The advantages and disadvantages of software
created by more than one person

by Hank Friedman

Each company has their own resources (and staff) for creating great astrology software, but like all things, philosophies and design ideas vary, and so different programs are made both stronger and weaker by the presence of "many cooks".

Solar Fire Gold was originally designed by one programmer and one software designer. As a result, it has one of the most consistent user interfaces, and in fact received recognition for this in my article "The Value of the User Interface in Astrology Software".

It does have a separate Solar Maps module, which nevertheless has a similar enough interface as to remain easy to use and not foreign to the program.

Janus also has a great deal of consistency within its modules, despite the fact that it has two programmers/creators.

Admittedly, some of its modules (e.g. the Traditional ones like Horary and Electional) function a little differently than others, but Janus remains very easy both to learn and to use.

Kepler and Sirius are both two completely different programs in one: the main program, and the separate Kepler Workshop.

The advantage of having two completely different designs (by two very stylistically different programmers) is that users have access to a set of features in the second program that are completely lacking in the first one.

The disadvantage is that users have to learn a whole new interface and set of protocols in Kepler Workshop, and its functions are not shared by the main program at all.

Win*Star Pro also has two main programmers, and has modules (e.g. the Calendar module, the Search module, and the Astro-Mapping module) that were originally developed as standalone programs, each with its own user interface.

While having separate modules frees the programmer to do whatever they want in each, resulting, for example, in the Calendar module being the best astrological calendar of all, splicing together all of these different parts (including disparate modules within Win*Star Pro itself) really makes users have to learn each one separately, which is a lot more work.

Even programs with one creator, like Regulus Platinum, ZET Geo, and Millennium, have modules designed at different times with different functions in mind. That's why Regulus Platinum's Vedic module, and astro-map module, and even the configuration modules differ so much from each other in their operation and style, as do most of Millennium's features.

In other words, the number of programmers may or may not always correlate with a program having ideosyncratic differences in its different functions.

Diversity is therefore a blessing and bane to astrology software users. It often can create headaches in learning to use the varied features offered in programs, but also makes it possible to have such an incredible range of astrological functions.

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