Eikonal Blog

2013.07.02

Intentional loss of functionality (arrogance of Atlassian, Mozilla, Microsoft)

Filed under: business, it, knowledgeManagement — Tags: , , — sandokan65 @ 11:02

It appears that every modern tech company feels that it is a home of bunch of visionaries, of technical prodigies that are entitled to keep changing user experience (of their products) all the time. Adding new features would be fine. Providing alternate (frequently better) ways of doing something (that was already doable within product) is also fine. Removing long present features is not fine. Doing so is akin to an invitation to an religions war. It insults users by implying that developer knows better that all users what is better for them. Is every developer under impression that he has to do bold arrogant moves like Steve Jobs use to do or Microsoft does all the time?

Few recent examples follow.

1) Atlassian Confluence wiki removal of wiki markup

Confluence used to be one of the best wiki engines. Rich in features, suitable for corporate deployment. Its downsides are that it is written in Java, hard to install and properly configure – but if you have someone else take these administrative jobs from your hand, it used to be very powerful knowledge management platform.

In version 4 of Confluence, the Atlassian removed the wiki markup editor.

2) Firefox removing users’ ability to switch off JavaScript

  • “Firefox 23 Makes JavaScript Obligatory” by Ian Elliot (at his bloh “I Programmer”; 2013.07.01) – http://www.i-programmer.info/news/86-browsers/6049-firefox-23-makes-javascript-obligatory.html
    • Why has Mozilla decided that this is the right thing to do?The simple answer is that there is a growing movement to reduce user options that can break applications. The idea is that if you provide lots of user options then users will click them in ways that aren’t particularly logical. The result is that users break the browser and then complain that it is broken. For example, there are websites that not only don’t work without JavaScript, but they fail in complex ways – ways that worry the end user. Hence, once you remove the disable JavaScript option Firefox suddenly works on a lot of websites.

      This seems very reasonable, but removing options from dumb users also removes them from the expert user – and that’s us. Reducing freedom, even freedom to crash the application, can be seen as a bad thing. And if reducing that freedom exposes the browser user to all manner of nasties, then it is even more a bad thing.

  • “Firefox 23 Makes JavaScript Obligatory” (SlashDot; 2013.07.16) – http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/07/01/1547212/firefox-23-makes-javascript-obligatory
  • Bugzilla@Mozilla – Bug 873709: “Firefox v23 – “Disable JavaScript ” Check Box Removed from Options/Preference… ” – https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=873709
    • User can still go to about:config and change its javascript.enabled parameter manualy.
    • Change is set in stone, as the lead developers have set their mind. Here is the justification for change by one of them: “Checkboxes that kill your product” by Alex Limi – http://limi.net/checkboxes-that-kill/.

Come again? What is the next, removing the navigation/URL window so users can go only to predefined links on their home portals?

Comment added later:

3) FireFox removed right-click option to send a page link

FireFox Right Click

 

Since version 16 of Mozilla’s FireFox browser, that options is removed. Now it can be found under the File > Send Link location.

FireFox Right Click 2

This is a minor annoyance. One can either reprogram his mind and start using the new location, or install extension “Send Link in context menu” (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/send-link-in-context-menu/).

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