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What part of NO does software not understand?

I've just reinstalled Microsoft Office, using the "Custom" installation because I didn't want to deal with Outlook.  Outlook, however, was installed anyway.

My copy of Quicken has never failed to tell me that I should register, and futhermore, that I should upgrade to a newer version.  There is nothing in the dialog boxes to allow me to dispense with such advice.

One more thing I'd like for my software to include is a dialog box where I can check: NO, GODAMMIT, NO!!!

  Not a Capitalist
Sunday, March 14, 2004

If Quicken connects to the net to determine whether an upgrade is available you might be able to effectively block it by adding the domain in your hosts file to point to localhost.

Matthew Lock
Monday, March 15, 2004

Nor does Windows understand YES. Ever had to click "yes to all" multiple times to complete a task?

Nate Silva
Monday, March 15, 2004

... or started off some long-running operation just before you left work in the evening, and got back in the morning to discover that five minutes after you left a dialog box had appeared asking "Now, I know we discussed this before, but are you *still* sure you want to do this?"

Pat Galea
Monday, March 15, 2004

Nate, if you are reffering to Explorer and Copy/Cut-Paste and Overwrite functions, it is because that message pops up for each file type and/or attribute.

KayJay
Monday, March 15, 2004

On a similar matter, one of my pet GUI bug-bears is dialog boxes that say things like "Do you want to perform action X?" and provide "OK" and "Cancel" buttons. "OK" may be a (colloquially) acceptable answer to the question, but "Cancel" certainly isn't. The buttons should say "Yes" and "No". Occasionally it isn't clear that "OK" corresponds to "Yes".

C Rose
Monday, March 15, 2004

The really annoying thing about message boxes is the "X" - close - option. The box _has_ to be dismissed, and there always _has_ to be one option, and even if more options are provided, each option dismisses the box, so what's the point with a "X" close option?

Kaushik Janardhanan

KayJay
Monday, March 15, 2004

Yes - confirming the action
No - refusing the action but carrying on the process
Cancel - terminating th entire process

Tapiwa
Monday, March 15, 2004

Tapiwa,

Apparently that is not the case with VB. Try this out, when you get a chance
<code>
Dim ret As VbMsgBoxResult

ret = MsgBox("What does it return?", vbYesNoCancel, "?")

Debug.Print ret

ret = MsgBox("What does this one return?", vbYesNo, "?")

Debug.Print ret

ret = MsgBox("And this?", vbOKCancel, "?")

Debug.Print ret

ret = MsgBox("Plus this one too?", vbOKOnly, "?")

Debug.Print ret
</code>
Play around with "X" and the "Cancel" options. In the last one (OKOnly), "X" is enabled, but returns 1 (OK). With "YesNo", "X" is disabled, so no default cancellation provision. There are other similar mis-matches with more P & C.

Nothing serious and nothing difficult, but very irritating.

KayJay

KayJay
Monday, March 15, 2004

KayJay, I agree that the options for the "X" close button on dialog boxes may seem confusing, but I believe they are logically correct. If you have an "OKOnly" dialog, then "OK" is the only possible return value and it is correct that the "X" button returns "OK". If you have a "YesNo" dialog, then the "X" button should be disabled because its use would be ambiguous. With a "YesNoCancel" or "OKCancel" dialog, the "X" button should return "Cancel".

Philip Dickerson
Monday, March 15, 2004

Philip, that's right. It is logical. Yet, it would have been so much easier is it were such that, "X" always returned a "cancellation" or "if you want cancellation, then add it yourself".

KayJay
Monday, March 15, 2004

I've always like the "Click Finish to finish the install".  Um, what other options do I have?  Just click it yourself.

My pisser is when you start a shutdown and go home.  Come back the next day to a dialog box saying "program foo is not responsding.  Kill it?".  Um, dumass.  I'm doing a shutdown.  It's been hours since you've had any input.  How about you just put 2 and 2 together and shut down my machine.

This happens on my laptop running WinXP.  Highly annoying, I have to sit and wait for it to turn itself off, otherwise I have a dead battery in the morning.

Snotnose
Monday, March 15, 2004

Dear Philip; if the only choice you have is OK, why have the goddam dialog box in the first place?

Stephen Jones
Monday, March 15, 2004

Stephen, good question! I wasn't defending the existence or use of a dialog box with only an "OK" button, only discussing the logic of the "X" also working as "OK" in such a dialog box. Personally, I think most software has way too many dialog boxes.

Philip Dickerson
Monday, March 15, 2004

Every installer in the history of the world asks to confirm:

---
This directory does not exist.  Would you like to create it? Y/N
---

I can't figure out what purpose this serves, or is trying to serve.  Presumably any custom-selected directory must already exist, so a nonexistent custom directory must be an error?  Even this explanation doesn't really make sense.

This is common in the more-integrated Windows installers, but has been around since the DOS-based installers (i.e. as long as I remember).

pds
Monday, March 15, 2004

"This directory does not exist.  Would you like to create it? Y/N"

This is one of the stupidest,  most annoying.  If you've never installed Foo before, then obviously the directory C:\Program Files\Foo  does not exist.

So create the directory and don't make me have to dismiss a stupid dialog box!!

Joe on Software (Joe)
Monday, March 15, 2004

<< On a similar matter, one of my pet GUI bug-bears is dialog boxes that say things like "Do you want to perform action X?" and provide "OK" and "Cancel" buttons. "OK" may be a (colloquially) acceptable answer to the question, but "Cancel" certainly isn't. The buttons should say "Yes" and "No". Occasionally it isn't clear that "OK" corresponds to "Yes".  >>

The reason we do this is simple: The 'Ok | Cancel' dialog can be dismissed with a quick tap of the Escape button, whereas the "Yes | No" version cannot; you have to actually type 'Alt-N'.  Most most experienced users, Escape is faster.

You could argue, as I do, that a better solution would be for Microsoft to fix the "Yes | No" dialog such that hitting Escape means "No".  But I wouldn't want to hang on a rope waiting for *that* to ever happen...

Grumpy Old-Timer
Monday, March 15, 2004

Of course, a considerate designer/programmer could make the dialog interpret the escape key to mean no.
Shifting blaim to Microsoft is hardly an excuse...

Erik
Monday, March 15, 2004

"This directory does not exist, would you like to create it?" is the last chance you have to realize you're doing something stupid like installing to the wrong partition.

For a brief period of time, I was running Windows 2000 with a 1.5 GB C drive and a 37GB D drive.  I was very happy to have that final warning before everything tried to fill up my wimply little C partition by default.

Now, if Windows had nice symlinks like UNIX, it wouldn't be so much of a problem.

Richard P
Monday, March 15, 2004

Slightly OT, but my pet peeve:

"InstallShield is performming the requested operation."

(Oh good.  I hate those uppity programs that refuse to perform the requested operations.)

Why not just:  "InstallShield is installing program Foo."

Or: "Installing program Foo."

Or, better yet: ""

(Isn't it obvious from the moving progress bar that the program is being installed?)

Robert Jacobson
Monday, March 15, 2004

grumpy old-timer:

is ESC really easier to type than "N"?

(you don't need the alt-key when there are no text boxes.)

mb
Monday, March 15, 2004

installing into a new directory:
"Warning, directory doesn't exist"

installing into an existing directory:
"Warning, directory exists"

:)

genius
Monday, March 15, 2004

Being a Mac user, I find most Windows dialog boxes really annoying. The unsaved changes boxes that get displayed when I try to close a changed document are particularly annoying.

Invariably then have a bunch of text followed by Yes, No and Cancel. On a Mac, this dialog will have the buttons Save, Don't Save, and Cancel.

Because I make my living writing Windows software, I understand that calling MessageBox is much easier than creating a Dialog template and using a custom dialog class or message handler. But it's always seemed a cop out to me.

Jeff Watkins
Monday, March 15, 2004

One more thing: passive voice pisses me off.

The VS.NET installer projects won't let me change some of the text that it displays; but that text is in passive voice. And it drives me crazy.

"Lame-o Product is being installed..."

NO!

"Installing Lame-o Product..."

YES!

Jeff Watkins
Monday, March 15, 2004

Better than "Lame-O installer is performing the requested operations."  <g>

Robert Jacobson
Monday, March 15, 2004

What?! Lame-O installer is removing my appendix?!?


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The one that infuriates me the most is on the bloody NJ Transit ticket machines:

"Bank authorisation now being performed..."

ARGH!

It's bad enough that my wife won't stand near me when I'm purchasing tickets because I ALWAYS complain about it. (OK, maybe it's not healthy to get so wrapped around the axle about this stuff.)

Jeff Watkins
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

<< Of course, a considerate designer/programmer could make the dialog interpret the escape key to mean no. Shifting blaim to Microsoft is hardly an excuse... >>

If you know of a simple way to make the AfxMessageBox() change the way it interprets the escape key under MB_YESNO, I'm all ears.  I suppose you could hook into its message loop, or create your own message box.  But it's nowhere near as simple as you apparently think.  That, and your "shifting the 'blaim' to Microsoft" remark, make me wonder: Have you ever *done* Windows programming?  (VB doesn't count.)


<< is ESC really easier to type than "N"? >>

Yes, absolutely.  ESC is the top-left key - I can hit in my sleep.  Without looking, hit the "N" key (touch-typists excluded)... how did you do?

Grumpy Old-Timer
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Um, N is really easy.  Touch the right-bump key (that's the J) and it's just south-west of it.

Yeah, so it's touch-typing.  It doesn't take a master touch-typer to put his right hand on the home row.

Richard P
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Grumpy,

Do you mean that when it would be easy the designer/programmer was not being considerate?
Or that you should only please a user when it is easy?
And what does my ability or lack thereof to program have to do with anything?
Do you feel it is okay to annoy your users all the time just to save you some work once?
I am sure that when it is difficult to achieve, other things may take precedence, but don't programmers enjoy solving difficult problems?
And is it really that difficult to create your own dialog box once and use it thereafter to your hearts content, knowing you serving your users?
And why does VB not count? If it gets the job done within all constraints?

Erik
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

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