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The Bat: Great program, terrible documentation and support

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Can this Bat of yours be customised, plug-in'd or otherwise extended? If so there may be a way to shoehorn in a better editor while retaining all the other fine features of the program.
-timns (February 25, 2011, 11:50 AM)
--- End quote ---
You can write plugins, but very very few people have.  One of the best ones is AntiSpamSniper, which I love.  Great example of how to properly program something.  I doubt you can easily write something to replace the editor without it being klunky.  I mean, to the Bat's credit, they offer the plain Windows editor as an option, which I use.  But I miss some of the coloring features in Microed if you do that.  but I stick to it because the wordwrapping works.

But back to the plugins question, the real problem is that the Bat developers just don't spend much time developing the program.  So if you tried writing a plugin, you'd start wondering how to tie it into the application, and you'd need documentation and support form the developers.  but you wouldn't get any.  There isn't even basic documentation about using the program, there's going to be no documentation for developers.  You can't even communicate with them by email.  You have to use their bugtracking system.  So that means when you ask a question, you'll wait a day before a response.  And if you have a followup, another day, etc.  So a simple question that could be taken care of in an hour or two by bouncing emails back and forth, now takes a few days.  So you just won't be able to figure anything out.  And if you want a community to talk to, the only real option is the usenet forum, which means only a very select kind of people will be there, so it probably won't be too helpful.

The Bat has just set up a system that isolates themselves from the community.  No emailing, no discussions, nothing.  It's clear their goal is to spend as little time as possible to keep the program merely functioning.

[slightly off-topic]

"Windows coders" (whatever that means) are basically a tad stupid and incompetent, while "Apple coders"  (whatever that means) are superior beings who magically just know how to do elegant and intuitive things right.

Since we're sharing anecdotes, I'll share a few of my own.


I remember using the calendar app on my gf's mac a few years ago. I felt severely limited. It was also slow and ugly (to me... obviously... others might feel differently).  :) I was so happy to get my Outlook 2003 back. So flexible and powerful, speedy and relatively light on resources (yup... and I'm well over 1 GB pf data). Not perfect, of course.


There's one application I really dislike but which I need to keep because I own an ipod Touch (which I like, btw) : iTunes. It's slooooow (semi-objective statement). It's heavy (semi-objective statement). It does a million things (objective statement... heck : I can install apps using itunes, buy stuff on the web, browse, etc.). I have to image my whole C: drive everytime I update the monster in fear that it'll break something (it does almost everytime, believe it or not). And yet... it's from Apple, king/queen of elegance and intuitiveness (according to marketing and forum posts here and there). Frankly I don't like it... Your opinion may vary.


Don't get me started on intuitiveness and elegance in general. Hard to define buzzwords. You see, I find my coffee cup elegant, but you might not. And my girl friend certainly doesn't either. And, you know what, while I find her quite elegant, I wouldn't drink in her cup either...  :)  Absolutely no pun intended. Please.


The grass is always grayer on the other side.

[/slightly off-topic]

I think it's on-topic, Armando!  Yes, you bring up the subjectivity in all of this.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not really praising Apple programs on the whole.  Whether or not we agree about elegance, I think it's clear that Apple programs are going to be generally more intuitive than their pc analogues.  I'm not saying their programs are better; if they were, I'd be using them.  But I need the power and flexibility, so I stick to Windows stuff.  What I'm trying to push for is a nicer marriage between ease of use and power than I see (generally) today.  Programs like Editpad do a good job of this.  So do mouser's programs.  I do think Windows offers an environment where this can be accomplished more so than Apple.  Why?  Because Windows doesn't place as many restrictions...even if those restrictions naturally tend simpler, easier programs.  You won't find a lot of good, powerful alternatives for programs on Apple, but you will find several with Windows.  THe price we pay is usually more complicated interfaces and more difficulty learning how to use.  Some of this may be unsolvable.  Maybe you just can't have all this freedom and power without expecting a little complexity along the way.
So I'm in no way defending one or the other.  However, with the Bat, i think they are extreme enough to warrant some criticism.

SpoilerOn a related note, I do believe that elegance and beauty are not entirely subjective; I do believe that it is largely universal.  But that's a philosophical road I'd rather not go down!

One thing I can categorically disagree with is that Apple's way sells more software. Clearly the actual OS and software markets disagree. Oh, yes, of course there is the fact that Mac OS and software only work on comparatively expensive Macs (maybe not feature-for-feature expensive anymore, but the minimum cost to enter is still high). But that too is part of Apple's way, and part of what makes their way a "success" (despite having less than 10% of the computer market). Like it or not the "complex", "ugly" Windows way is actually way more popular than the Mac "our way or the highway" approach.

I also have to say I find all this discussion about Apple elegance a tad ironic given that it's in a thread about The Bat which, from my 2 or so years of using it a few years back, is one of *the* most *hardcore*, non-Apple-ish apps there is. You know what's a lot more Apple than The Bat? Gmail. Or heck, even Thunderbird (but only by comparison to The Bat; Tbird still needs a lot of polish). Whenever someone talks about their need for The Bat and how they love it except for all its problems, I can't help but think of an abusive relationship. As in those cases I wonder, what exactly are you (in this case "the user") getting out of it? What makes The Bat so much better than Gmail, Thunderbird, or heck the Mac mail app you seem to love (but mysteriously aren't using instead of The Bat)?

Edit: I say this about The Bat as a purchaser and former user of it who successfully converted to Gmail and hasn't looked back. I thought I needed massive power and flexibility too. Turned out all I needed was to find the right system that worked for me, despite its many limitations (and yes there are things I miss in Gmail or that bug me, but less than The Bat by far; I find GMail at least a pleasure to use on a day-to-day basis). In a way I kind of found my own Apple-style app in Gmail, with a focus in fast, easy to use, intuitive, but with fewer compromises and more creativity (e.g. labels, labs).

- Oshyan

At this point, you're right, it is a love/hate relationship with the Bat.  The reason why I use the bat is because i need to have all of my emails stored locally on my harddrive.   There is no better program for that than the bat.  I also prefer standalone apps over cloud apps.  I am very much against cloud apps because I don't have complete control, like I do with local programs and files.  I hesitated for a long time before using google's services online.  And I've been very happy with Google's services, but I don't think I'll ever commit entirely to them.  I treat it the same way i treat my ipad: a convenience.  It's a convenient way to get my email no matter where I am.  But my homebase is still the Bat.

I know I can be super duper critical at times, but it's usually because I care a lot about the program, not really because I'm trying to be an asshole about it.  I wouldn't discuss it this much if I didn't care.  I like the Bat a lot, and I feel it has the opportunity to fix a lot of holes it has, and make it a tremendously awesome application.  It really doesn't have to be hardcore at all.  It's an email application.  It's a matter of spending time and money, and putting in buttons and conveniences.

I also know I'm on an Apple kick lately, that's why it keeps creeping into my posts.  I think the disconnect between myself and a lot of other users here is that..well...I make a big deal out of what most people here consider insignificant things.  i know this. That's why it makes me sound like a douchebag.  I have nothing to say to that, it's true, what can I say?  I know I can just "let it go", and not expect everything to be perfect.  I just feel compelled to point it out a lot.  believe me, I'm constantly criticized for this.  The thing is, like the rest of life, it's both my strength and weakness.  It makes me sound like a douche, but it also has led to the talents I have.  So I don't fight it too much anymore, but I will apologize for offending people, because that is not my goal.

Back to the point, I'm very very obsessive about having ALL of my data in my control.  I doubt many people here have gone to the extremes that I have to do that, especially on a personal level (not for work).  I think it defines me as a computer user.  I wouldn't even care about Windows and Apple if I were not obsessive about my data.  Anyway, someone called me defensive yesterday...I think he's right!


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