Why TUI applications ?

5 minute read Published: 2020-11-22

Twenty years ago, most of us thought TUI applications were going to disappear. TUI were just a vestige of low capabilities computers. There was no reason for TUI not to die with the rise of the personal computer.

This didn't happen. We still love to use TUI applications.

Why can be kind of mysterious.

The question I'm interested in is Why are TUI applications (still) attractive to users?.

I've sill not made my mind clear on this. So this blog post is still a draft and you'd be welcome on my chat to explain me how I'm stupid, or blind, or give me your personal insights.

First, let's assert some facts, so that they don't come in the way:

I'm not trying to determine which is better, but to understand why TUI applications didn't disappear, and don't seem to be declining in use.

The question arised when I wondered why I like and want and make TUI applications.

So I'll try to gather and understand the reasons here.

And I may also keep this blog post as a place to send people to when they ask me why I still make terminal applications while there's been GUI for decades.

Let's put away some very unsuffisant reasons:

TUI applications, as their name implies, are extensions of the terminal usage, and they make sense because we're often in the terminal.

So the first step in the explanation is why we're in the terminal to start with.

Here, in my mind, are the best advantages of the terminal:

Most importantly IMO, console applications don't break your flow.

There are several ways a GUI makes you adapt to a whole environment, make you lose time and focus for a big context switch.

Meanwhile an application in your console

Those advantages are very important for very short tasks and when you already "live" in your terminal.

Most of those arguments apply to TUI applications. And I'll argue that the appeal of a terminal application is decreased when you part from those arguments, which leads me to a practical list of possible errors a TUI application can die of:

The TUI application must not break your flow.

There's no conclusion here... yet