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Python Cookbook, 2nd Edition by David Ascher, Anna Ravenscroft, Alex Martelli

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Chapter 11. User Interfaces

Introduction

Credit: Fredrik Lundh, SecretLabs AB, author of Python Standard Library

Back in the early days of interactive computing, most computers offered terminals that looked and behaved pretty much like clunky typewriters. The main difference from an ordinary typewriter was that the computer was in the loop. It could read what the user typed and print hard-copy output on a roll of paper.

So when you found yourself in front of a 1960s Teletype ASR-33, the only reasonable way to communicate with the computer was to type a line of text, press the send key, hope that the computer would manage to figure out what you meant, and wait for the response to appear on the paper roll. This line-oriented way of communicating with your computer is known as a command-line interface (CLI).

Some 40 years later, the paper roll has been replaced with high-resolution video displays, which can display text in multiple typefaces, color photographs, and even animated 3D graphics. The keyboard is still around, but we also have pointing devices such as the mouse, trackballs, game controls, touchpads, and other input devices.

The combination of a graphics display and the mouse made it possible to create a new kind of user interface: the graphical user interface (GUI). When done right, a GUI can give the user a better overview of what a program can do (and what it is doing), and make it easier to carry out many kinds of tasks.

However, most programming languages, including Python, ...

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