For example, when you want to just sync certain folders, you are presented with the following radio buttons:
(see attachment in previous post)So you would ask, "How do I select the folders?" Well, when you click the radio button for select folders and files, then the explorer tree hierarchy dialog pops up. But that REALLY strange because radio buttons shouldn't behave that way. Radio buttons should only move the dot around to the selected item, not activate additional dialogs or windows. What it SHOULD be is like that "Browse" button above it. When a user sees that button, he expects a dialog to pop up.
That is not a good example.
The main reason one would use a radio buttons is to provide choices to user with the below considerations:
1. User must and can only choose one item among few provided. i.e. Options are mutually exclusive!
2. The choices must not be too many, otherwise one should instead use a picklist.
Once user made a choice, radio button can cause implicit or explicit effect... it has to have either of them, otherwise there is no point in implementing it.
Just look at one standard Windows dialog "Printing preference" which can be brought up by clicking the [Preference] button on a print page:
Implicit effect (Paper/Quality section of the dialog):
If your printer supports color printing, the Printing Preference->Paper Quality section has radio buttons: () Black & White (o) Color
if user click one of the two buttons, nothing happen, the effect is implicit (you will see it only when you really print something)
Explicit effect (Layout section of the dialog)
(o) Portratit () Lanscape () Rotated Landscape
Choosing any of the button causes the Preview image of a document to change on the fly and of course you will see even bigger effect when you print your document. But the fact that choosing a radio button causes preview image to change immediately means it is OK to have something taken place after user click a radio button.
For the example you have stated, the author of SFFS is using radio button to make sure one (and only one) of the 3 possible choices will be selected. In that case I don't think there is any other better mechanism than radio button. Of course, he could provide a button [Select folders] or [Browse] to bring up the folder selection dialog and only had it enabled after the third radio button (Selected Folders and Files) is clicked, but that is inefficient because it takes 2 clicks rather than 1 to bring up the folder selection dialog.
Btw, I am currently evaluating SFFS and SBSE, I think SFFS's interface is not that bad as few of you have suggested. In fact, I do like SFFS design such that the top portion of a profile always stay there when I switch among its advance setting sections at the bottom portion. It is like when I adds items to an invoice, if the item list is lengthy, it might scroll vertically, but I would want the invoice header to stay visible.
However, I do agree with some (bad) comments on SFFS interface:
1. The bottom portion of the SFFS's Profile setup dialog is rather congested. That makes things looked untidy and uncomfortable at a glance. I wonder why the author doesn't want to make that dialog bigger?
2. Due to the big number of options, there always exist options which are mutually exclusive. If I make a choice somewhere, SFFS does not disable other conflicting or irrelevant options automatically. That sometimes make me wonder how/will things work together...
I think for any feature that existing in both programs, SBSE almost always offer more options than SFFS. E.g. its "profile grouping" and "zipping" feature are far superior than SFFS.
However, SFFS does offer features that are not available in SBSE: SFFS has its own scheduler (in fact it is better in every aspect of scheduling compare to SBSE), and best of all it can be run as an NT services which does not required user login. I just wonder whether it works well as a service in MS Server 2008?