UI toolkits for Python

Alex Martelli aleaxit at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 19 08:23:20 CEST 2005


Mike Meyer <mwm at mired.org> wrote:

> aleaxit at yahoo.com (Alex Martelli) writes:
> > Mike Meyer <mwm at mired.org> wrote:
> >> What surprises me is that marketing types will accept turning away -
> >> what's the current internet user base? 200 million? - 10 million
> >> potential customers without a complaint. Or maybe they just don't get
> >> told that that's what's going on.
> > In firms where marketing has lots of power, they may indeed well decide
> > to pursue those "10 millions" by demanding an expenditure of effort
> > that's totally out of proportion
> 
> What makes you think that the expenditure of effort is "totally out of
> proportion"? In my experience, that isn't the case - at least if you
> go into it planning on doing things that way. Retrofitting a site that
> was built without any thought but "make it work in my favoriter
> browser in my favorite configuration" can be a radically different
> thing.

Why, of course -- coding a site to just one browser would be foolish
(though there exist sites that follow that strategy, it's still
despicable).  What I'm talking about is sites that are _supposed_ to be
able to support a dozen browsers, in three or four versions each, not to
mention a dozen features each of which the user "might" have chosen to
disable (for a total of 2**12 == 4096 possibilities).  Of course, the
site's poor authors cannot possibly have tested the 4096 * 12 * 3.5
possibilities, whence the "_supposed_ to be".

We ARE talking about moving from supporting 95% to supporting
(*supposedly*!) 100%, after all -- very much into the long, *LONG* tail
of obscure buggy versions of this browser or that, which SOME users
within those last centiles may have forgotten to patch/upgrade, etc.
And THAT is what makes the effort totally out of proportion (differently
from the effort to go from 60% to 95%, which, while far from negligible,
is well within sensible engineering parameters).


> > Maybe that's part of the explanation for the
> > outstanding success of some enterprises founded by engineers, led by
> > engineers, and staffed overwhelmingly with engineers, competing with
> > other firms where marketing wield power...?
> 
> You mean like google? Until recently, they're an outstanding example
> of doing things right, and providing functionality that degrades
> gracefully as the clients capabilities go down.

I'm not sure what you mean by "until recently" in this context.  AFAIK,
we've NEVER wasted our efforts by pouring them into the quixotic task of
supporting *100%* of possible browsers that may hit us, with the near
infinite number of combinations of browsers, versions and disabled
feature that this would require.  One may quibble whether the target
percentage should be, say, 93%, 95%, or 97%, and what level of
degradation can still be considered "graceful" around various axes, but
the 100% goal which you so clearly imply above would, in my personal
opinion, be simply foolish now, just as it would have been 3 years ago.


Alex



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