development Felix

It should just work

By far, the most common tech-support inquiry I get has to do with the DHTML edit control. Until now, Felix has used this control to provide WYSIWYG (visual) editing of translation entries.

The problem is that as of Windows Vista, Windows no longer ships with this control, although it’s still available as a download. I’ve kept the DHTML edit control until now because Microsoft’s replacement doesn’t include all the functionality of this control. Currently, if the DHTML edit control isn’t installed then it’s not possible to edit translation records, or do several other actions from Felix involving translation entries.

Although the download page for Felix includes a prominent notice that Vista and Windows 7 users need to install this component, together with a link, many users fail to see this, and download the installer only, expecting Felix to just work.

And they’re right. Software should just work. Users don’t care about excuses like “it’s hard” or “it’s this other software’s fault.” And they shouldn’t need to care. It’s our job as developers to make it feel easy, even when it’s not.

That’s why the next release of Felix (due by end-November) will eliminate this dependency on the DHTML edit control. Hopefully it will also eliminate the single biggest stumbling block for people trying Felix.

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