Help: GUIs for remote databases

Ken Fasman ken at welchgate.welch.jhu.edu
Tue Jun 9 23:01:08 EST 1992

In article <1992Jun9.225817.18417 at chpc.utexas.edu> noel at chpc.utexas.edu ((user name unknown)) writes:
>I have been trying to use the GDB/OMIM databases at the Welch Medical
>Library at John Hopkins U.  The databases have a curses-like interface
>right now which, IMHO, is not very easy to use.  Is there an X interface
>to this database?  I am looking for some sort of interface that makes
>reasonable use of the mouse attached to my workstation.  Right
>now there seems to no convenient way to do things like saving the results of
>a search to a file.  If I am wrong about any of this, please direct
>me to some information.  I would prefer some real documentation
>instead of how-to mail messages.
>Alternatively, is there some sort of low-level interface to this
>database over which one could build an X interface? 
>Does anyone know of any other remote genetic databases that have a 
>a graphical user interface?
>Noel Menezes                            Internet: noel at hermes.chpc.utexas.edu
>Research Assistant                      BITNET:   noel at uthermes
>Center for High Performance Computing   Phone:    (512) 471-2447
>Balcones Resarch Center & UT-Austin     Fax:      (512) 471-2445


We are aware of the severe limitations of GDB's current character-based
interface.  It is largely due to our need to reach our many users,
spread throughout the world, most of whom only have terminals or terminal
emulator access to the Genome Data Base via phone lines (SprintNet, dial up to 
GDB remote nodes, etc.).  The majority of our users do not have access to the 
hardware required to run X Windows, nor the Internet connection necessary to
make it all happen.

Having said that, I can also tell you that we are looking to address this
need.  GDB is exploring the development of supplemental GUI-based tools, both
in-house and through external collaborations.  Initially, these applications
will be in addition to GDB's character based front end, but as the community
moves to more powerful platforms, more and more functionality will be
addressed with GUI tools.  The earliest prototype graphical applications for
GDB will probably not be available until the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year.

In the mean time, don't give up hope.  Genome Data Base Version 5.0 will be 
available at the beginning of the 3rd quarter.  Since its associated front end 
was developed with Sybase's APT 5.0, it will provide X Windows support to
those of you with X and an Internet connection.  The interface is still
character based, but you will be able to use your mice to navigate around
the screens, select text, and choose menu items.

Also, GDB 5 is based upon our new Database Access Toolkit (DAT).  This
application programming interface (API) provides all the necessary tools
for third party programmers who wish to develop their own GDB front end
applications.  When GDB V5 is released, programmer's documentation for the
DAT will also be available.

For further details on this, OR ANY OTHER topic related to GDB, please
contact GDB User Support at "help at welch.jhu.edu", or at 410-955-7058 (phone), 
or 410-614-0434 (fax).

It is precisely to be able to answer questions such as this that we are working
with Dave Kristofferson to establish bionet.molbio.gdb, a GDB newsgroup.  GDB 
User Support staff will be participating in this new group from time to time.  
Keep an eye on bionet.announce for word of its implementation, due shortly.

I hope this helps.  Thanks for using the database.  Please contact User
Support if we can be of any further assistance, or if you have other problems
or enhancement requests.

Ken Fasman
Co-PI of Informatics Core
Genome Data Base
Welch Medical Library
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
1830 E. Monument St.  3rd Floor
Baltimore MD  21205

ken at welchgate.welch.jhu.edu

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