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[Off-topic] HP Prime is for students... What about professionals?
10-17-2017, 03:13 PM (This post was last modified: 10-17-2017 03:19 PM by Brad Barton.)
Post: #15
RE: [Off-topic] HP Prime is for students... What about professionals?
Tim, thanks for weighing in here. I think its both important for the project and fortunate for the users that you're (and HP by proxy) willing to listen. This is a touchy subject for a lot of people because obviously many of us are somewhat stuck in the past, having so thoroughly enjoyed what our favorite machines could do for us. Although some of my comments may sound a little snarky, please realize that they're intended to improve the Prime user's experience.
(08-28-2017 10:28 PM)Tim Wessman Wrote:  
(08-28-2017 12:07 PM)Morten Pors Wrote:  HP should just add the directory/file system similar to the 48-49-50 series calculators.

I would beg to differ that the "directory/file system" on the 48s was anything such.

'Directories' in the 48 are binary objects. They were not a generic file system. Nor would doing something like putting an item into the "hidden" directory work out very well if you did it wrong (wipe your memory).

In addition, ports of different rules, libraries with read only data, "directories" not working from the SD card, and similar behaviors existed. There wasn't a "generic" directory/file system on those units. It just pretended to be one from a casual look. In reality, it was a very limited system with many strange behaviors.

Technically true, however a "directory/file system" is the primary tool we used to organize and manipulate programs in the 48/49/50. This system, AND THE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO MANIPULATE IT were very useful, giving users many powerful options for programming and storage. Yes, it had many quirks, some of which were due to hardware limitations, but hopefully the more streamlined hardware available today will enable HP to avoid these quirks with the Prime.

Quote:One decision they made was the "look upwards through the directories to find something". Could you image that on a computer or phone and the havoc it would cause?
Yes, but this isn't a phone or computer. It's a calculator.

If you'd like a little more constrained system, perhaps a program command allowing us to link the program to folder(s) (or librari(es)) containing variables or functions needed in the program would suffice.

Quote:I think the more important question is "what is the real thing you want directories for?" and figure out how to make that work in a device that DOES utilize a real filesystem and generic directories like Prime.

I'd personally like to be able to generate programs and sub programs that I can arrange, call and edit in a logical manner without the computer. I don't do a LOT of programming, but already searching through a long list of programs almost requires that I'm hooked up to a computer to get a reasonable look at the list.

Moving up and down through a directory tree was much easier. However that functionality sort of went hand-in-hand with the soft keys in the older models. Having one without without the other is only half an implementation.

Quote:You can directly modify and work with a folder on the computer and drop it into the Prime copying generic data of any kind (pngs, txt, etc) and have access to them. That is something that was never possible on the 48.

I agree that the Prime has MANY advantages over the 48 (including its symbiosis with the computer version). Prime is a completely different class of machine. It doesn't necessarily follow though that we should discard the parts of the 48's functionality that made it both powerful and useful.

Quote:What we have limited is the ability to get in an browse/modify the main directory directly on the device because we do not have answers to the following questions yet.

Lets say you have access to generic data/directories in any location in the Prime. You make something called "myvar" and store it. Is that a variable? Is it a file? How should it be treated when the user types in "myvar"? Should it be cached to allow quick access? Should it be read from disk each time? What if the user modifies the binary data, or changes it to be something else?

It's going to take someone smarter than me to tell you how to deal with objects the way the 48 did. I can envision an "attribute" type of system where you tell the calculator what type of object you intend to create, but that seems horribly cumbersome and rife with programmatic errors and "gotcha"s. And I realize that this is a KEY problem that prevents you from providing all the things I've talked about above until it is solved. I'm just trying to help you see why I want these things; it's not just "because I'm used to the 48, and that's what I want" (see my comments on RPN below). These tools really are useful and would enhance the power and flexibility of the Prime.

Quote:Most of the discussion I've had with users regarding "i want directories and files" generally returns to one of these OTHER things that really aren't related to that, but a general complaint:

1. I want to be able to type in generic things and have them recognized as variables. (I agree the system is problematic in this way for this specific type of use case and needs improvement. Switching everything so all program and syntax errors are caught after executiong ala 48 though isn't an improvement. There are plenty of steps that can be taken first that will greatly improve things and you may end up liking better)

I'd like to hear more about those steps and what you have in mind, but I realize that may not be possible until release.

Quote:2. They want to have a menu system with variables accessed on the lower part of the screen. (nothing to do with directory/files, more a ui thing)

As I say above, the directory/file system goes hand in hand with soft keys at the bottom of the screen. It would be far more cumbersome to rely on a menu driven or command driven system to navigate any tree style file system. Soft keys (AND THE TOOLS REQUIRED TO MANIPULATE THEM) are really second-to-none when it comes to navigation, unless you have a QWERTY keyboard and/or a mouse. Since you've got a touch screen, possibly a touch screen tree could be useful instead, but without some of the programmatic navigation/customization tools available in the 48/49/50 OS, it may not be quite as flexible.

In the 48, navigating the tree became a part of the memory that could be controlled programmatically. As such, it allowed the 48's OS to develop into a more complete system of tools available to the user. Having had access to these tools, it's little wonder users want the same or similar tools on the Prime.

Quote:3. They want RPN equal to the 48. (Hey, i get this. Wish I could do it. The CAS probably couldn't possibly support RPN which would leave a huge gap in the implementation)

I think nearly everyone understands that RPN isn't likely to be made available on the Prime. It's a shame, but that's the reality we've had to accept in order to move forward. The good news is that HP has provided enough interesting tools and features in the Prime, that it makes it almost worth the sacrifice for many users. Plus I'm hoping to convert some of those RPN-phobes out there from TI to HP.

Quote:So I really am very interested in the discussion here to discover what the real, root desire is and how it can possibly be implemented. Unfortunately, there really isn't a simple solution that sweeps all the problems away that I've been able to see yet.

We're thankful for your interest, Tim. You're going to get a lot of us complaining about the changes in the Prime. Some of it will no doubt be hurt feelings over a favorite OS passing into obsolescence. But some of it will also be the desire to have access to the tools that we found useful in those machines.
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RE: [Off-topic] HP Prime is for students... What about professionals? - Brad Barton - 10-17-2017 03:13 PM

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