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Re: [eclipse-dev] Major data-destroying usability bugs


Dan Fish wrote:

Hello all,

I have been using Eclipse for the past two weeks solid, and before I tear
you all a new one, I would like to say that I generally find the tool
pleasurable to use, with many innovative features.  I have used a total of
five different software development tools on my current project, and it is
by far the best one.  But...

Eclipse has a mess of major cascading data-destroying usability bugs:

1) Eclipse has no distinction between "delete from project" and "delete file
from disk".  Just because I don't want a file in my project doesn't mean
that I want it deleted from my file system.  Often, there are
project-related files that are kept in project folders with code, such as
design documents, that Eclipse does not need to know about. I certainly
don't want that stuff cluttering up my Package Explorer when I'm trying to
get work done. In addition, many other dev tools make this distinction, so
the expectations of many developers will be that these are not the same

2) Eclipse does not make it clear that it will actually be deleting the
files from the disk when it pops up a panel.  You see, when an app has an
action "do X" and the alert panel says "really do X" then in the user's
mind, they are confirming that they issued the command. If there is a
conceptual error about what X really means, then this panel does not leave
the user any better informed, such that they really *can* be sure that X is
what they want to do. This panel should say, "Really destroy the files on
your hard disk?" and the buttons should be labeled "Destroy forever" and

3) Eclipse puts a window up during deletion, but the cancel button is not
responsive.  What a cruel trick on the user.  Once I realized what it was
doing, I wasted crucial seconds hammering on the cancel button, when I
should have been killing the app.

4) Eclipse does not place the files it is deleting into the recycle bin,
like a well-behaved application, it just wipes them off your disk. In
combination with the above usability problems, this is deadly.  There is
simply no excuse for this.

5) The Eclipse environment gets corrupted too easily.  This was the genesis
of the whole problem. I had to forcefully shut down my machine, and when
Eclipse came up, it had taken every file in the project folder and added
them to the project.  Two other dev tools I had open at the time of
shutdown, MS Visual C++ and TI Code Composer, did not get screwed up, but
Eclipse did.  So then I go to remove those files from the project ... and
you know what happens next.

People, these are embarrassing, bush league mistakes.

And if anybody makes any comments about "you should back up your data" or
"did you read the manual" or "your fault for not understanding how the tool
works" then you just don't deserve the privilege of writing software that
other people are going to use.

Finally, here is a link to Amazon for the book "The Design of Everyday
Things" by Don Norman.  If you are working on the UI, and have not read it,
you must read it.  If you have already read it, based on what I have seen,
you probably should read it again.


PS  If you think the email is too harsh, then tough noogies. I am only
taking the time to compose and send it because I actually give a damn about
the tool, and want it to get better.

eclipse-dev mailing list

Phil Goodwin, Java Software, Sun Microsystems, 408.276.7090, or x17090

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