Archive for October, 2013

Reset buttons

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

My computer has a reset button.

My DVD player has a reset button.

Many computerized toys and fancy electronic gizmos come with reset buttons nowadays.

It’s a sorry state of affairs, but it’s a universal acknowledgement that computer software is getting complex beyond its creator’s ability to manage, and it’s cheaper to create a reset button than to write nearly perfect software and expect to get your product to market at or before the time your competitor does.

Since the era of good software development is over, and competition for market share rules the roost, it’s almost understandable that companies have to sacrifice software quality for ship-to-client-before-we-run-out-of-money.

And I have only found one thing worse than having a reset button.

And that is not having a reset button.

Chrome comes to mind.

Large software packages that don’t include a reset buttons or restart functionality at this point, are just snobby.

Eclipse comes with a restart button built in. They know they’re not perfect, and they know their audience.

In firefox you can add a restart button as an extension, but last time I checked, there’s no restart extension for chrome, and it certainly not built in. Chrome is so wonderful you never need to restart it.

There are workarounds, you can change a config setting and change it back and an option to restart will appear, but there’s no menu option.

Presumably google believes that their software doesn’t have problems, or leak memory and doesn’t need an easy way to restart it.

Microsoft word doesn’t have a restart button, but it does have an incredible amount of crash recovery built into it, which seems to me is almost as good. Certainly by doing that microsoft is at least admitting that they know there’s a problem and have gone to great lengths to mitigate the misery for the user.

Of course it would be a better place if people had the time to write good, problem free software in the first place, but I guess that’s a dream for a bygone era.