I Want My Preferences Online

Yet another interesting video from Google: this time it’s Guido talking about a code reviewing app that he’s been developing for Googles internal use. What’s interesting about this, is the fact that he used Djangos templates for building the UI.

During his presentation Guido mentioned a very common usability problem in modern software: it’s often very hard to use an easily configurable program on other persons computer (because it behaves very diffrently than what you are used to). In his example, Guido mentioned Emacs, I was thinking about TextMate.

I absolutely love TextMate, but I hate the fact that when I’m using it on somebody elses computer, it feels like using a totally different program. And it’s not just text editors. Nowadays, I find it very hard to use Mac OS X withouth QuickSilver. And what can you do with QuickSilver that is not trained to do exactly the things that you want? Not very much. This problem of adaptive software is quite universal.

This is hardly news to anobody. Usability people haven been talking about this for years, but why is it that nobody haven’t come up with any decent solution for it yet? Come on, it’s not like we’re living in eighties anymore. We have this web 2.0 thingy with the tubes and all.

Give me a way to use my TextMate with my own settings and preferences from any computer. Well, at least on any computer running on Mac OS X 🙂

Spare Me From Choices

I found a great presentation from Google Video about why too many choices is a bad thing. I couldn’t agree more. (Even this blog is named Too Many Choices 🙂 For me, Django (and Python) is about making less (and therefore better) choices.

Many web frameworks boast with the fact that they offer infinite choice of solutions for every possible problem. Whether the choice is about object-relational mapping, templating or whatever, more choices means added burden to the developer to choose the right one. With Rails less choice is “opinionated software“. With Django, it’s consistency, cohesion and perfectionism.

I love that fact that there is just one way of doing things (right). It’s easy to remember, it makes writing code faster, and it helps reading other peoples code.

For a much more better view on the paradox of choice, listen to this presentation given by Professor Barry Schwartz, April 2006. (There’s not very much visual info in the video. Just hit play and listen.)