Sunday, July 12, 2009

nuBuilder Simplicity

Often we get suggestions about what could be added to nuBuilder.
The problem is every time we add something, nuBuilder gets a bit more complex.

Take something like creating a mask for a Text Object, eg for phone numbers '(__) ___ _____'.

Now there are times that this might come in handy, BUT if we add a field that allows a mask, it means everytime a developer adds a new Text Object they have to a least ask the question,"Do I apply a mask" and 99 percent of the time the answer will be no.

This means we would have added complexity (even though quite small) all for a feature rarely used. Now times that by all the other suggestions that have some merit and you have a pretty complicated group of fields that may need addressing just to create a simple Text Object.

A book I've been reading called Made to Stick calls this "feature creep" and uses a TV's remote control as an analogy of what happens when you add too many features to something that should be simple to use (page 48).

Now having said all that there are still 3 ways that can be used to create a mask, for example, in nuBuilder.

  • Write a bit of Javascript. (for a once off solution)

  • Write a javascript function that starts with nu eg. 'nuMask' and send it to us to be included in the next version of nuBuilder, so everyone can use it.(This simplifies the making of masks that everyone can use but doesn't add an extra option to be answered everytime a Text Object is created.)

  • Create a nuBuilder Plug-in. (That does add the field to the text object tab, to be used by anyone who does think it would be a good idea.)

Now, we are not saying that nuBuilder is not going to be improved, we still have a lot of ideas, but considering that any additions to its interface would mean extra complexity for users (not to mention changes to our video tutorials) our intent is to keep this as simple as possible.

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