The (PC) Developer's Tale - a lesson in economics (September 1996)

Hugh Winkler of Scout Systems has contributed the following homage to PC development

It is far easier for a company like Scout to develop a product on windows because of the elegant development tools available (far superior to Unix dev tools, far cheaper too). I estimate it would have cost us an extra $50,000 in hardware and software, plus an extra 6-8 months development time, to create probably an inferior product, on say Solaris. We are able to spend the savings cramming features into the product. End users can tell the difference. The same argument applies to SeisVision. Way more elegant than SeisWorks. Still, it's less capable because of the huge feature set SeisWorks has accumulated over the years. But it's easier to add features to SeisVision than to SeisWorks.

Seismic ActiveX

Scout Systems, will soon be releasing a product having no analog in the Unix world. The Scout Controls are a set of drop in ActiveX controls for manipulating and visualizing seismic data, velocities, well logs, etc. Users drop these controls onto forms in Microsoft Access, Excel, Visual Basic, or even Web pages, and write Visual Basic scripts to control them. The controls retrieve and store seismic data, velocities, etc. to and from any database or standard file format. Using the Scout Controls and Microsoft Access, and a 70,000 trace prestack 3-D survey, for example, I have demonstrated a custom velocity analysis application that took only 4 to 6 hours to get running. The idea behind Scout is to leverage these easy to use and inexpensive Microsoft applications, enabling power users to manipulate exploration data to solve special problems, with minimum programming.

Bison Intruments

The performance of Scout-based tools is very good, because Scout Controls are compiled for the native processor -- you just use Visual Basic to script the controls. For example, the Normal Moveout control runs at Pentium speed, and in Visual Basic you just script the control to move out a trace, or a few thousand traces. Bison Instruments will roll out a Scout-based seismic acquisition system in November at SEG. The system uses Scout for remote seismic processing and seismic display, and stores all acquisition and processing parameters in an Access database. The system is set up for turn key operation, but power users can modify the system by scripting a few lines of Basic.

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