View the document Data representations
View the document System architecture and linkages
View the document Stability
View the document Primitive tool-based systems
View the document Summary
View the document References

Primitive tool-based systems

Primitive tool-based systems

Many of the problems - with programs if not with data - that have been discussed here can be avoided by designing a system around primitive tools that provide no more facility than what is necessary for a user to put the things together to produce the computations needed. Such a system provides adequate facilities for the right user, tends to be very extensible, and can typically be kept very small in spite of being integrated and powerful. Most important, such systems are conceptually very simple. However, they do tend to be disastrous for unsophisticated users and even sophisticated users spend too much time fussing around with the tools themselves. In a rich environment, that fussing often has more to do with the process of moving objects back and forth - looking for tools to make square pegs fit round holes than with anything substantively interesting. Further, all other things being equal, systems of primitives tend to be slower in operation than higher-level integrated systems, and are sometimes so slow as to result in poor response rather than merely poor resource consumption. None the less, such an architecture may be a reasonable choice for some audiences.