What impresses you?



  • Most of us use several programs a day, an operating system or two, a framework here and there. When was the last time you used something and said to yourself "this is a really well designed piece of software"?

     



  • Launchy on Windows. I found it to be very responsive, had sane defaults, and was completely unobtrusive.



  • Launchy looks interesting.

    I'm not a designer but I find photoshop to be pretty amazing - all the image processing stuff of course, and also the UI, which is well designed.



  • @chebrock said:

    I'm not a designer but I find photoshop to be pretty amazing - all the image processing stuff of course, and also the UI, which is well designed.
     

    You're joking right?  I personally wouldn't consider the UI well designed - I personally hate having the drop downs to get at sub-tools.  The image processing features are nice, but the biggest plus to Photoshop is extensive library of third-party plugins not necessarily the native functionality.

    Honestly, the two last pieces of software I found really well designed were SQL Server 2008 especially the intellisense in the query designer - not original but a lot faster than the plugins I've used and RedGates SQL Compare tools - also incredibly fast at detecting differences between databases.



  • @chebrock said:

    Most of us use several programs a day, an operating system or two, a framework here and there. When was the last time you used something and said to yourself "this is a really well designed piece of software"?

     

     

    Visual Studio 2008

    SQL Server Enterprise Manager

     Amazon.com website

     Visual SVN Server (Note: not made by MS)

    VMWare Converter and VMWare ESX Server (Note: VMWare Player sucks)

    Listchecker (used for hosting games on Battle.net for Warcraft 3)

    Outlook 2007 w/ Exchange Server

    Pidgin



  •  3ds Max 2009.

     Newegg.com

     

     

    ...

     

    Windows Vista.

     ducks



  • foobar2000.

    Opera. Except it also has some features that don't mesh with me and that's why I don't use it.

     

    @lpope187 said:

    The image processing features are nice, but the biggest plus to Photoshop is extensive library of third-party plugins not necessarily the native functionality.

    I don't use any, except save-to-ico, and I still find PS impressive. It just works, and works well.

    @lpope187 said:

    I personally wouldn't consider the UI well designed - I personally hate having the drop downs to get at sub-tools. 

    That's unfortunate. But you have to put that choice step somewhere. You could also group all those filter-brushes (blur, smudge, burn, dodge) into one, but then you'd need a dropdown in the tool options palette. That's just shifting the problem.

    Cycle through subtools with Shift+Toolkey



  • @chebrock said:

    When was the last time you used something and said to yourself "this is a really well designed piece of software"?

     


    Whenever I use something I have written myself. (just kidding, a lot of the stuff I do rather belongs to the front page)

    The last software product that really impressed me was KDE2, back in 2000.
    Currently I'm somewhat pleased by Google's Chrome browser.



  • - EMS MSSQL/MySQL Manager ,

    - EMS DB Comparer,

    (no I do not work for them I'm just a happy customer)

    (btw. their Datacomparer sucks)

    - Thunderbird 

     

    agree with :

    - tster VS 2008 & EnterpriseManager

    - lpope Query Analyser 

     



  •  MS Paint... nuf said



  • @Master Chief said:

    Windows Vista.

     ducks

    Why "ducks"?  Vista is pretty good, although I'm not sure I could call it impressive.  However, you're not going to get flamed for saying you think Vista is impressive. 



  • @amischiefr said:

     MS Paint... nuf said

     

    I do think Paint.NET is very nice to use, quick and simple, and overall quite well done. 



  • @chebrock said:

    Most of us use several programs a day, an operating system or two, a framework here and there. When was the last time you used something and said to yourself "this is a really well designed piece of software"?

    I have a few.  Strangely for the software world, I use as evidence that the item "stands the test of time".  For example:

    Somewhere in the early history of my company, someone wrote a precompiler for Cobol.  It fixes alot of the limitations of Cobol, like not being able to put a variable/constant into a variable definition.  (That is, Cobol requires VAR   PIC X(5) but the precompiler allows me to do VAR   PIC X([VARSIZE]).  It also allows macros and some other useful features.  To my knowledge, this precompiler has never needed to be tweaked or bugfixed in at least the last 15 years.  It's the one thing that allows me - an avid Cobol-hater - to keep working with "Cobol" happily.

    The application I work on is a 911 dispatching system.  We're always modifying and customizing the thing for our customers.  Motorola sells new mobile computers, so we write new interface drivers, mapping comes along, we write new drivers, etc.  Plus they ask for new functionality all the time.  It's pretty exciting.  It's written in a combination of Cobol and Macro (assembler).  But what impresses me is that this system was originally coded to run on DEC Vax machines back in the 1970's.  We've since "ported" it to run on the Alpha platform and now on the Integrity platform, where "porting" is little more than recompiling.  It's just too cool for words that this thing's been going for over 30 years with the hardware platform being swapped out from under it twice. 

    Which of course leads me to the reason why that is possible... VMS (marketed as OpenVMS) which is the OS that was written for Vaxes (32-bit), ported to Alphas (32 or 64 bit), and ported again to Integrity machines (64-bit).  Yes, I'm a bigot, but I'll happily claim that VMS is the most elegantly-designed OS ever.  I love the VMS engineers and worship at their feet.  A few weeks ago some ditzy business analyst tried to explain to me and a coworker how clustering works using Windows as her example and I almost laughed in her face.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Why "ducks"?  Vista is pretty good, although I'm not sure I could call it impressive.  However, you're not going to get flamed for saying you think Vista is impressive. 

     

    Most websites nail Vista to the cross and you on the cross right next to it if you don't flame the hell out of it.

    Personally my only gripe with it were those damn "What are you doing Dave?" messages.  And I found out how to disable them so, I'm good with Vista now.



  • @chebrock said:

    Most of us use several programs a day, an operating system or two, a framework here and there. When was the last time you used something and said to yourself "this is a really well designed piece of software"?

    Aldus/Adobe PageMaker (up to 6.0).

    Quicken 2001

    System 7.1 (MacOS, before they called it "MacOS")

    Foxpro 2.5 (it did kick DBase ass back then!)

    KDE3

    Qt Designer (for KDE3).

    VisualAge 4

    3D Studio Max 2.5, but then that was the last 3D Studio version I ever used.

    PGP, even the newer versions.



  • I'm not impressed by anything because I'm really cool... but... 

    Fireworks.. for my kind of work i'll take it over photohsop anytime. It has improved my productivity when working web graphics, and it shows it was designed to do that. 

    Sony Vegas (formerly sonic foundry's) it's IMO the best video editing tool available for Windows. Once again, it makes my workflow much faster and I can concentrate on editing, instead of fiddling around with the software to make it work.  It's faster than premier, pinnacle, avid, etc.  I find it very intuitive, and best of all, it's not a resource hungry beast. I can make it work on my cheap ass lapotp flawlessly. 

    So basically I like software that makes my life easier and not the other way around.

     



  • Another vote for Sony Vegas, and weechat. It follows the principle of least astonishment well.

    Also... I find vi well designed.



  • @Master Chief said:

    Most websites nail Vista to the cross and you on the cross right next to it if you don't flame the hell out of it.

    Yeah, but we try to maintain a higher standard here. 



  • ed is quite impressive, too

    My favourite program of all time is [url=http://www.greenwoodsoftware.com/less/index.html]less[/url]. Don't know why.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Yeah, but we try to maintain a higher standard here. 
    What are these "standards" you speak of?



  • The GMail web interface, when "ajax" was still a washing powder in most peoples mind. In a "Is that genious or madness?" kind of way...

    In a similar "genious/madness" sense, the code of starcraft2.com.



  • ... or rather starcraft2.com ...



  • @PSWorx said:

    The GMail web interface, when "ajax" was still a washing powder in most peoples mind.

    Oddly, Gmail isn't really AJAX in the strictest sense of the word.  It interacts with the server through a bunch of hidden iframes sending GET requests.  Some of it is a little AJAX-y, but I've got some custom Greasemonkey plugins to fix glaring functionality and interface omissions and I can tell you it was painful to write them.  I had to capture network traffic to decipher what was going on because the damn page made so many requests and had so many levels of nested iframes firing off various events and lots of really ugly HTML and Javascript.  And yes, I did provide my list of improvements to Google, but nothing has been done about them yet and I figured I should fix the problems for myself in the meantime. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Oddly, Gmail isn't really AJAX in the strictest sense of the word.  It interacts with the server through a bunch of hidden iframes sending GET requests.
    The more I know, the more twitches I get when thinking about computers.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I've got some custom Greasemonkey plugins to fix glaring functionality and interface omissions and I can tell you it was painful to write them. 
     

    Have you posted them anywhere so others may benefit from your work? Sounds like a pretty useful script if it fixes glaring functionality and interface omissions.  Any specific examples of what it does fix? I use yahoo mail more often than gmail but in general I have found that gmail works quite well.

    Anyway, ironically I guess, I'd say that gmail is definitely a web application that impressed me quite a bit when it first came out. (but not until they finally added a DELETE button!)



  • jQuery. I swear it has actually made coding web application UIs not only tolerable, but sometimes even fun.


    Before that, I'd have to back quite a few years. IntelliJ IDEA really wowed me.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @PSWorx said:

    The GMail web interface, when "ajax" was still a washing powder in most peoples mind.

    Oddly, Gmail isn't really AJAX in the strictest sense of the word.  It interacts with the server through a bunch of hidden iframes sending GET requests.  Some of it is a little AJAX-y, but I've got some custom Greasemonkey plugins to fix glaring functionality and interface omissions and I can tell you it was painful to write them.  I had to capture network traffic to decipher what was going on because the damn page made so many requests and had so many levels of nested iframes firing off various events and lots of really ugly HTML and Javascript.  And yes, I did provide my list of improvements to Google, but nothing has been done about them yet and I figured I should fix the problems for myself in the meantime. 

     

    Well, no objection that it's still ugly as hell, even moreso since they seem to generate most of their code automatically today. But as for XHR, weren't they the ones that made that API popular in the first place? In any way, Firebug reports 35 XHR calls (most of them POST) and 5 non-XHR requests (GET) after a gmail session about a minute long. So if they used iframes for communication in the beginning, they seem to have switched by now.



  • @PSWorx said:

    Well, no objection that it's still ugly as hell, even moreso since they seem to generate most of their code automatically today. But as for XHR, weren't they the ones that made that API popular in the first place? In any way, Firebug reports 35 XHR calls (most of them POST) and 5 non-XHR requests (GET) after a gmail session about a minute long. So if they used iframes for communication in the beginning, they seem to have switched by now.

    Yes, it definitely uses some XHR, but I believe most of those are for the ads, tickers and chat functionality.  The actions you perform on a mailbox are still done through iframes with GET requests.  I don't know how new messages are pulled in because I never needed to pull the messages myself, so that may be XHR. 



  •  I don't often use a bit of software that i think "wow, this is really solid, sensible and well made" but here's a few from me

    Visual Studio 2008, it's such a nice IDE, so many project types, awesome intellisense, more features that you can poke a stick at without feeling bloated.

    googletalk/gmail/google calendar/google docs

    we use this for work and it totally beats the hell out of the outlook/office alternative for ease of use

     Synergy, one ugly interface but when it's set up it is seamless, (for those who don't know it allows you to share a single keyboard and mouse accross several computers)it's great when you have a bunch of computers on your desk and works on Windows/Linux/OSX



  • I agree with Paint.NET - it seems quite well designed and has a decent number of features without feeling too bloated. I am the least artistic person in the world but I've managed to create a few website graphics in it without too much pain.

    I also agree with jQuery. I don't know what I did without it! It makes developing Javascript so much quicker and easier. It's pretty solid as well.

    I do like TortoiseSVN as well.



  •  Adobe Page Maker

    I had to write up the program for my senior recital.  Someone pointed me towards a computer lab with Page Maker.  I sat down never having used it before, had my program designed in no time, converted it to a PDF and was on my way to the printer.  It was intuitive, easy to use, and well designed for its intended purpose.



  • Spore. Procedural generation taken to new heights.



  • @Pesto said:

     Adobe Page Maker

    Nice. Someone remembers this one as well. It used to be one of the Macintosh Killer Apps; maybe the killer app when it first came out.



  • I guess the thread locking feature is somewhat buggy in CS.



  • @DrJokepu said:

    I guess the thread locking feature is somewhat buggy in CS.
     

    Thread locking seems to work ok, but banning is definitely broken.



  • @ammoQ said:

    Thread locking seems to work ok, but banning is definitely broken.

    It's Ban 2.0, which throws out your tired, old conceptions of moderation in favor of a bold new vision for a rounded, pastel-colored future.  Zesty.



  • Notepad++ - very nice editor on Windows. It just works, and well, except when the main dev releases new stuff and it breaks again :(

    Geany - very nice editor on Windows and *nix. Not as feature-rich as Notepad++, but then, it's on *nix so it doesn't have to be (easy to script something) and decent regex search/replace makes most tasks pretty painless.

    Scintilla - the magic underpinning the above editors, and a swag of others.

    Subversion - having been subjected to many lesser revision control systems, and a few really big Enterprise-y ones, I really like the simple way this works, and the fact that it knows what a directory is and how to manage its history. The Windows GUI, TortoiseSVN, is pretty good too. The *nix GUI, RapidSVN... not so much.

    ...nearly nominated MediaWiki, which I think it pretty cool, but... something about it pisses me off...



  • IBM Websphere Studio Application Developer (just kidding... )

    Eventhough it is (just) a framework and not a program, I'd like to mention RoR. That being said I should mention Aptana as well. It is easily installed over Eclipse or as a Standalone and provides plenty of great tools.

     


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