What happened to the usability of Komodo 9.x

Hello guys,

someone coult tell me what happened to the usability of Komodo 9.x? Just upgraded (unfortunately without testing before cause i thought everything would be fine) and it’s neither working correct nor its usable any more.

Package Manager: My old “Color Tab” extension wasn’t working any more cause i have to manually click to apply in preferences that my tabs would be colored again. So i tried to go to the package manager and review my extensions for eventually upgrades and settings and the experience of the new lightbox popup was awful. It looks like a “i must be fancy cause i’m new” but its confusing like hell. I cant move the window, you cannot identify buttons of things you can click, everything is crowded and a single click outside the window closes it. Well done guys, did you ever worked with that?

New Search pane. Whose idea was it to hide important search function behind changing icons (match case, ignore case, …)? Everytime i have to hover over the icons and try to figure out which state is for which option. You really need an interface designer urgently!
Otherwise: Same problems as the package manager, just tried to search for something, strg+f, typed searchtext, clicked “files”, selected files to search -> and then i scrolled upwards in my opened file just to look for something…bam…everything i just typed in the search dialog was gone and reopening didn’t save the old input. Good job!

This was just 10 minutes of trying to use it and i had a rant like hell because if this is the direction komodo is going, it will be no more usable for me in future. I didn’t continue with work cause even the basics things were catastrophic in case of usability. Komodo should be something to assist in work and helps working up tasks easy and quickly - but thats the exact opposite. Reminds me a little bit of the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Its all about “fancyness”.

I think i have to reverto to 8.x to continue working or maybe try another software which usability is better (after 12 years working with komodo). Sad but true.

I’m working with Commando (Package Manager is a scope for Commando) every day, you just need to get used to it. You can open old Add-on Manager by entering this command in Console (open the bottom pane and navigate to Console tab): ko.windowManager.openOrFocusDialog("chrome://mozapps/content/extensions/extensions.xul", "Addons:Manager")[quote=“petewulf, post:1, topic:2662”]

Otherwise: Same problems as the package manager, just tried to search for something, strg+f, typed searchtext, clicked “files”, selected files to search -> and then i scrolled upwards in my opened file just to look for something…bam…everything i just typed in the search dialog was gone and reopening didn’t save the old input. Good job!

You can pin the find frame in Preferences - Find.

You’re upgrading through major versions, of course there will be some new features and changes for old things. It wouldn’t take a lot of time to learn the new behavior of these things but after it you’ll get some additional experience about the software you are using.

So if there are some things you don’t like - feel free to post about them in this topic. I’ll try to help you with dealing and understanding them. More over, if you have any ideas how to improve bad things - feel free to file an enhancement.

  • Best regards.

The UI changes are geared towards being efficient and minimal. While there are definitely growing pains (you raise some good points on the package manager) I think largely for veteran users the changes can simply be a bit jarring at first, but once you get used to it I’m sure you’ll appreciate at least some of these changes.

The decision to put each “find” result into its own tab on the lower pane is a disaster. I’ve done usability engineering, going all the way back to the “Inside Macintosh” days of 1983/1984. This violates multiple rules. Here’s the FIRST rule of usability engineering: LISTEN TO YOUR USERS. To be rigorous, put your changed software in front of a focus group with an assigned task that you are videotaping and monitoring, then watch them use your product without coaching. Pay attention to whether your changes help or hurt them. Pay attention to common mistakes shared by your focus group participants. If 8 of 10 participants make the same mistake at the same time, you have a usability problem.

In this case, “find” is something that developers expect to do in parallel with and while debugging. The current approach causes the “debugging” tab to be buried in a constantly-growing list of “find” tabs. The new tabs quickly run out of horizontal room on the top of the pane. This immediately distracts the user who then has to manage the horizontal scrollbar. The view of the lower pane grows without bounds horizontally, so that the user has to scroll the content they care about (in the debugger tab) offscreen to see the find results.

This new pessimization can’t be turned off.

Worst of all is that this is totally unnecessary. FAR BETTER would be to simply put each find result in its own new window that the user can then dismiss or save at the user’s choice. This is WHY “overlapping windows” were invented, for crying out loud.

Making an intrusive change like this, making it impossible for users to turn off, and THEN telling users to “get used to it” epitomizes the arrogance that the 1984 Macintosh and virtually the entire usability community worked decades to overcome.

The OP got something EXACTLY right: you guys need to hire a usability professional. You need to do real usability testing. Here’s another learning from generations who have come before you – development engineers are NEVER the right source for user interface changes and for usability decisions. This is for the same reason that reputable publications keep their advertising departments separate from their reporting and editorial departments. When a person has worked on a product, they are too invested in their work product to objectively accept real feedback from real users about how successful or unsuccessful it is.

I pay good money for this product. I have been a paying Komodo and ActiveState customer for MANY years now. When you treat me with contempt, you encourage me to switch to any of your several competitors.

Perhaps you might close the loop with your executives and management team to see if that this is really the posture you want to take towards your users.

“You just need to get used it”? Think again, Active State.

The results have -always- been in their own tab in the lower pane. The only change we made in that regard was to not limit you to only two tabs and dismiss your old search results when you start a new search. Note also we have an open enhancement request which we intend to address soon which would allow a user to configure the maximum number of search results tabs, once this limit is reached it would reuse the oldest tab.

I was referring to the overall UI changes, which this topic seems to be about. As I said he raised some good points. We are nothing but receptive of feedback given via our forums and bug tracker, in fact we’ve made a lot of UX changes in direct response to people weighing in on the changes made to the package manager and find window and will continue to do so.

Also I never said anything to the tone of “you NEED to get used to it”, all I said was that I am confident that once you get used to it you will like it. By which I don’t mean it’s our way or the high way. If despite my confidence you cannot get used to it we would love to hear from you and make changes where relevant, but in my experience when you have grown used to a particular UX behavior and that behavior changes it will always be jarring at first. Which does not mean the change isn’t good, it just means you might need time to adjust your expectations.

We’re happy to listen to feedback and make changes where changes are due, so please let’s keep this discussion friendly and constructive :slight_smile:

@csid_tom, this is an unfair statement about the support we have been providing and the feedback we receive and implement from our users.

To clarify, @Defman does not represent ActiveState or the Komodo development team but he is a very valued member or the community who helps a lot. I’m confident that what he meant is exactly what @nathanr said in his response. We have never told people to “get used to it”, meaning “get used to it or get out” which it appears to be how you’re interpreting it.

That is all i’ll add as I think @nathanr has responded to your other statements.

  • Carey