July 9, 2008

Isaac and Ishmael

Surround SCM
As a Macintosh user it’s easy to feel left out by cross platform application vendors. Microsoft is too easy a target (though I can't miss the chance to say I use Entourage every day and it never ceases to make me angry), so I’ll pick on someone my own size. Seapine. Although we have a fully native (that means not Java, you cheaters. You know who you are) client and servers on Linux, Solaris, Mac and Windows we don’t always make them, well, native enough. Make all the command keys match common conventions on that platform. Take advantage of platform specific technology, or the latest UI craze. Now, it’s easier on Linux and Solaris since the only GUI standard is to have one. Everything after that is gravy. And as a long time Windows user and developer I can say that not even Microsoft can always agree on how to do things. But Mac users often have a different expectation. Hitting command W always closes a window. Always. That isn’t to say that all Mac programs religiously follow UI guidelines, and Apple is often offender number 1, but I think that in general things are more uniform and conventions are more commonly adhered to. So what about Surround? Did I mention we have a fully native client? Although we're pretty good in a number of areas, we can do better. Some of our command keys don’t map to the generally agreed to convention. We don’t always follow the latest user interface guidelines (for example, there are a number of places we should be using sheets rather than dialogs on the Mac). I’d probably give us a grade of B minus, but I’m looking to make that an A as soon as possible. That’s were you come in. Since I bounce around between platforms, I sometimes miss places where we aren’t native enough. If something in Surround seems less than Windows/Mac/Linux/Solaris native, drop us a comment either here or at the feature request forum. Since we go through all the effort to create native clients (and servers) on all those platforms, there’s no reason they shouldn't go completely native.