Why is commercial software so crap?

This is a discussion on Why is commercial software so crap? within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Why is commercial software so crap? I'm not talking about Excel or Microsoft SQL Server. I'm talking about the lowly ...

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    1,831

    Why is commercial software so crap?

    Why is commercial software so crap? I'm not talking about Excel or Microsoft SQL Server. I'm talking about the lowly NOTEPAD. Why are the writers of notepad / WordPad so stupid?

    I've got a relatively large 41 MB .txt file - tab separated values...
    It takes forever to load into memory...

    Question 1: why load the entire thing into memory? Surely this would be the 1st attempt of a quick-and-dirty computer 101 student. Who
    would then get a barely passing grade.

    Then it takes roughly 30 seconds to do a paste of a 6-character string about 1/2 way in the file...
    Funny, I can type in the 6 characters faster than the "paste" operation. No delays whatsoever with each keystroke. Something seriously wrong there.

    Question 2: Why was it so poorly written as to move the entire 41 MB file, for EACH and EVERY character? I'm just guessing that's what's going on internally. Who writes crap like this? I think if I tried to do a 41 MB memcpy that many times it would still be faster than this.

    When I get "about Notepad", it proudly displays a Windows 7 Professional screen. Wow, I wouldn’t be bragging about it. They could have saved face if it was credited to something like Joe's Notepad (TM), written for TRS-80 Model I, copyright 1981 or something.

    I guess my rant boils down to why we accept such shoddy programming from "professionals", who no doubt get paid a whole lot more by Microsoft for their work than most of us poor slobs here do... and yet we write complicated stuff day-to-day. Not just stuff like a basic "notepad" editor.

    I mean, c'mon, people. Ever heard of buffering, indexing, linked list... y'know, computer 201 !!!! before applying to work at Microsoft... or is that too much to expect.

    I couldn't make a slower program unless I tried real hard to put in a lot of bubble sorts for no reason. Sheesh.

    Why do we put up with crap software from the "professionals", when I'm sure many of us here on this forum could do a better job.

    I am using 3.33 GHz Intel hexacore Xenon X5680 (24 virtual cores) with 4 GB RAM.
    Last edited by nonoob; 02-18-2011 at 01:58 PM.

  2. #2
    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The edge of the known universe
    Posts
    32,484
    Because M$ free tools are basically proof of concept toys.
    It probably took someone no more than a few days to lash together, and it wasn't worth spending any more development money on it.

    If you want a decent code editor, then you need to get some 3rd party app.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
    If at first you don't succeed, try writing your phone number on the exam paper.
    I support http://www.ukip.org/ as the first necessary step to a free Europe.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    1,831
    I agree that's a very feasible scenario as to NOTEPAD's history.
    I guess I'm now wondering, in this era of giga-byte RAM where editing huge files is not an unreasonable expectation, no one has bothered to re-write it. "About Notepad" shows:
    Windows 7 Professional (why even say this? NOTEPAD.exe should work ok without mention of operating system)
    Version 6.1... Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. - oh really? Its sluggishness suggests it is version 0.1, a proof-of-concept quick & dirty tool.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6,245
    Poor craftsmen whine about deficiencies of their tools. Good craftsmen seek better tools, create better tools if necessary, and work to use them well.
    Right 98% of the time, and don't care about the other 3%.

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    9,547
    Notepad was most likely written as a test vehicle for their edit control... originally intended to load and manipulate no more than 32k of data.

    And there's the little matter that jobs like that most often fall to (unpaid) interns who are basically campaining the company for a real job.

    As has been pointed out already, a lot of default OS tools are little more than proof of concept pieces of no real value in the big world.

    Then, on the larger scope... In my experience there is something lacking in EVERY windows program. It's different in each program, but it just seems that every one of them has some deficiency that rears it's ugly head at the worst of all possible times.

  6. #6
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    7,435
    Notepad limitations are by design. This is a simple edit class. Always was, probably always will be. Notepad was already seconded by MSDOS text editors, including MS own MS Editor.

    It has also nothing to do with being commercial or not. Notepad is an historic application in the windows environment with a very clear and understood purpose. It was never meant to handle large files. All changes ever performed to Notepad throughout its long history have been either just a consequence of changes to the underlying class in the windows api, or an understandable need to support multiple languages. Contrary to its cousin, MS Paint, Notepad never got revamped. Why should it? With so few features, why would anyone want to use it for editing/perusing 40 Mb files?
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  7. #7
    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    7,239
    If you want to do real work get a real text editor. I don't think Microsoft makes any claims that Notepad is some kind of actual application. The only reason it exists is so you can edit .ini files on a freshly installed system.
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

  8. #8
    'Allo, 'Allo, Allo
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    611
    I think Notepad is the only app with more hidden features than actual ones. Apart from outing Bush as a fact hider, if you create a file with ".LOG" (no quotes) at the start, save it and reopen the saved file you'll be amazed. No idea what use it has, but yeah it's there.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    9,596
    Notepad is terrible but I can't count how many times I've used it to read some simple text files. It is not good for large files and this is a limitation of the edit control. Notepad++ is my text editor of choice these days. Claiming commercial software is crap and using Notepad as proof is absurd.

  10. #10
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    7,656
    Quote Originally Posted by adeyblue View Post
    I think Notepad is the only app with more hidden features than actual ones. Apart from outing Bush as a fact hider, if you create a file with ".LOG" (no quotes) at the start, save it and reopen the saved file you'll be amazed. No idea what use it has, but yeah it's there.
    I don't think anything you could find in the Help files is exactly as hidden as Bush's facts.

    Did you know Excel 97 had a hidden flight sim? That is my idea of an easter egg!

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,170
    And the line wrap is broken. Has been broken through 7 versions of Windows (thankfully Microsoft named Windows 7 Windows 7, otherwise I probably wouldn't be able to count them).

    It's not about a missing feature or feature request. It's a major, easily reproducible, and very annoying bug, that has been with Notepad for however many years it has been in existence. Still there in Windows 7.

    I'm sure it's trivial to fix, but their attitude of "just not going to bother" disgusts me. I would never do that to any program I write, that I am truly proud of. If they don't want to fix it, at least take it out. Or just find some startup with a good text editor program and buy it out. Anything is better than just letting it sit there and rot.

  12. #12
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    7,435
    It's one of those bugs that could have turned out cool. The extra CR is what actually ruins it.

    Didn't know about this bug. Thanks.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    1,831
    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    Claiming commercial software is crap and using Notepad as proof is absurd.
    So sorry. I meant "commercial" in the sense that it's part of Microsoft's bundled package, and Microsoft operating systems are commercial. I did in no way indent to malign 3rd party commercial software companies outside of Microsoft.

    Did I mention that Microsoft Office Word 2007 does similar supidities? Reads the entire 41 MB file which takes a loooong time, and if you force it to scroll to the bottom you can literally see how the line count increases as it's still loading.

    Now all the apologists can please tell me why this editor, supposedly much more "professional" than NOTEPAD, is similarly useless for editing large files. Again I would conjecture that this program has not been touched by people who attended 2nd semester computer class.

    cyberfish, can you elaborate on the line-wrap problem?
    [ Never mind. I found an explanation: http://bavih.blogspot.com/2008/07/notepad-bug.html ]

    CommonTater, your comment "And there's the little matter that jobs like that most often fall to (unpaid) interns who are basically campaining the company for a real job."... Is a good insight and I believe accurate.

    Here is the explanation of the "Bush hid the facts" conspiracy theory:
    http://www.hoax-slayer.com/bush-hid-...s-notepad.html
    Last edited by nonoob; 02-21-2011 at 11:55 AM.

  14. #14
    Programming Wraith GReaper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Greece
    Posts
    1,622
    Never mind, i followed nonoob's link and now understand what's going on!

    EDIT: Actually, the bug that i have found is different. It happens in WORDPAD. When i load a text file that has the CR|LF as end-of-line, all of the text is printed as one line with spaces!
    Also, when the file ends with CR only, notepad does something similar!
    Last edited by GReaper; 02-21-2011 at 12:32 PM.
    Devoted my life to programming...

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,170
    I've had to edit a 15GB text file once (Wikipedia XML dump), and couldn't find any graphical text editor (Windows and Linux) that can do it. I had to use command line tools.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Popular pages Recent additions subscribe to a feed

Similar Threads

  1. Senior Software Engineer - Client Apps
    By iwannawork in forum Projects and Job Recruitment
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-17-2010, 10:07 PM
  2. Senior Software Engineer - Linux
    By iwannawork in forum Projects and Job Recruitment
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-17-2010, 10:00 PM
  3. Is it possible to write commercial software?
    By Puddin in forum C++ Programming
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 03-21-2002, 07:17 PM
  4. Software Licensing
    By jester in forum A Brief History of Cprogramming.com
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-30-2001, 05:42 PM
  5. Borland License and commercial software
    By jester in forum Windows Programming
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-30-2001, 08:46 AM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21