Jaguar User Interface
This area is the most mixed of all; with some huge wins and still pretty annoying losses/omissions.
- 👍 New PDF based imaging engine (Quartz): Fantastic quality. PDF is more open standard for imaging. I think that we got it as much because of NeXTs NIH (and it was closer to what they were used to), than anything else. But certainly it is more open than QuickDraw or QuickDraw GX was (Apple's old imaging). I do think GX had some better typography features, some UI improvements and print features, and the more object based imaging was ìinterestingî (even if implementation had some issues). But overall, Quartz is way cool, and enables some great features. Some are misused (translucent menu's are not good), but most are wins.
- 👍 One win that is just awesome is shadows. I know it is a little thing, but I think casting real shadows on cursors and windows fits the spirit of the interface much better than the little two pixel black thing did; but it just wasn't performant until Moore's law made things fast enough. While Quartz Extreme is a memory pig (orders of magnitude beyond QDGX), qualitatively and performance wise it is a step in the right direction. I would like to see more 2D rendering acceleration through the video cards: but it really improves the smoothness of the interface, and offloads the processor nicely.
- 👍 OpenGL follows that same theme. I'd have liked it if Apple tried to borrow more from QuickDraw-3D and put it into OpenGL (and feedback into the community); and not doing so felt like NeXT's NIH rearing its tyrannical and ugly head. But overall, OpenGL is the right trend, "Plays well with others", and the implementation has been very good.
- 🤔 The controls vary. I keep thinking about that stupid little combobox, and thinking "nooooo!! Don't you guys understand Interface at all?" That's a huge step backwards. But most of the other controls are good. Some additions like the little pimple (blackhead) in the close box, to tell you it is ripe and you need to save before it pops, is an excellent subtle user feedback. I always thought it should be a little more informative or look like something that fits a metaphor, (a pen, a disk, something like that and near the close), but it works well either way; people get it, and use it.
- 👍 Aqua: general look of is very nice. It is clean, bright, and usable. I like anti-aliased, even if I war with it (rarely), it really is a better use of a display overall. While Apple had some "resolution independence" built into QD (and more in GX), it had issues and was never fully utilized. Quartz also has far better 1:1 mapping between the on-screen and printer imaging: which fully fits everything that is good interface and the goal of the Mac (WYSIWYG).
- 👎 Aqua: is wasteful of screen real estate. I don't need big icons everywhere and panels/tiles that I can't make go away. Some will be mitigated as pixel densities and resolutions go up, the room for complaints about that goes down. Sort of Moore's law applied to imaging and interface I believe that Aqua and Quartz gives them far more possibilities. And I'd love to see 150 - 200 DPI displays, with some dynamic reduction capabilities.
- 👎 Shell : Apple used to have a good command line shell in MPW, with things like integrated help or extensibility (I could add menus, customizability and so on). Terminal is a step backwards from that. We went back to UNIX's lousy, "you figure it out" methods like man pages.
- 👎 Shell : Apple used to have the same functionality implement in both the command lines and the Graphical User Interface. Now it's in one or the other. Sometimes. Now many functions are separate: with some things in each, and not everything cross wired.
- 👎 Extension Manager : I used to have the extension manager that I could use to control what was running, what could be running, what I could turn off, and so on. I want similar functionality. There is sort of a "startup items" now, and there are ways that I can add things as psuedo-chron jobs and so on but Apple should make them standard, document them, and put an interface on their management. I don't think making users edit plists is the ultimate in management.
- 👎 Dock - the dock sucks (for some types of work/people). There's been a ton of complaints by Mac users how the dock is inferior to what they had. It wastes space, moves things around on you, and is bad UI. If Apple isn't going to fix it, at least make it open and expandable (replaceable). In fact, even if you are going to fix it, make it an open, expandable, and replaceable thing. Right now it feels like a testament to Steve's stubbornness and hubris: "My way or the highway". Not a way to build customer loyalty. 💩
- 👎 Device Drivers : there are more now, and things are getting better. In another few years we'll have the same variety that we used to. This isn't to bash; these things take time and I think that OS X will eventually grow to be better than Mac OS 9 was in this area. But we still haven't caught up yet, and don't try to tell me we have.
- 👎 Print center : I used to think chooser was bad; now I have print center. It's slow, confusing, quirky. And shouldn't it (also drive setup, etc.) be in control panels or the Apple menu? What about scanners, cameras, and so on? I think all of this control panel stuff needs to be reworked to be more open and consistent. I want to go there to set up devices, not wander the hard drive looking for places Apple or others may have hidden things.
- 👎 No auto-mount : Another thing is that I used to set up lots of auto-mount network drives. While I can manually mount network drives in OS X I've never figured out how to auto-mount them. There's probably a way (and I haven't tried hard to find it) but it should be more obvious or be part of the settings for that drive..
- 👎 Internet Settings : Another nice to have is Internet controls that work across the system and are more consistent. Some of this is the fault of Apps that do their own thing (Explorer comes to mind) but fix them or convince them to see the light. The Internet controls worked better in OS 9; where are my helper apps settings?
- 👎 Not Open : it is complex. New Apple uses Open Standards as the foundation of what they do: so they're open. But then they make proprietary solutions on top, without much extensibility or hooks to let others control/override things: so they're more closed. So you get Openness like Apple's Rendevous technology. Then they don't have things like a replaceable dock, themes, control strips and stuff MacOS used to have. I'm not saying they're all great ideas, but I do think there's a selective attitude about what constitutes "open", and they don't always allow extensibility in the ways I want it.
- 👎 Radio and Checkboxes : I like to click on the label and not just the tiny control itself. Sometimes this works, sometimes not.
- 👎 Draggable edges : I liked being able to grab the edge of windows to drag them. Not to mention having some contrast where one window ended and another started. I lost that with the Aqua theme.
- 👎 Command-period : I remember when command-. would stop things.
- 👎 Control Panels menu : I used to be able to quickly go to the control panel item I wanted (through a hierarchy). Apple reverted us back to System 6's control panel where everything is a two stage process: select controls, then find the one you want. While I like the logical grouping better, a menu is an easy thing to implement and much faster to navigate.