The idea of a helpful interface to phreeqe is fantastic. But because of my difficulty using it, I'm compelled to make some comments.
After several years away from phreeqe, I was surprised by how much effort it is taking me to re-learn the key word concept and overwhelmed by the effort that it takes me to learn how to use the windows front-end.
I failed to simply re-create the input file for example 1 using the on-line help, interface intuition, and geochemisty experience. A simple step-by-step tutorial would be really helpful to show just how files are created. For example, I cannot determine how the words "as HCO3" appear after alkalinity in "ex1" short of typing them in myself. But that cannot be right since that would require my absolute and precise knowledge of the syntax - kind of defeats the utility and beauty of the windows front-end. In other words, my problem is the interface, not my geochemistry. I fear that it will take me days and days to learn and experiment with phreeqe before I am comfortable with applying a real problem.
Also, while I appreciate interest in protecting the original code integrity and formats, I feel that forcing a user to deal directly with "key words" and expressions like "as HCO3" bogs down the user with syntax, jargon, and unnecessary typing. Windows programming allows for a far superior way of isolating the user from such details. Simply "checking" a checkbox labeled "as HCO3" as opposed to checking the one marked "as CaCO3" could invisibly place the necessary code language into the input file. A good user/geochemist should use his/her skill to know what boxes to check and not what syntax to use. Also, the user can always look at the input file, but if you think about it, that shouldn't be necessary and "messing" with that file directly can potentially lead to errors that are hard to find except by very experienced users.
Consider a modflow analogy: modflow used to be tedious mostly because it required such direct user attention to syntax and columns and columns of cell data values. Then, excellent windows software appeared in the 90's which virtually eliminated such headaches and modeling became a virtual laboratory for experimental hydrogeology and not a data entry and syntax nightmare.
Again, I am struck by the excellent front-end for phreeqe, but I think it needs to go a few steps further to be a real user-friendly tool. Is there any interest or support in my position on this topic?
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