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Warning: This post is not idiot-proof

May 30, 2006

Why some bugs are left to run free in my software.

Well, SlideShowPro Director has been fairly well received in the week or so it has been available. The experience thus far has been quite interesting on many levels, mostly due to the fact that the audience has grown dramatically (basically overnight) from the SSPAdmin days.

Any time you release something new, the first thing to start pouring in to your inbox/support forums are feature requests. Now, don't get me wrong. Feature requests are good. Often times you, as a developer, can get too close to your product to see its' own flaws, and you need someone with a different perspective to point out a glaring omission to the feature set.

However, there are things that are expected of software that are not expected of hardly any other product. Take this example: John buys a car. He grabs the keys from the dealer, opens the trunk, tosses the keys in, and slams it shut. He storms back in to the dealership, demanding help.

"I shouldn't have been able to do that", he says.

A stunned salesman unlocks the trunk for him, retrieves his keys, "helps" him into the front seat and sends him on his way. On the drive home, John, who still isn't sure the car is up to his standards, sees a bridge on the horizon.

"If this car is really all they say it is, no way will it let me drive off that bridge", he thinks.

The last thought to go through John's head before his car plummets into the water: "I shouldn't have been able to do that..."

Sound ridiculous? Does to me, too. Yet software is often held to this very high standard: idiot-proofing (Think: I dragged my hard drive on to my trash can, now my computer won't start). Why this exactly is, I'm just not sure. But I do know this, as for me and my software, idiots be warned.

Think before you click. Use common sense, just like you would with a car, knife, blender, golf club, etc. Same goes for developers: Chase after the things you need to chase after (code optimizations, interface improvements, carefully measured new features) and don't get caught up in idiot-proofing, because in our world, there is not (at least of yet) a spray on solution for that.

Filed under Rants, Technology

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This is an archived entry written by Brad Daily on May 30, 2006. You may search through the archives by date or category below.

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