The are now several attempts within the openmod community to improve the usability of various energy modeling frameworks. This topic collects a few of those strands and presents them by project team in alphabetical order.
The motivation for this posting ranges from simple cataloging and an attempt to share experiences — through to helping examine opportunities to improve cross‑project consistency where this might be useful and productive and perhaps even develop and share workflow practices and supportive tooling across projects.
Some material presented here covers user interface design and local workflows. But some also looks beyond to consider portals, web‑services, and community processes. In other words, the UX in total. That said, the focus here remains firmly on users and particularly those users relatively new to energy system modeling.
Usability, in this context, spans the entire range of user interfaces from command‑line, spreadsheet front‑ends, and through to dedicated GUI environments, both local and server‑based. There is no presumption that one paradigm is necessarily superior. As can be seen, different projects have adopted different strategies.
Allied to these initiatives are efforts to promote energy system analysis in Africa and the global south more generally. Indeed, user bases are beginning to broaden out well beyond the original development teams.
Energy system analysis is now also starting to be taught within undergraduate courses and as upskilling modules for policy analysts.
In terms of language, “framework” refers to the codebase, “model” indicates a framework that has been duly characterized for some system of interest, and “scenario” refers to variations on the assumptions that underpin a specific model. And the usual analytical practice is to run and compare a number of scenarios. That same vista also reflects a general shift from developers to users.
I should confess I come from a background of UNIX, SSH, command‑line compilers, derelict codebase management, and rudimentary revision control. So this is a journey for me too. And my apologies in advance if I have omitted or misrepresented any of the projects or their objectives — indeed, please correct as required. And feel free to upload your screenshots too!