Sunday, March 18, 2007

Oracle: Unbreakable 'cause it's already broken

Nothing original here, just a rant: "Imagine issuing a query and getting unexpected results." Why? Because SQL can execute in the wrong schema. Thank you, Oracle. May I have another? (This bit us hard at work.) Seriously, how did this get out the door? Do these people have a QA process? Do banks and brokerages actually rely on Oracle to keep track of money? This is apparently bug 5458753, metalink note 392673.1. Am I overreacting? Jeremy

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Universal search and select

I'm a long-term Emacs user. I keep trying to use other tools, but they come up short on two critical points. Universal search: Every window should feature incremental search. Every editor is searchable, sure, but I want to be able to search the class hierarchy, the debugging backtrace, and, most importantly, the help-screen that displays all the keybindings. I want to do all of this without a dialog window popping up. Furthermore, the search interface should be consistent. Eclipse, for instance, lets me search most of its windows, but the interface is different for the editor (fragment matching, with dialog), the Debug view (wildcard matching, with dialog), and the Outline view (match from beginning of line only, with text-entry-box in the same window.) Universal selection: All text should be selectable/copyable, in whole or in part. I don't ever want to see a filename that I can't highlight, a class name that I can't copy, an error message that I can't xerox into a bug report. In the ideal world, even tooltip text would be selectable. Again, the interface shoujld be consistent. To pick on Eclipse once more, the interface for selection varies by view: in Editor and Console views, I can select arbitrary text, but in Outline and Debug, I can only select an entire line at a time. Of course, I should be able to perform both searching and selection without using the mouse. Emacs makes a mighty ugly GUI toolkit. To its credit, though, you can search every window, and you can select any* contiguous text-fragment. The interface to search and select is identical regardless of which application you're using. It never pops up dialog windows. It's easy to drive from the keyboard. Why aren't all the whizzy new GUIs at least this good? Jeremy [*] The mode-line seems to be an exception to this rule. How irritating.