Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Why Microsoft (and so many others) still don't get it

If you run up a vanilla version of Windows Server and try to use Internet Explorer to download some additional software, you have most likely come across the disaster called, "Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration". It might as well be called, "Internet Explorer Complete Functionality Block". You cannot use it in this mode for anything much. There are a few (Microsoft) sites trusted by default but you can't even download things like .Net Framework version 4 because one of the download URLs is not in the trusted list.

The thing that is annoying is either you click through hundreds of "blocked" popups and then have to add each site individually to the trusted sites list or otherwise turn off the popups and then wonder why certain websites just don't work.

In any company, with any system, but particular with software, there are various points where major flaws can be found. The initial designs, the pre-code analysis or user experience designs, you can spot things while implementing them, in system test, beta or just from user feedback. The fact that this disaster of software has somehow jumped through all these hoops means one of several things:
  1. The people who implemented it are incompetent and simply don't know what they're doing
  2. Some commercial person said the poor functionality was necessary for some other reason
  3. The processes for implementing software are very poor at MS
  4. Someone threw it in with something else, bypassing the correct processes
  5. MS don't ever listen to anyone else, whether beta groups, users or design experts
 It really annoys me because I think that the quality of a company is found in the day-to-day operations. If you run a cafe and the food is poor quality, it is not that there are "issues that need to be looked into", it is because the wrong people are in the wrong jobs. Extraordinary circumstances are more forgivable. If the cafe runs badly after a flood has occurred, we would accept that the owner might not know how to deal with the situation. Back to Microsoft and the software world, it is one thing to get something subtle wrong but if you write software, it should be spot on, more or less. It should work quickly, it should have a good interface, it should achieve a certain aim without negative impacts on other parts of the system. Come on MS, sort it out!
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