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Author Topic: What makes an application "useful"?  (Read 9047 times)

drapps

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What makes an application "useful"?
« on: May 17, 2009, 12:19:45 PM »
Sounds like an easy question, doesn't it? But when you really get down to it, it's a really complex question because usefulness means different things to different people. It also means different things depending on the category of application. So this thread will be a place where people can leave their opinions (in general or citing specific software) about what they think makes an application "useful".

Things to consider

Is it based on frequency of use? Firefox vs. WinDirStat, one you use everyday (or is it every minute of everyday) and one you use on occasion when you need to find out why that terabyte drive has 83 megs left.

Is is based on whether you leave the program installed or not? Personally, I install and install... but I rarely uninstall (I'll do disable services or the application itself from starting up automatically if I don't use it though).

Is it based on how well the program solves a problem you have?

Is it based on how the program looks?

I figured these are a few good questions that should spark people's minds and kick things off.

So what makes an application useful to you?

Dr. Apps
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TucknDar

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2009, 12:58:28 PM »
Difficult to answer, really. Depends much on the category, but I suppose in general an application is useful if it's something I'd miss if it was removed. Maybe I'll find some better answers once I get around to reinstalling Windows... nlite is very useful in that context ;)

gpetrant

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2009, 01:07:14 PM »
Basically the same things I look for in a woman:  it does what it says it will do, or more, but never less.  It doesn't thrash my machine.  It isn't priced beyond the value of its functionality to me.  And in descending order of importance: it's fast, simple, and looks pretty.  8)
Shywolf

TucknDar

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2009, 01:08:26 PM »
 ;D

drapps

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2009, 01:21:35 PM »
Difficult to answer, really. Depends much on the category, but I suppose in general an application is useful if it's something I'd miss if it was removed. Maybe I'll find some better answers once I get around to reinstalling Windows... nlite is very useful in that context ;)

That's a great example. Since nLite is extremely useful but only used once every <insert how often you re-install Windows here>. Thanks!

Basically the same things I look for in a woman:  it does what it says it will do, or more, but never less.  It doesn't thrash my machine.  It isn't priced beyond the value of its functionality to me.  And in descending order of importance: it's fast, simple, and looks pretty.  8)

 >:D
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mouser

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2009, 02:32:07 PM »
I have a hair trigger threshold for frustration.. so i find more and more that my primary requirement for a program is that is not get in my way and frustrate me.  I don't mind using different programs, so it's ok with me if i have to use 2 programs instead of 1 do-everything tool, as long as i can get in, do what i want to do, and exit, without stumbling around and getting lost.

Shed

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2009, 02:52:54 PM »
Hello guys (hello Mr. Mouser)

i think a good program or piece of coding must have this guidelines :

1) be small, load fast, run fast and do exactly the right thing for what it is coded (the task)
2) make a good use of resources of the machine....small size again and moderated use of the resources
3) It's a bonus if the interface is fancy and good designed (but not a must)
4) if don't need be installed (only the exe and binnary files for running) it's a Plus (old style EXE coding)
5) Dont will have NAG screens (sorry but i ate the reminder screens for registering etc)
6) be coded in C, C++, or Delphi .... all the rest of languajes it's crappy (Visual Basic for example, but i'm talking of running apps in Windows O.S., Perl, or Python or others are right as languajes....you catch it?)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2009, 02:57:43 PM by Shed »

app103

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2009, 06:35:41 PM »
You know you have found a really great useful application when...

  • You feel withdrawl symptoms if you are suddenly forced to live without it, even for just a little while.
  • You refuse to upgrade your OS till you know for sure that it will work on the new one.
  • It's one of the first things you install on a new system.
  • It's one of the things you would install on your friend's system when setting up his computer for him, and even pay for it, if necessary.
  • You'd be willing to pay twice the price to upgrade, if you had to, with a smile.  :)
  • It's so intuitive that when you run it for the first time, you instinctively know how it works, without taking a course in how to use it, or even reading the help file.
  • You begin to forget it didn't come with your system and isn't part of your OS.
  • You'd be willing to host the developer's site yourself, than to ever see it be made unavailable.

For me, some examples of these would be any of the following. They fit all (or nearly all1) of the requirements:

StartPro
FileBox Extender2
PS Tray Factory
Taskbar++
Speedfan
Ad Muncher
Notepad2
DClock2 (mine)
WinRAR
Trout
ColorCop
Process Explorer

1A few of them do require a quick glance at the help file.
2Hyperionics is no longer developing, supporting, or hosting this GPL licensed application, and I have contacted them for a copy of the source and I'll host it myself if I have to.

mahesh2k

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2009, 07:01:12 PM »
Quote
Basically the same things I look for in a woman:  it does what it says it will do, or more, but never less.  It doesn't thrash my machine.  It isn't priced beyond the value of its functionality to me.  And in descending order of importance: it's fast, simple, and looks pretty.

Have to agree  :D

1) Takes minimum resources.
2) Simple
3) Less Bugs :/

CleverCat

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2009, 12:54:13 AM »
Same as my Closet - there are items of clothing I might only 'take out for a spin' very rarely, but they are things I can't do without when necessary!  ;D

Edvard

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2009, 05:37:45 PM »
I think App and Mouser hit it on the head...

1- Necessity
2- Practicality

Whenever I've had to reinstall a Windows, I always install at least 4 apps:
  • xPlorer2
  • Firefox
  • XnView
  • PDFCreator
Everything else comes as the job calls for it, but ultimately, I end up installing OpenOffice, Gimp, Inkscape, VLC and Filezilla as well.

On my Linux boxes, I have a list of about 35 apps that are absolutely necessary and about 25 more that are just plain nice to have.
Not that my Linux is less complete, I just do more on it and therefore I need more tools.

 :two:

cyberdiva

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2009, 06:25:09 PM »
Yes, App103 hit it on the head for me, too.  The only criterion on App's list that wouldn't be on mine is software that's "so intuitive."  Mind you, I love it when software just works perfectly right from the start without my having to beat my head against the computer monitor, but App's statement made me realize that at least some of the software I've come to love took me a while to warm up to.  DirectoryOpus, Linkman, and ActiveWords are three that come to mind.  They seemed too complicated at first, or (in the case of Linkman) had too many features I didn't like, but their complexity turned out to be a virtue: they can do so incredibly much.  I use all three constantly, every day.  To those I'd add three programs that just worked beautifully for me right from the start: ClipMate, HyperSnap, and Mulberry.  Mulberry too is complex, but fortunately its complexity hid itself until I was hooked.   :)  There are other programs I'm enthusiastic about as well, but without these six I'm lost.

cmpm

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2009, 05:54:01 PM »

urlwolf

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2009, 05:27:14 AM »
FileBox Extender2
PS Tray Factory

2Hyperionics is no longer developing, supporting, or hosting this GPL licensed application, and I have contacted them for a copy of the source and I'll host it myself if I have to.

App, I love this tool. I missed it so much since I moved to windows server 2008. If you got it to work on vista 64/windows server 2008 64... please shout!

app103

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2009, 05:34:45 AM »
FileBox Extender2
PS Tray Factory

2Hyperionics is no longer developing, supporting, or hosting this GPL licensed application, and I have contacted them for a copy of the source and I'll host it myself if I have to.

App, I love this tool. I missed it so much since I moved to windows server 2008. If you got it to work on vista 64/windows server 2008 64... please shout!

After I made my post, I contacted the developer of Filebox Extender and I guess my interest in the project must have persuaded him to put it back up on the site. So go take a look. He said he will offer no support, but the application and the source are there again. He also said he made a few fixes for 64-bit Vista and Win7, although he didn't specify exactly what they were.

http://www.hyperionics.com/?Page=/files

OldElmerFudd

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Re: What makes an application "useful"?
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2009, 01:37:14 AM »
app's requirements are right on the money, imo. I actually use a significant amount of shareware that I couldn't personally live without; I also install certain freeware apps on every box that gets into my hands. (A few of my friends are Luddites. I bury the program links in a separate folder.) 

DirectoryOpus gave me fits, too, in the beginning, but now I use it every day, it seems.

BTW, thanks for the mention of Filebox Extender. Looks very interesting.

2 penny Ron
Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code is a violent psychopath and knows where you live.