Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » G »

GUI - graphical user interface

Abbreviated GUI (pronounced GOO-ee). A program interface that takes advantage of the computer's graphics capabilities to make the program easier to use. Well-designed graphical user interfaces can free the user from learning complex command languages. On the other hand, many users find that they work more effectively with a command-driven interface, especially if they already know the command language.

Basic Components of a GUI

Graphical user interfaces, such as Microsoft Windows and the one used by the Apple Macintosh, feature the following basic components:

  • pointer : A symbol that appears on the display screen and that you move to select objects and commands. Usually, the pointer appears as a small angled arrow. Text -processing applications, however, use an I-beam pointer that is shaped like a capital I.
  • pointing device : A device, such as a mouse or trackball, that enables you to select objects on the display screen.
  • icons : Small pictures that represent commands, files, or windows. By moving the pointer to the icon and pressing a mouse button, you can execute a command or convert the icon into a window. You can also move the icons around the display screen as if they were real objects on your desk.
  • desktop : The area on the display screen where icons are grouped is often referred to as the desktop because the icons are intended to represent real objects on a real desktop.
  • windows: You can divide the screen into different areas. In each window, you can run a different program or display a different file. You can move windows around the display screen, and change their shape and size at will.
  • menus : Most graphical user interfaces let you execute commands by selecting a choice from a menu.
  • In addition to their visual components, graphical user interfaces also make it easier to move data from one application to another. A true GUI includes standard formats for representing text and graphics. Because the formats are well-defined, different programs that run under a common GUI can share data. This makes it possible, for example, to copy a graph created by a spreadsheet program into a document created by a word processor.

    Many DOS programs include some features of GUIs, such as menus, but are not graphics based. Such interfaces are sometimes called graphical character-based user interfaces to distinguish them from true GUIs.

    The First Graphical User Interface

    The first graphical user interface was designed by Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s, but it was not until the 1980s and the emergence of the Apple Macintosh that graphical user interfaces became popular. One reason for their slow acceptance was the fact that they require considerable CPU power and a high-quality monitor, which until recently were prohibitively expensive.






    ';
    TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
    DID YOU KNOW?
    Hype Versus Action in the Developer's World

    Often times technologies start as hype but with time become adopted. As a developer or technologist, it is worth reading the hype and knowing the... Read More »

    Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization Q&A

    The top 5 Hyper-V questions with answers provided by Nirmal Sharma, a MCSEx3, MCITP and Microsoft MVP in Directory Services. Read More »

    Storage Trends: Solid State and Software Defined

    Solid state drives and software defined storage are two leading trends in the rapidly growing storage market.  Read More »

    QUICK REFERENCE
    How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website

    Creating desktop shortcuts to a websites is useful. When you double-click the icon from your desktop it automatically launches the browser and... Read More »

    Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends

    Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »

    15 Important Big Data Facts for IT Professionals

    Keeping track of big data trends, research and statistics gives IT professionals  a solid foundation to plan big data projects. Here are 15... Read More »