ambassador at FourthWorld.com
Sat Jun 15 10:12:40 EDT 2002
> Stephen Somogyi writes "But Revolution's multi-platform support has
> an Achilles' heel: the program's interface doesn't quite adhere to OS
> X's conventions. Revolution's Quit and Preferences options, for
> example, aren't under its application menu; they're under the File
> menu, as in the classic Mac OS."
Why is that the case? With a proper 'plst' resource those items should be
moved automatically to the application menu.
> Is it just me, or is this garbage just one more example of the focus
> on form instead of substance (read that lack of depth of research)
> that is typical of software reviewers?
A reviewer must find at least one Con for the write-up. It's good when the
Con is so trivial and such an easy one to fix :)
> And whether it is or not, I'll use a big flashing stop-sign-shaped
> Quit button and no File menu if it suits the purpose of my
> application. If Mr. Somogyi and other "interface police" want to
> focus on that instead of the substance of my application, I'll move
> my focus to Windows...now that I can.
In a perfect world, you'd encounter the same passion on Windows. Not for UI
fascism, but for something truly valuable: consistency across applications.
In a given computing session, any single app is likely to be only a small
part of a larger, integrated workflow. The more consistency between app
UIs, the more smoothly the user traverses them.
There's an upside to having been raised by Apple's HIG Police: our
heightened sensitivity to such details gives us a significant edge over many
Win-only UI designers. Even as late as 1998, I was reading best-selling Win
API books that described the GUI as a marketing-driven annoyance programmers
simply must learn to endure (as though CLUIs were somehow superior,
explosive post-GUI growth in the industry apparently notwithstanding <g>).
The foot-dragging with regard to adopting good UI and user-centered design
practices set thousands of developers on MS systems back several years.
This is reflected in the cold, gadgety feel of so many Win UIs. To make a
Win app that shines simply means using much the same process as we Mac folks
have been using for years: read the HIG, know the HIG, depart from the HIG
where necessary but never depart from the core principles.
> Why is it that so many revolutions disintegrate into dictatorships
> over time? Apple gave its users the HyperCard hammer to destroy Big
> Brother, then took the hammer away, and now hammers us to do it their
Ironically, they gave us a broken hammer: elements of Apple's HyperCard
design make it difficult, in some cases (like scroll bars on document
windows) impossible, to comply with their own HIG, a case of "Do as I say,
not as I do". :(
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