I just read something on Scoble’s blog which has drawn my attention. It was a response to Joel Spolsky complaining about online calendars missing obvious (for some?) functionality.
How come all these (new?) applications are missing so much of the things, that should be an obvious thing? I have seen that many times. Someone makes a new implementation of some known piece of software – be it a calendar, a word processor or a simple text box control and while it sometimes promises to be innovative in some way – it doesn’t do some basic things other implementations do. There are probably many reasons why we see that:
it might be just a simple implementation, that is not meant to do everything the other things do,
or maybe it is planned to be expanded to include that functionality in the future,
or maybe the developers behind it were not aware that behavior is a standard,
or maybe it is not a standard after all, though you use it every day?
What can I as a developer do something about it? I could probably write a word processor myself, but how long would it make me to catch up with MS Word? Maybe I could work on some open source implementation, but they seem to be so messed up, that I might end up rewriting it anyways. Maybe I could get Microsoft to hire me to let me work on the product? Seems like a good idea. For now though – I might try to contribute to common knowledge of standard applications and write about them. List what they should do. Maybe no one will listen, but maybe someone will notice my effort or even make some use of it?
If I do not want to fail – maybe I should start with something simple? Probably some research would be useful. Microsoft sure has to have some guidelines for user interfaces! And so here it is – User Interface Design and Development. There even is a book they offer. Maybe I will get it some day.
As for today – I want to start with something that looks most simple, but has so much within… a text box control! Let’s see if I can add more details to that Wikipedia entry…