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From James Maes <>
Subject Re: How do we win?
Date Tue, 17 Jul 2001 02:15:12 GMT

This is a development framework, not Microsoft Word. Velocity (and
Tomcat, Apache, Unix in general, etc..) is not targeted towards my mother,
or the average, but the techical devleper.  One does (and should be able
to) assume a level of understanding and ability.  Read the docs.

On Mon, 16 Jul 2001, Brad Cox wrote:

> At 12:15 PM -0700 7/16/01, Jon Stevens wrote:
> >This is a perfect example of something I see all the time:
> >     If we don't write docs, people complain that there are no docs.
> >     If we write docs, people don't read them.
> >How do we win?
> Since you put it as a question, I'll respond to it as such. Politely, 
> which is far from what I feel like doing.
> There is far more complex world than implied by such cartesian 
> either-or choices. The answer to your question is to avoid such bogus 
> choices altogether. The software industry is full of examples of 
> software that delights users regardless of whether they read the docs 
> or not. Apple, Microsoft and Adobe are particularly well-known 
> examples of companies who do this well.
> If you want to win, deliver products that *delight* your users 
> whether they read the manuals or not. Software that anticipates 
> common mistakes and silently prevents them (via menus that only 
> contain valid entries) or when that's not possible, describes the 
> problem in the user's frame of reference (stack backtraces do not 
> qualify).
> If you want to lose, write software that throws NullPointerExceptions 
> or segfaults upon the slightest mistake (see mod_jk, Tomcat, and 
> Velocity for great examples of this). Then blame the user on public 
> listservs for not reading the manual. Better yet, impugn their 
> professional capabilities, even call assholes, threaten to throw them 
> off the list for even questioning the developers' decision. And so 
> forth. If you don't know what I'm talking about, see recent traffic 
> on this list.
> None of this is rocket science, just common-sense, Jon. Ignore it at 
> your peril.


|| James Maes                       
|| Senior Programmer                
|| The Sportingnews Online              

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