“Click… Boom!”

Every once in a while, someone comes up with a very cool little application that does “automatically” something that used to be tedious to create. These days, you hear these “Click… Boom” routines a lot.

It probably because the computer market is finally opening up for real. Computers enter the homes, even those belonging to “non-technical” people. In a few years, coverage will be close to total, in “civilized” countries, and hopefully in currently “underdeveloped countries” as well.

To attract these new customers, computers have to be easy to use. So, yes, a lot of programs now work in a “just click one button, and everything’s done”. Unfortunately, these editors tend to forget that there are people who might want to tweak the output a little bit, or maybe adapt it to their own workflow. In some cases, these “tweakers” can even be the majority.

Let’s take (at random) developers, just for example’s sake. Some people would have us believe that you can create applications with a maximum of “click… boom”, and a minimum of cerebral activity.

If you can make complex apps without tinkering, tweaking, and thinking, I think I should just get some sheep and go in the mountains.

I just spent the week end porting an old application to a modern OS. According to the documentation, it’s easy as replacing the unsupported functions by the newer ones, clicking a checkbox, and boom.

All I can say is that either the documentation has it wrong and writing code is much more complex than that, or I’m just too stupid to click on the right button, but it clearly doesn’t work as advertised.

But then again, I’m a professional, so I guess it’s my job to actually get my hands dirty in the process, using the documentation as a guide, rather than literally. Besides, I love tweaking, tinkering, and fumbling under the hood.

What I DO mind, however, is that customers might just believe in these ads blindly, and take for granted that more or less everything should be “click… boom”, and that as soon as the request comes in, the product goes out. Well… whenever you have something complex, there can’t be a simple way to make it work. As soon as you step outside of the tendered path, things get messy. And you know why you hire developers, right?

  

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