Fielded Input Considered Harmful

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News: Fielded Input Considered Harmful

  1. Fielded Input Considered Harmful (5 messages)

    Elliotte Rusty Harold has posted "Fielded Input Considered Harmful," expressing an irritation with user interfaces that cater to the programmers' requirements and not the users' needs. He says we should hide our requirements from the user and make things easy for people to use. The comments are also interesting: some mention a need for general information extraction components, that can be fed data and return reasonable information - although one person takes it a little far:
    I can’t understand why my phone number can’t be input as "two hundred 2, nine five 5 (4 + 1), four thousand two hundred thirty-1." Silly programmers, sheesh!
    A later comment is a little more useful:
    Good topic, very annoying stuff for the user to put up with. It seems like there should be standard UI widgets (or at least after-market OCX-type controls) that take care of the common cases. I must note that many of the Microsoft products are pretty flexible this way. Various apps in the Office suite will accept measurements in "in" or "pi" or "li". Outlook is quite flexible this way, too. And Streets & Trips does very, very well in parsing. You can often copy and paste in a formatted address from a web page and get the results you want.
    Shouldn't Java have a workable library to convert common (and less common, perhaps) expressions? If you know of one, where is it, and why isn't it being used more?

    Threaded Messages (5)

  2. Re: Fielded Input Considered Harmful[ Go to top ]

    Thought I think ERH takes it a bit too far:-), he has a good point. I for example love google maps and how you can pretty much freestyle an address and let it figure out the rest. I think if more input fields where of such, the user experience would be much better. Ilya
  3. Re: Fielded Input Considered Harmful[ Go to top ]

    Thought I think ERH takes it a bit too far:-), he has a good point. I for example love google maps and how you can pretty much freestyle an address and let it figure out the rest. I think if more input fields where of such, the user experience would be much better.

    Ilya
    It'd be great if the stupid computers could just understand English, no? But we're a long way from that, and in the meantime, an interface that only returns search results is fine to play around with - there's nothing to break if the computer mis-interprets. You just try again. But for almost any app any of us are working on, we can't afford to let the computer make such mistakes. This seems like a truly dumb complaint.
  4. Re: Fielded Input Considered Harmful[ Go to top ]

    Shouldn't Java have a workable library to convert common (and less common, perhaps) expressions
    Yes, that would be nice. However, parsing free-form text to correct data isnt quite as easy as Elliot purports it to be. Even the "easy" case of parsing dates can be quite problematic in a i18n aware system. 2006/10/09 is not always the tenth of september, and parsing well or parsing bad has no impact on that.
  5. Re: Fielded Input Considered Harmful[ Go to top ]

    Shouldn't Java have a workable library to convert common (and less common, perhaps) expressions


    Yes, that would be nice.

    However, parsing free-form text to correct data isnt quite as easy as Elliot purports it to be. Even the "easy" case of parsing dates can be quite problematic in a i18n aware system. 2006/10/09 is not always the tenth of september, and parsing well or parsing bad has no impact on that.
    And the consequences of parsing the wrong way can be significant.
  6. The computer parses the right way. It does exactly what it's told. It's the user that's the problem. :) Why can't everyone agree on a standard date format GLOBALLY? Oh, that's right. People are retarded egotists.