In praise of preferences

I like to have lots of preferences

Things that I CAN tweak to my liking IF I want to

Not that I do in every product I use for writing code. But its nice to have them. For instance in Xcode and VS Mac there are a TON of settings.

And I’ve customized very few. Why ? The defaults are decently chosen so I dont need to read them all understand them all and then set them.

BBEdit, perhaps my favourite text editor of all, is the same way

I _could_ customize the heck out of it but dont NEED to.

Now some might think “well if you never customize them why have them ?”. I said I never do. Thats not to say no one does. If they weren’t ever used or set they probably wouldn’t be there. But someone, somewhere, probably requested such a thing and these developers responded with a preference that lets people customize things to their liking rather than dictating “No you dont really need that do some thing else”

I’d love to have way more choices for things in Xojo as well.

I know users have long desired a settable “indentation spacing” preference. Maybe a way to disable certain annoying dialogs like the one you get now if you quit the IDE when you are running a debug version of your code (Yes I do know what I’m doing thanks now go away – again and again and again … arg !) Perhaps one to make it possible for users to set their own prefix when converting a regular property to a computed one. I like to use m_ but the IDE uses a plain m

And ones that provide additional customization like if I want a toggle button for line numbers which got removed and is now an IDE wide setting not a PER PROJECT one. Probably great if you only work on one project all the time but when you work on different client projects some like it on some like it off.

A quick search in Xojo’s Issues reveals a bunch of requests for such things

If you want to see some ion these come to pass up vote your favourites !

2 Replies to “In praise of preferences”

  1. Right. I have added a LOT of undocumented preferences to both iClip and Find Any File, all for users who had special requests for which I didn’t want to build a UI (which takes a lot of effort). So I often add their special feature and they can enable it with a “defaults” command in Terminal or with my Prefs Editor.

    It makes my customers very happy, and in return me as well.

    1. I’m in favour of “reasonable defaults” and exposing them – all of them in their ugly glory
      REAL Studio had a few hidden ones. Xojo did as well.
      Eventually most made their way into the UI.

      But there are many many more that need to be settable.
      However, I no longer have to wage that battle about “OMG we cant have too many preferences as every user will want to read every last one and understand them all”
      I call plain BS

      Because Geoff does that doesnt mean everyone does.
      But … no longer my monkey no longer my circus 🙂

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