Going behind my back
by Raffi Krikorian
When you follow a bookmark in OmniWeb 4.5 to a site that issues you a HTTP 301, a permanent redirect, OmniWeb puts up this dialog box to give you the option to "fix" your bookmarks.
Joel on software:
... I think it's a nice feature that shouldn't be advertising itself, it should just happen automatically and silently. It's a permanent redirect, that's what it means, and designers of web browsers know that a lot better than users, so why should users be inflicted with the need to make a complicated decision about something they don't understand as well as the software designers? Especially in the form of a modal dialog that interrupts whatever the user is trying to accomplish.
Putting aside the statement "...designers of web browsers know that a lot better than users...", I think Joel is wrong on this one. The permanent redirect is a notification, it is not an authenticated and verified statement; HTTP can't live up to the "burden of trust" necessary perform destructive actions behind a user's back. This is not a valid, authenticated, and secure transaction between the web site's designer and the web site's viewer. Where is the protection for spam and hacking?
Software should not do anything destructive without asking me first. What would happen if Windows's or OS X's software updates just installed without asking you first? How confused would you be when your favorite scanning application stops working because of the latest software update that was installed in the background?
I would agree that this is a UI problem -- the dialog box might be a little confusing if you don't understand what the phrase "permanently redirected" means, but software should not be doing things behind my back. Its not the job of the software engineer to make choices for me, its the job of the software engineer to properly explain to me the choice I have to make.
When software should do things for you
> software should not be doing things behind my
> back. Its not the job of the software engineer
> to make choices for me, its the job of the
> software engineer to properly explain to me the
> choice I have to make.
What's the false positive rate