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Review of Visualisation Systems

9.2 Application Visualization System (AVS)

9.2.1 - SWOT analysis
9.2.2 - Comments
9.2.3 - Summary

9.2.1 SWOT analysis


Range of versions: Strength

AVS appears on a wide range of UNIX workstations (but needs colour), and on Dec VMS, Cray, and Convex. It has also been ported to the KSR by University of Manchester. A version for powerful PCs (Windows NT and Windows 95) will appear with AVS6 next year.

Company stability: Strength

Costs: Strength

Data input tools: Strength

Data readers: Strength

Video capability: Strength

Hardcopy: Strength

Documentation: Strength

Support: Strength

Usability: Weakness

Functionality: Strength

Distributed support: Strength

Customisability: Strength

Command language: Strength

9.2.3 Summary

The AVS product is a system which allows users to visualise their data by constructing applications from a series of software components called modules. Each module performs a specific task and some of these include:

Some of the features of the software allow the system to be extended by users integrating application and visualization code into AVS by writing new modules. The system also allows the user to change and edit the user interface and layout to customise the application. This makes it a very powerful tool for prototyping.

The maturity of the AVS product is one of its strengths. The first version of AVS (AVS1) was released in April 1989 and it is now currently in its fifth version (AVS5). The new development environment AVS/Express was released during 1994 and the summer of 1995 will see AVS6 which will be based upon the new architecture of AVS/Express bringing many new improvements.

There is also a very good infrastructure in place for the AVS system in the public domain with the International AVS Center's activities in the US collecting and porting user contributed modules.

One of the disadvantages, as with most of the application builders, is the complexity of the system for the first time user. This leads to an initial steep learning curve which can be an obstacle for novices. Improvements in on-line help and tutorial facilities would alleviate this and the releases of AVS6 may address these.

Review of Visualisation Systems
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