Neil's Place

November 1, 2002

10:36 PM On Saving Files

mpt suggests that documents should be saved automatically to the desktop, picking some filename for the user, instead of using a save dialog. Here are my thoughts.

I do think that saving files automatically is a good idea. In fact, some applications can do this already.

However, just sticking things on the desktop seems like a rather unorganized way to store them. He expects users to then move files manually to the folder that they wish them to be in. This is a multiple step process that requires one to switch to the file manager, open a pile of folder windows, move the folder windows because the saved file is on the desktop behind them, move the file to the appropriate place in the folder, move the folder windows back to where they were, close the folders again and then switch back to the application.

Most users won't bother and will end up with 2000 icons on their desktop. I remember him mentioning at some earlier time that this is fine, since people tend to just stick paper and other stuff on their real desk. True, but since computers are meant to do things that we're too lazy to do ourselves, they should try to do some of that for us.

The user will also have to do the same steps above if they want to keep an old version of a file, (which might be impossible if files are saved automatically).

He also suggests that filenames should be selected automatically. That would work in some cases, although anything that relies on guessing is going to be wrong some of the time. It might associate a filename with a document that the user wouldn't associate with a document, making it harder to locate once saved. It also wouldn't work with an audio file one had just recorded, since there isn't an obvious title for it.

And then, the interface would need to have a sophisticated search tool, because users wouldn't know the titles of documents, or where they were located. Of course, systems already do have such a thing, but it would need to be used much more frequently.

While removing file dialogs does allow users to not have to worry about saving things, I think more thought needs to be put into helping the user organize their stuff first.

Comments ( 20 )


5:37 PM Here is a Halloween movie

Quicktime required.

Comments ( 5 )

October 31, 2002

11:22 AM The tag came back.

Marquees are back in Mozilla! Rejoice! Complain! Whatever!

Marquee effects have also been added to the latest CSS3 working draft.

Comments ( 8 )


10:36 AM It's Halloween

Boo!

Comments ( 5 )

October 27, 2002

10:50 PM Updated radio buttons

I updated the XUL tutorial so that the radio button's selected attribute is referenced, instead of the checked attribute.

Comments ( 52 )

October 26, 2002

7:24 PM 101 things about Mozilla

Time for some Mozilla evangelism. Here are 101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that IE cannot.

Comments ( 58 )


12:13 AM More on that

Here are some more thoughts on the Microcontent Client, Semantic Web Client, or whatever:

  • People seem to want to attach metadata to documents, when really we should be attaching documents to metadata. Actually, we shouldn't be using documents at all in many cases, as much content on the Web isn't a document. Go to the home page of most news sites. Those aren't documents, they're blobs of text and links.
  • I want to be able to search for a movie and get info about it, and then using my Microcontent Client, indicate that I prefer to get ratings or reviews or trailers from somewhere else. From then on, when I see a result, I should get information from the original source except for the those things I want from somewhere else.
  • I see articles with stock symbols after the company names mentioned. These links point to some specific third party stock info site. I can't use a different supplier. Why? Because there is no <stock> tag.
  • The client doesn't need to do things like read mail, instant messaging or play games. People complain enough about all-in-one products as it is.
  • Email is magic. DNS is magic. IP is magic. Do you know how they know how to get a message to someone located on a different continent, with only an email address? I don't. Some things aren't magic. Search engines aren't magic. We need a system for searching that is magic.

That is all for now. I must go to sleep now before I get more incomprehensible.

Comments ( 29 )

October 22, 2002

12:17 PM Introducing the Microcontent Client

Everyone working on Mozilla kept claiming it's a toolkit for building Internet applications, not just a browser? Yet, the first thing that was built was a browser suite. And then, once that came to version 1.0, they set about on a new project, and its goal was to build... a web browser.

I've been thinking about things discussed in this article lately, and I have shared some of the same ideas. I, too, think that the Watson style UI is better for finding the data people actually want. Web sites are very poor at this. They require search engines and extra tools to provide any kind of order.

Considering that Mozilla already supports RDF and XML and so on, there doesn't seem to be a Semantic Web Client in development. I'd start one myself, but I fear the way I would implement it would require destroying the entire Internet.

Comments ( 35 )