Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Late Night With Bryan

As I sit here packing it up for the night (11:15pm or so), I realize I’m way overworked. But I can handle overtime. What is annoying me is that I have spent no less than 12 to 16 hours trying to figure out Microsoft documentation on a standard control. The control in this case is that nice box that can show items in icon view (large or small) or in a details view (report view as they name it).

You would think that this would be an easy thing since it is so commonly used. Granted, had I used my Borland C++ Builder to create this application, I could have finished the task in about 1 hour, but I decided to play nicely with all the other developers I’m working with and use what they’re using, Microsoft Visual C++ .NET.

The problem is not capability. VC++ is perfectly capable of doing what I want. The issue is documentation. Microsoft doesn’t go out of their way to make things easy. Then, to add insult to injury, they poorly document everything so that, even if you can find an example, it never works right, especially if you try to modify it to handle your situation.

I realize this may bore some of you, but the underlying issue here is that Microsoft is poor at documenting everything. This is exactly why small companies sue Microsoft when they can’t make their products compatible as fast as Microsoft can. I’m convinced that Microsoft has internal documentation they don’t release to the public that allows them to stay on top of things, but not their competitors. Thus, a developer spends 90% of their time figuring out code that should only be taking a maximum of 10% of their time to develop, thus wasting time that could be spent improving the product.

It’s also why so many programs contain bugs. It isn’t that programmers don’t want to make their code error free; they just don’t have the time. I will rejoice the day our courts enforce a ruling they’ve put on Microsoft many times that states Microsoft will provide full documentation to competitors. When that happens, I believe we will truly see a competitive application market once again.

» Posted by Queue at 02:31 AM (ET)
Category: Rant


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