maggard's Profile

  • Jun 05, 2009
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Latest comments made by: maggard

  • You've just discovered that the Apple Human Interface Guidelines are, um, Apple's? Yes, they're Apple's. And, with an odd do-it-the-opposite-way-sometimes-so-we-weren't-sued, used by Microsoft, and with a terminal-based bias, IBM in their CUA. What was important about Apple's HIG was they were the first successful attempt to define a standard set of motions, symbols, menus, mental-model and other elements that were consistent throughout the OS and the applications. The was revolutionary, that the OS intruded in the applications, and that there were guidelines on how and where elements were to be used. Previously every application had it's own idiosyncratic interface. The skills you learned on one application were almost entirely useless in another. The edit functions could be anywhere, using any keystrokes. Sure there were some conventions; Emacsisms, WordPerfectisms, Lotus 1-2-3isms, But the now familiar, universal, #-X, #-Y, #-V, #-C, #-Z, #-P, were a huge breakthrough. The same with standardized menus; File always being the first menu, Edit the second, Help the last. Heck, that the elements even looked the same; the same font used in the applications, menus having the same spacing and outlines, etc., was astonishing. These, along with a universal clipboard, universal printer drivers, and universal fonts, was what helped make the MacOS a breakthrough in terms of use. No longer was using a computer a series of completely different applications: Under MacOS there was a coherence to them all. MacPaint had a familiarity with MS Word. What worked in MacPaint worked the same way in MS Word. You were immediately at home, ready to concentrate on the functional differences with the cosmetic & organizational ones standardized under the HIG. Using or ignoring the Apple HIG has made & broken applications. MS Word for Mac, I think it was Version 5, reflected too much it's Windows twin (back then they were compiled from a common set of code) and used Windows conventions instead of Mac ones. Mac users regularly found their expectations confounded and hated that version of Word, in many cases reverting back to the prior version or refusing to upgrade until the following version went back to 'the Mac way'. MS paid the price with heavy criticism, poor sales, and high support costs. However not all is static. The HIG rules have matured over the years, things like drop-down-triangles adopted from pioneering 3rd party applications, application bars added, system services improved. And, it must be acknowledged, the worst abusers of the Apple HIG has always been Apple. From the ongoing bizarreness that is the QuickTime Player and the brushed-metal themes to reinvent-our-own-wheel menu-bars & selection boxes Apple has always been inconsistent in respecting their own rules, doing things that would be widely denounced from every other vendor. Finally, there is indeed now a common set of best-practices throughout most interfaces. Lots of rules like Fitts Law & such that reflect physical limitations & the mental models folks have when interacting with technology. However the Apple HIG were the first, and arguably some of the best, and their success has been a powerful factor in the success of the MacOS.
    maggard had this to say on Apr 26, 2006 Posts: 5
    Human Interface Guidelines: The Mac Zealots' Con?
  • Whups - something odd going on there with ExpressionEngine. Previews & posts differently mangled text, eats A**pleScript references.
    Heck, Apple alone has already developed or adopted Dylan Squeak <a href="">AppleScript and Objective-C There's 4 "next-gen" languages right from one company right there! And lets not forget Hypercard which was arguably a breakthrough "everyone's programming language" abandoned by Apple a decade ago.
    maggard had this to say on Apr 25, 2006 Posts: 5
    The Programming World Needs a New Language
  • C and Lisp are still with us because they're powerful languages that have evolved into mature, stable, well & widely supported tools. In the meantime literally hundreds of "next-big-thing" languages have come and gone. Why the turnover? Because there are tradeoffs. To get the virtualization & memory management of Java you trade off local optimizations. To get the down-to-the-metal ability of C & C++ you lose protection. To get the legibility of your favorite verbose language you lose terseness. The more abstract your language is the less efficient it becomes, the more specific it goes the more effort is required, etc. But in spite of all of these we've seen a dozen new languages gain wide popularity in the past 20 years, and indeed Apple already supports Java & Javascript (yes, completely unrelated but for some boneheaded marketing naming!) & Perl & Python & even the latest-trendy languages like Ruby. Heck, Apple alone has already developed or adopted <a href="">Dylan</a>, Squeak, Objective-C. There's 4 "next-gen" languages right there from one company right there! And lets not forget Hypercard, which was arguably a breakthrough "everyone's programming language" abandoned by Apple a decade ago. No, jumping from language to language is not a panacea. It means Coders spend too much of their time learning new languages and making newbie mistakes. It means ever more elaborate, and unreliable, hacks to reuse old APIs & libraries. It makes bugs and bad documentation as a way of life and versioning a nightmare. Lets use what we've got already, well. And if the perfect language is someday written take advantage of it, but until this marvel is released lets just do do the best possible with appropriate tools and a good understanding of them, not wasting our time hoping for a deus ex machina to make it all perfect for us.
    maggard had this to say on Apr 25, 2006 Posts: 5
    The Programming World Needs a New Language
  • So "kynada" at thinks Linux users are painted as arrogant (where does that come from?) while pointing out he has repeatedly asked Apple to port QT to Linux (which one?), though he doesn't really need it from them as there are perfectly good QT alternatives, he really just wants to use it to watch material from the Apple supported movie-trailer sites, and would never use iTunes (which was really the topic here), and apparently doesn't have access to a Mac or Windows as alternatives. Oh, and he's comfortable his points do nothing for the Linux platform, apparently oblivious that they do a lot for the Mac one, the platform that Apple originally developed QT to showcase and sell more units of, the one many of his companions are migrating to for it's stability, reliability, and *nix-compatability... But hey "kynada", great dedication there and good luck with all that, you're a super salesperson for MacOS X.
    maggard had this to say on Jan 06, 2006 Posts: 5
    When Will Apple Notice Linux?
  • Which Linux?

    There are dozens of variations, different kernels, different sound architectures, different GUI layers.

    Apple (or Adobe, or anyone else) can't just release an "iTunes for Linux", it'd have to be "iTunes for this-vendor's Linux on that list of platforms using kernel at least and the libraries a, b, d through k installed, packaged using blahblahblah". Yeah, there's support & customer relations HELL.

    Seriously, love Linux, but there are darn good reasons there's no shrink-wrapped software for it.

    For a free piece of software that is only part of a sales chain iTunes is never going to get brought over to Linux. Heck, it's only on Windows 'cause that dominates the market, and to do so Apple brought along chunk of MacOS to run it under.

    If Apple has yet to, after all these years, make the trivial changes required to get QT Player to run decently on a modern Windows install (compare QT Player on Windows playing material to any other Windows media player, all of which support Overlay, running the exact same material through QT's own codecs - night & day difference!) they're not about to go futzing with a third platform.

    Besides, the reality is the list of folks who only have Linux/don't have access to Mac or Win is 4 fellas deep in the technology woods busy posting to Slashdot how'd they'd never buy anything from iTunes 'cause it's too corporate / DRM'd / popular / easy-to-use / costs actual money / isn't in some obscure format only they care about

    Great for them! The other 99.9999% of the market has access to a supported iTunes environment, is generating a cash flow, and would like more features/better services NOW.

    maggard had this to say on Jan 06, 2006 Posts: 5
    When Will Apple Notice Linux?