NECS, Inc.

Software for Food Distributors

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Evolution of the NECS menu structure

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Evolution of the NECS menu structure

Apr 28 2013
I thought I would make a short Blog entry on a Sunday afternoon, to show you how far our menu structure and user interface has come over the years, to our latest "Ribbon Menu" format as used by the upcoming entree V4 SQL release.

DOS Menu, 1987-2001


First, below is a screen capture of our old DOS menu.  It was the menu "drop down" structure that everyone used from about 1987 to 2001. Note that all the letters on the menu which show in white, were the hot key shortcuts.   If you have been using NECS since then, this will bring back some memories!




entree version 2


In 2005 we released entree version 2, which included a basic Windows style "drop down" menu structure with hot key shortcuts activiated with the ALT key.  Nothing fancy, but it worked well.





entree version 3


In 2007, entree version 3 was released, with a similar menu structure to the previous version, with the exception that more menu items were added to the sub-menus.  This is the current version that all entree customers are now using.





Introducing the "Ribbon Menu" concept in entree V4 SQL


Fasten your seatbelts, because the menu structure in entree V4 SQL takes our software to the next level with a more modern and intuitive interface.  Take a look at the screen shot below, which I will briefly explain next...





The entree V4 SQL "Ribbon Menu", 10 Quick Facts:



1. The name "ribbon menu" was introduced by Microsoft in Microsoft Office 2007.

2. The "ribbon menu" used by entree adheres to the standards provided by Microsoft.

3. In computing, a ribbon is a portion of a graphical user interface where a set of toolbars are placed on tabs in a tab bar.

4. All the menu options have a graphical icon which visually represents what that menu choice accomplishes.  Once the user is used to the visual icon, they can identify the menu option much faster than reading.

5. Menu options related to each ribbon category, are grouped together.  This makes it easier for the user to find what he is looking for.  On the "Inventory" ribbon, all options related to inventory, including file maintenance, transactions, reports and utilities are grouped together.  The same is true for the other ribbon elements of "Customer", "Vendor", "Salesperson", etc.

6. Previous hot keys used by entree for menu selections are fully supported.

7. "My Menu" selections can be easily added by right clicking a menu item and selecting "Add to My Menu".  These "My Menu" selections will appear across the top of the ribbon menu, for fast selection.

8. As a default for new V4 SQL installations, below the ribbon menu will appear the older "legacy" menu structure.  This was included so that users used to the old style, could feel comfortable while they adapted to the newer style.  The legacy menu format can be turned off via System Options.

9. The user, via the System Options, can decide to remove the new ribbon menu, and only use the older "legacy" menu format.

10. There are two background graphic choices, "normal" and "3-D".  The above example uses the "3-D" style.  In entree V4 SQL, you will no longer have the option to select your own screen background.  Also a new "theme engine" is included for more modern color choices and styles for your entree software.

One more fact... the new menu is 100% touch enabled (as are many other parts of V4 SQL).  So if you have a touch sensitive monitor, or using a new Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, you can either touch your selection, use the keyboard, the hot keys, or use the mouse.

There are many more interesting items about the use of this new menu structure, which we will cover in both our upcoming "entree V4 1-Day Pre-Training Classes" as well as our documentation and help system.

More information on V4 SQL coming very soon.  I've just been so busy working with the programmers and getting the last minute details ironed out, there hasn't been as much time for my Blog entries as I thought.

I will be at the Golbon Food Show in Indianapolis on May 1st - 3rd.  If you are a Golbon member attending the show... see you there!