REALbasic vs. Revolution

David Vaughan dvk at
Fri Oct 11 17:08:01 EDT 2002

On Saturday, Oct 12, 2002, at 00:50 Australia/Sydney, Rob Cozens wrote:

>> For me, (and recall I'm not a professional developer), there is a
>> difference between apps that all look identical (which is what 
>> everything
>> done in VB tends to be) and apps which merely leverage a
>> previously-learned UI, consistent adherence to which is often touted 
>> as a
>> learning advantage.
> Judy, et al:
> That seems to be part of Apple's marketing hype since the first 
> release of Mac OS.  And, frankly, there might have been good reason 
> for it initially: the mouse & pull-down-&-select were new to the 
> industry, so guidelines on how to use them helped show the way.
> But when it gets to the point that reviewers ding Revolution (or any 
> other application) because Quit is under the File menu (where it was 
> "supposed" to be in OS 9) instead of the Applications menu (which 
> Apple has now decreed as the place Quit is "supposed" to be), it 
> reaches a level of pedantic absurdity.

This conformity question tends to be framed as expert/creative vs new 
user. The expert has depth and better ideas than those enforced by the 
theory police while the new user is a tabula rasa, needing either 
simple repetitive rules or a creative interface which they can learn in 
depth and enjoy to the full.

This presentation ignores breadth. Please spare a thought for those who 
use a very wide variety of tools. Glancing down my dock (I am not alone 
in this of course. ) I currently have seventeen applications open (many 
trivial like mail and a web browser as expected) and another ten or so 
which I use regularly, after which you get to less common tools and 
utilities. For me these cover a wide range of application areas in 
management of information (principally people, events, plans and 
finance) and manipulation of ideas, words, numbers (five for numbers 
alone) and diagrams as well as management of the system. One of the 
permanent attractions of the Mac compared with any alternative over 
nearly twenty years has been the ease with which I can switch between 
apps, including less commonly used ones, and expect to find all 
controls neatly to hand and behaving as I expect, leaving only the 
unique components of the app to be recalled in context. This 
facilitation of depth in breadth is and has always been enormously 
powerful, yet the Mac interface has improved over time.

A down-side of conformity to me personally has arisen where a common 
interface which is a complete dog, e.g. that of MS Word, is taken up by 
other manufacturers in the interests of keeping things "easy".

So, happy to see innovation (anyone remember Apple's experimental 
mouse-driven 3D space into files and the web?). However, please 
consider on the one hand that the person learning your creative 
interface may also be a user of other similar tools, not of yours 
alone, and on the other that bad design is not improved by repetition.

I'll pay a penny for this one.


> -- 
> Rob Cozens
> CCW, Serendipity Software Company
> "And I, which was two fooles, do so grow three;
> Who are a little wise, the best fooles bee."
> from "The Triple Foole" by John Donne (1572-1631)
> _______________________________________________
> use-revolution mailing list
> use-revolution at

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