Friday, June 02, 2006

Enterprise Mismanager

I hate hearing programmers complain about developer tools being hard to use - developers should be required to have more intelligence than average users, and in general should trade simple interfaces and well tested software for more complicated, powerful and cutting edge tools. I am posting this, since it is a screen many developers use every day, and hopefully calling attention to this might stop development of similarly bad software in the future.

However restoring databases in SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Manager features one of the worst GUI designs I have seen in a widely accepted product. You have to enter a name for your database on the first tab, and a filename for the data and log on another tab. This is ok, except which tab you are on and which tabs you have visited before effects which file name SQL Server uses.

I am not entirely sure how this works, but I think by default, SQL Server uses the database name as the file name, but it only updates this when you click the 2nd tab. So if you change the name of your database and never click the 2nd tab, it uses the old name. If you click the 2nd tab (and don't do anything else) it uses the new name. If you go to the 2nd tab first and then change the name on the first tab, it uses the old name.

Switching tabs is an operation that should be exclusively read only - this is ridiculous. Did a professional programmer do this on purpose?

The rest of Enterprise Manager is almost as unergonomical - was this designed for 640x480? Why can't I change the size of the fonts or even size the windows?

I have used 2005, but not enough to know if it is really better, or just has different quirks I haven't found yet. Hopefully by the time I am using 2005 more than I use 2000 this silliness will end.

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