With such a diverse community of users, as is the case at most observatories, a user interface needs to be provided that can be quickly and easily mastered by the occasional users, and yet be able to provide the power and flexibility that the engineering staff demands. At the CFHT, we believe we have met the challenge of providing such an interface.
Visiting astronomers can intuitively navigate with relative ease through the system because the basic tools they need are visually made available to them. Pointing with a mouse and selecting an option is much less demanding, especially at 14,000 feet, than trying to accomplish the same task with a command driven interface.
Yet, by providing a software architecture that also permits the interactive user to access the instrumentation directly, we can provide frequent users with command driven processing, and UNIX shell programming, that exercises the system to its fullest potential.