Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In Vista, Microsoft tries to solve one of my most painful problems!

Last May 15, 2005, I whined about really awful "message boxes", which ask you a complicated question and then invite you to answer by clicking YES or NO. You can spend a lot of time deciding which answer means what action. A Microsoft Vista developer recently offered this example:
Do you want to save your work or lose it forever?"
And now you have to decide whether to click YES or NO.

This problem is endemic to all current operating systems and web pages, because programmer laziness or the software API makes it much, much too easy to ask a YES/NO question. In Vista (and maybe even, somehow, in XP), it will be easy (see the web page I linked to above) to compose message boxes with buttons labeled like these:

  • Save your work, keep changes.

  • Discard your work, lose your changes forever.

I can't tell you how delighted this makes me, except for one minor detail: Microsoft deprecates this feature, warning that "This function is available through Microsoft Windows XPA Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Windows Server 2003. It might be altered or unavailable in subsequent versions of Windows."

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