Friday, March 05, 2010

Mac Interface Builder

I hope to one day look back on my na├»vety and have a hearty laugh at my expense but now as I climb the steep learning curve of the Mac's Interface Builder tool I am only able to curse the names of all the designers and developers responsible.  I know the Mac team has an unassailable reputation for wonderful UI but, at this point, I can only assume that when they worked on this tool they were all suffering from Dengue fever .

Magic may be wonderful for Grandma's email reader but in a development tool it is not something I look for.  As developers it's our job to know how things work and this thing hides all the details.  The Interface Builder relies on you to write code to bind to the magic object it creates and it provides no hints about what that code might be.  The tool is happy to read the code you've written to try and bind to objects that you've previously identified but doesn't have the common courtesy to generate a comment or a stub when your create an object graphically.  I hate boilerplate code as much as the next guy but when you're trying to understand how stuff works it really can be a big help.

Beyond the difficulties of understanding Interface Builders 'world view', its user interface is troublesome as well.  At its core it uses drag and drop connection widgets that don't even offer a little bubble help to suggest what you might do with the things. 

 
How the hell is the average person supposed to figure out that this little circle, with a plus sign that appears when you hover over it, is supposed to be clicked on and dragged to another magic object.  This isn't the first time I've used a Mac.  I'm aware of Mac using drag interface elements more than Windows or Linux but please at least give some hint that that's the nature of the widget.  In this case there was none.

As I said at the beginning, I truly hope one day I'll look back and realize I was a complete moron for not seeing and understanding the obvious genius of this tool.  But for now my less than flattering opinion stands.  Regardless I have to climb the hill and figure this thing out.

I'll send another report if the view improves.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Nuance is Hiring

The team I work on is looking for some talent.  We build direct to consumer stuff for smart phones - primarily iPhone but potentially other platforms as well.  Here's the job description : http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/sof/1608283373.html Strong C skills and a personality that fits in with a bunch of software nerds are both required.  Experience with mobile development of any kind would be nice but is not essential.
 
The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism