It's just me or every software after some time tries to come up with more complexity than simplicity, in the name of feature richness.
It not just you.
It's a problem that has been dogging the entire end-user software industry for about 25 years now.
But it's mostly our own fault it's happening.
A little history:
Back around 1990, PC Magazine and others began what seemed to be an editorial policy of hand wringing over "feature bloat."
No matter how good or bad a product was, the reviewer always felt the need to wrap up by bemoaning how big and bulked up the product had become since it's original or previous release.
This went on for a couple of years until "bloat" started to become an industry buzzword. By the mid-90s almost everybody was complaining about feature bloat.
I'm not 100% sure who finally called them all to task in a guest editorial. But it was one of the biggies. I think it was Jim Manzi of Lotus Development Corp. (Everybody remember Lotus 1-2-3? They were bigger than Microsoft once!)
What he said was that software developers were caught between a rock and a hard place because the trade press and its readers were sending mixed messages. If a developer didn't add features to a new release, it got slammed in it's review. And that meant it received a lower 'ranking' than a product that had so many features it risked bursting its shrinkwrap. However, if a developer went ahead with a big "feature release," they then got slammed for feature bloat.
Manzi pointed out they couldn't have it both ways.
For those who don't remember the "golden age of computer magazines," maybe I should point out that this was a time when product showdowns
were a very popular type of tech article. Back then, receiving an Editor's Choice
or Top Pick
designation by a major magazine had a huge
impact on sales. Especially if it was a "corporate" (i.e wp, spreadsheet, database) product you were selling.
Manzi went on to say that while everybody compained
about bloated apps, it didn't actually seem to bother them all that much. Sorta like how most people tell TV polls they want more cultural and educational programming but rarely watch any of it once it's on. He also went on to say Lotus' sales research found that when given a choice between more features or less, customers picked the product with more features every time. Even if it meant paying more.
He wrapped up by saying products would stop experiencing feature bloat when the press and the people stopped penalizing the developers for not putting more and more in.
Shortly after that, feature bloat
fell out of vogue as a soapbox issue for most magazines.
Unfortunately the bulk of the buyers still veer towards huge feature sets because "you just never know" when you're going to need something. That's one of the reasons why so many people still buy a full office suite when all they really need is a simple wordprocessor or basic spreadsheet. Same goes for servers. Tons of small businesses bring in a full server when all they really need is some network storage and a decent backup system.
I think the software market will eventually reach a higher level of sophistication and start moving away from huge products and opt for a more snap-in type computing environment. One where the end-user decides (and buys) what will be in there. In-app purchases
are one manifestation of that trend. But it will be a while before it becomes the generally accepted way to purchase and install software. Customers are leery of being nickle-and-dimed. And the developers are hesitant to make any structural changes that could adversely affect sales or screw up their development roadmaps.
It will all get worked out eventually. But until then, "bigass apps" are something we'll have to live with.