Hi AFNI folks,
I’ve been learning AFNI over the last few months and wanted to share my experience as a new user. I love the flexibility of AFNI (and the price!) but as an end user, I think the GUI is massively overdue for a major overhaul. I understand that there is a lot of legacy involved in the package, but the GUI is cluttered almost to the point of unuseability. It is certainly a major barrier to learning the software and seems unnecessary in 2017. If the barrier is budget, I personally would be willing to pay a reasonable amount for a user-friendly interface, and I suspect many others would as well. No response necessary, I just wanted to share my experience in case it informs future decision-making in this arena.
Thanks for your kind words about AFNI. I designed the AFNI package (if you can call my semi-random process “design”) to be flexible and allow for lots of different usages. For a user who wants/needs this diversity, and is willing to learn what it takes to use it – a coding point of view, sort of – AFNI is pretty useful.
Re-doing the GUI is a lot more work than you might think. I developed it, starting in 1994, with no clear vision in mind. Over the years, a lot of features have been glommed into it. To do it over would require a top-down series of decisions about what features are useful – all the features were added for some reason, so ejecting one means that someone somewhere loses something. Then it would require designing the look/feel of the new interface, and then programming it afresh. It took me 2+ months to get the first version of the GUI to do something useful, and I am (or was then) an extremely fast and capable programmer. I figure that if I could find someone good to work on it, then at least a year would go by before it was reasonably capable (by my standards). I personally cannot stomach doing that kind of work anymore.
Also, please note that there are handouts and help available for helping with the learning curve. The Bootcamp handouts are here:
With several related to basic AFNI GUI and functionality learning here:
There are also Bootcamps that we do for getting accustomed to AFNI in person. We have even started trying to record them for general purpose learning (but a laptop crash took the first set down, so hopefully after the next one, they will be publicly available; watch this space).
And, as you have seen from this thread, there is also the Message Board to ask questions, which garners responses fairly quickly.