About the New Interface

We have changed the web interface to TGCat, the Chandra Grating Data Catalog and Archive (http://tgcat.mit.edu/). Don't worry! The content is the same. For a while, the old interface will be available via: http://tgcat.mit.edu/prev/.

Why did we change the interface? The original design did not scale well under the addition of new features; it also transferred two orders of magnitude more html-data than necessary. While adding VO support, we were motivated to make more general changes to streamline the implementation.

The new interface

  • is menu based. This should be more familiar since menus are common in many modern applications. This also frees screen real-estate we had used for state and action buttons. Menus are scalable: new items can be added without using space on the screen. Menus can be more efficient - we now have fewer clicks to perform some actions.
  • supports multiple unified "plug in" back-end interfaces, such as Virtual Observatory (VO) tables and ASCII tables (both supported), or a command line "wget" (to be provided).
  • has much smaller web data volume transfer - about 100 kb instead of 10 MB for typical queries. Searches and sorting are much more efficient.
  • remembers user queries. Queries can also be saved and assigned an arbitrary label.
  • has an enhanced download package management interface, and direct single-file product downloads.
One disadvantage in a menu-based system is that relevant choices for a context are not immediately visible. Hopefully, our menu design is sensible and intuitive. We welcome your feedback. If there are features you cannot find or which you find confusing, please send email to tgcat@space.mit.edu (but also look under the "Help" link).