Shareware Beach

Friday, 9 February 2007

Windows with a View, or Not

Filed under: Software Development — Jan @ 18:02

Now that Windows Vista is generally available, the question many people are asking is if they should upgrade.

The past two months I’ve spent quite some time using Vista, primarily to make sure all JGsoft products are compatible with it. There were no serious issues, and the latest versions of all our products are now fully compatible.

Windows Vista is a nice operating system, and Microsoft seems to have put a lot of work in making things more self-explanatory and user-friendly. E.g. instead of showing a message box with a question that needs to be answered with a click on Yes or No, most actions that require an answer now show a big dialog that lists several options and their consequences. You click directly on one of the actions to take that action. E.g. an overwrite prompt appears when dragging and dropping a file in Windows Explorer into a folder that already has the file with the same name. In Windows XP, you click on Yes to overwrite the file, or on No to do nothing. In Vista, you click on “Move and Replace” to overwrite the file, on “Don’t move” to do nothing, or on “Move, but keep both files” to automatically rename the moved file. Very nice. In fact, I’ve been doing this in a limited way in JGsoft products for a long time. E.g. if you close EditPad with an unsaved file open, you get a more or less typical message box, but the buttons are labeled “Yes: Save”, “No: Don’t Save” and “Cancel Close” instead of just Yes, No and Cancel. This may seem trivial, but it really helps people unfamiliar with your software come to grips with it quickly. If the buttons show just Yes and No, I’d have to read the message to check if Yes means to save or to abandon changes. Now, I just read the button.

Though Vista looks and works great, it’s no quantum leap from Windows XP. And it does seem to be far more hungry for system resources. While it runs just fine on my Pentium D 820 with 2 GB of RAM, I’m going to stick with Windows XP for the time being. All my applications run just fine under XP. I have no desire to waste a day getting them all set up on Vista. I doubt that will change in the near future. I’ve always lagged behind in adopting the latest OS. I tend to prefer to use the latest OS for testing only, and the one before that for actual development. Yesterday’s OS always runs much more smoothly on today’s PCs than today’s OS. It’s only been a little over a year since I switched to XP. In my behind the scenes post two years ago, you can see Delphi 7 running on Windows 2000.

That said, if I were to buy a new PC, I’d definitely get one with Windows Vista, and make sure it’s powerful enough to smoothly run all of Vista’s bells and whistles. Maybe in 2008.

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