In the early 1990s, Metview's user interface was developed using the Motif toolkit. It allowed the development of a user interface that worked across different UNIX systems and gave users easy access to Metview's powerful tools for data access, visualisation and manipulation. But with Motif becoming less well supported, a new user interface based on the Qt framework was developed, the first versions becoming available for testing in 2014. By the start of 2015 this had matured enough to become the default user interface for version 4.5.0 of Metview. This has allowed, for instance, Metview to run on Mac OS X. Although the Motif user interface is no longer being built for installations at ECMWF, the source code is still part of Metview and external installers can still choose to build the Motif interface.
With Metview version 5.0, available later this year, the Motif code will be removed from Metview, making it a lighter package and reducing the maintenance work of its developers. The removal of the Motif code is one of the main triggers for increasing the major version number from 4 to 5 - this version will also bring various improvements and new features rather than radical changes.
Metview's Qt-based user interface brings ease of use and additional features
In a similar vein, the Motif-based ecflowview is starting to be replaced with the Qt-based ecFlowUI. This development is not yet as mature as the Metview user interface, and we won't be removing ecflowview until ecFlowUI has been well-established as its successor. But in the meantime, users are reaping the benefits of its multi-threaded approach to server communication, its more user-friendly interface and powerful search tools.
EcFlow's Qt-based interface provides a better user experience, and is still under active development