Friday, April 03, 2009

polite computers

Thinking about contacts, and also reading this, it struck me that if there is anything in computing that needs a manifesto it's Polite Software.

As in: it behaves helpfully towards others, by exporting and importing data in standard formats correctly (and if there is a common incorrect way of doing something, it should provide the option of doing it that way - like KDE does with "Microsoft-style" groupware notifications), it doesn't get in the way (so if it's doing something, it doesn't interrupt you doing something else by grabbing the UI thread, and it segregates any process involving an external process so it doesn't hang on a network connection), it never loses other people's work, it doesn't make you repeat yourself (so if you have to go back one step, all the values you entered are preserved, which most Web applications fail to do), it tells the truth (error messages are descriptive and don't say you did something that you didn't, and logs are kept and are easily available).


gawp said...

One thing I'd like in software that has lots of wizards and automated behaviour is an accessible queue of the stuff that has recently done (i.e. auto spelling correction).
If you open that list and click that thing and automated task it takes you to the window for *turning it off* and configuring it. Automated stuff is fine, but when it's on by default it's a pain to find and turn it all off.

Anonymous said...

Is a link missing at "this" ???

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