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A message to application programmers - Sex and Sums and a Controlled Dose of Rock and Roll [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Richard Clegg

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A message to application programmers [Apr. 17th, 2012|01:28 pm]
Richard Clegg
Your program is not the most important program in the world. It's not the most important program on my computer. It's probably not even in my top 10. Maybe at best I run it once a month. More likely I ran it once because I needed something to do that task and I'll get round to uninstalling it in due course. Please therefore:

1) Don't make a portion of your program load at start up. I know it may make loading your program faster (which I probably will not do in the typical month). I know it will mean I can get security updates (which I will not want or need unless I actually run your program). If you're a virus checker then you get a pass on this one. Otherwise, you might want to consider that 99 times out of 100 you are just annoying me by having your program do this. I do take the time and trouble to turn off the portion of your program that does this and I do become annoyed with you for doing it.

2) Don't update your program regularly (unless there's a security issue). Honestly, I don't use your program (whatever it is) that much. If you've introduced an epic new feature, I don't care... wait until there's ten epic new features please. Trouble me once every six months (at most). I've got around about 60 pieces of software installed right now. If you all update every month that's two updates a day -- in Windows, naturally each program has its own hand-rolled update process and they're all awful.

3) When I select close or press a button with a cross on it I want to close your program. You may think your program is terribly important and I don't really mean close. You may think I mean minimize and keep running. My computer has a button for minimize. If I want minimize I'll use that. I'm looking at you Spotify and you Skype. When I press the button that everyone else recognises as "shut down" then shut down. I know, I know, Skype, that means people won't be able to call me on Skype. I know Spotify, that means I won't be able to send and receive music. That is, in fact, why I pressed the close button. (I know I can find an option to re-enable the correct behaviour but I'm still annoyed at you for disabling the correct behaviour). [Edit -- and if you really believe novice users want skype to be still open when they click close, google how do I shut down skype or close skype.]

4) Don't dot crap associated with your program around my computer like a drunk shedding kebab wrappers. I don't want a shortcut on my desktop [Edit -- sure, put a default option to have it for novices but let me unselect that], I really, really don't want an eighteenth bundled toolbar on my browser. If I'm not running your program I don't want to know it's there. I don't want it taking a minute of my time. I know you probably get a fraction of a penny from a corporation somewhere every time you get your code to slip some crapware past me and install yet another browser bar or plugin but really, do you feel good about yourselves for doing it?