Sean ‘Early’ Campbell & Scott ‘Adopter’ Swigart’s Radio Weblog suggests a new dialog that should be included in the next Microsoft operating system.
This reminds me of an outside consultant who worked at our company as a project manager for a couple years. We had some serious time constaints on the project and the project had some very complex business scenarios. He would get a little upset when the developers started recommending a bunch of code to protect the users from entering invalid information. We might have a data entry form that had four combo boxes controlling different aspects of the business object. If each combo represented three choices, the form would allow 81 theoretical combinations. However, certain combinations were not valid due to business constraints. Either one of the options needed to be completely disabled or the choices needed to be restricted.
Rather than design a complex state machine to handle the validation, he would argue that the user should know better (which I know was just a defense he used to get the project done on time). He would then say, facetiously, that we would have code that detected when a user chose invalid combinations. When they did, points would be deducted. When they reached a certain deduction level, we would show a dialog that said, “We have determined that you are too stupid to use this application. When you click OK, your computer will be shut down.”