Archive for February 28, 2004

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Word 6

Rick Schaut:

In order to understand why Mac Word 6.0 was a crappy product, we need to understand both the historical background that led to some key decisions, and we need to understand some of the technical problems that resulted from those decisions.

Schaut was there, and his article is a great read. I’m not sure what to make of his comments that Microsoft had to do focus groups to determine why people thought Word 6 wasn’t Mac-like, and that the answer was that it wasn’t Word 5. First, it should at least have been obvious that Word 6 didn’t look right. Second, in its day, Word 5 was criticized for doing things its own way, rather than the Mac way. I was a fan of Word 5, but I don’t think these criticisms were without merit.

Derek K. Miller:

Word 5.1a, from 1992, with the addition of inline spell checking (the squiggly red underlines) would cover almost everything I really need to do. Yet I could never expect anyone to produce a program like that, because too many other people need different things. Word 6 was one of the earliest, and the most drastic, results of trying to keep up with the endless demands of feature creep.

Siracusa Interview

Robb Beal interviews John Siracusa. Here are some quotes I like:

It’s not easy, or possibly even useful to explain [the spatial Finder] from a user’s perspective because the user shouldn’t even be aware of its existence. Even when it’s gone, there is only a vague malaise that is hard for the user to pinpoint.
Finally, it’s hard to get a really large group of Linux developers to do much of anything beyond a single “project.” A GUI is not a “project.” It’s the whole OS from the user’s perspective, and it must be from the creators’ perspective too or it will fail.
Anything that many applications want to do should be provided by the OS: show windows and menus, render text, save preferences, etc. In this day and age, displaying Web pages and storing metadata both fall into that category. These are not the things that people will buy your applications for, any more than someone bought a System 7 application because it had scroll bars. You have to add value. OS support for new features and technologies is a rising tide that lifts all boats.