Three tips for Microsoft about developing better software…

I’ll probably think of some more but these are my current three big gripes about using MS software….

1. When shutting down Operating Systems assume that people will want to save and close applications and then shut the computer down. Do not wait to get responses on every open application or document. Please PLEASE take the initiative that if a user requests the computer to be shut down the logical conclusion is that they want it to be shut down NOW! (“shutdown -h now”) – By all means allow options for other shutdown but have a default setting of closing apps and shutting the darn system down without user intervention.

2. Don’t shove all the less obvious functions under a generic “windows” icon. I don’t understand why everything went from being sensibly under menus to being shoved in one catchall thing that requires you to navigate down a tree again. I don’t want to have to customise my app each time I buy a new machine or log in somewhere else, if I can have my customisations at all times then I want a menu system that’s easier to use, not harder than previous versions.

3. Always assume that people use other tools as well as Microsoft ones. I applaud the opening up of client stuff to cross browser/cross platform (see my blog on Silverlight ) but please consider that people may write and produce stuff in different tools and having back end integration with other developer apps and the ability to work with content that isn’t MS tool developed would be beneficial to Microsoft as well as to others.

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About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

2 Responses to Three tips for Microsoft about developing better software…

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  2. anonemiss says:

    The win98 API has a function that would shut windows right away without questions:
    ExitWindowsEx(EWX_SHUTDOWN,1)
    I used it in a program that I called ShanghaiSurprise.exe (after the film) first you would see a button, with ‘push me’ on it, pressing it would open up the window (no frame, no bar) and a second button in the corner would be visible, with ‘Shanghai Surprise’ on it, pressing the second button would shut the system, no questions, nothing.

    I think the original idea was that windows would have different shells, even shells by third party developers, but of course Microsoft can’t let that happen. The four options of the Shut Down Windows dialogue are the above function with different options. So one can make his own shut down dialogue with the options he wants. I am not familiar with windows XP (Vista) programming, but I would think the API has a similar function.

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