This Is What Happens When You Let Developers Create UI

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t produced abominations like that one. I’ve learned my lesson, but others have not. My current project, where I have no control over the UI, is eerily similar.

Looks almost as bad as rational clearquest.

A good developer will give the GUI the same treatment as they give their code. Well commented, good refactoring, no smells.


As a long time wget user at the command line, this gui interface makes sense as it shows all the options at once. It reminds me of the putty interface for ssh connections, which can be equally daunting until you are familiar with whats going on.

What’s wrong with this UI? It presents the options, lets you choose. What more do you need?

I hate UIs that hide stuff. Show it all to me.

Even worse is colors. No “graphic designer” ever thinks of the colorblind when make things pretty.

It would be more accurate to say this demonstrates what you get when you graft a GUI onto a perfectly fine command-line program. And it’s not really surprising or blogworthy.

maybe he doesn’t know how to use the “tab control” ?

Ditto the comment about the ‘Pro Mode’ button. I want to see what that does.

It’s a matter of attention. The GUI needs the same attention as the rest of the project. It doesn’t matter if you make a better mouse trap; the mouse trap has to be usable.

If ‘Pro Mode’ doesn’t take you to the command prompt, well, let’s just say I’d be deeply disappointed.


Goran, do you honestly think this is the best user interface we can possibly come up with for wget? So you’re saying this is as good as it gets?

it’s probably more interaction design than graphic design that’s at stake here…

Sorry, I should have been more specific. You’re right.

I think many developers actually understand the issue, they simply have no UI training, nor the imagination and desire to come up with radically different workflows once they settle on one

Totally agree. Developers are already so very good at the technical stuff by definition. That’s why they became software developers in the first place. I wish they would focus on other complementary skills like HCI rather than digging themselves in deeper and deeper to the technical stuff.

wget has a 126 lines long help message… the UI presented here seems to have everything included on just one screen.

Let’s face it, wget is supposed to be called from the command line, it’s a usefull little program, but you have to read the help message the first many times you use it. This UI will let you use the command in 1 minute, I don’t see the problem? :slight_smile:

(IAAD - I Am a Developer)

The homepage for wgetgui says: “The easy to use Graphical User Interface (GUI)”

I think there are a couple of letters missing. Shouldn’t it be “The sleazy to use Graphical User Interface (GUI)”? :slight_smile:

Do you guys ever read the $#*^! comments first? How about contributing to what could be a worthwhile discussion on the merits of different styles of UI design, and spending a few minutes to consider ways in which it might be improved as an exercise, instead of leaving mindless droppings on someone’s corner of the internet? The reason most UI design sucks is that no one practices or thinks first! That goes for those who just comment to say it’s so bad.

Augh, I give up, I’m wasting my time, no one will read this either.

As a developer, I would actually like to see more interfaces like this. Thought out better, sure… for example, you should have - by default - a more abstracted interface with fewer options. But to have an advanced interface you can switch to with every possible option and tooltips for each one would be a dream. No more man pages to look up, or wondering about what format or options are available in a config file.

These needs to be more OpenSource HCI usability people. In addition, CS people need to take at least one HCI course, I know GaTech does this, but I don’t think there are many more.

Until these things happen, you’re just stuck with what you get.

It looks like what happened here is the author of this front end to wget just dumped every single wget option into the dialog without much user-oriented organization. wget has a ton of options, but really only a few that you use often.

To make a workable GUI frontend to wget I’d take the typical tasks (which are to quickly download one or more files whose URLs you know, and to recursively download a whole site) and put those options on the main page, then hide the rest in tabs or expanding panes or whatever.

It’s real easy to criticize someone else’s attempt to freely share a their own solution to a problem they’ve encountered. If Human Factors expert Jeff Atwood believes this is so bad, then it would be most beneficial to everyone to provide and alternative UI to demonstrate a “better” way to do so. Even more so to explain why Mr. Atwood’s solution is better. At the very least provide constructive criticism.

Don’t be a coward, Mr. Jeff Atwood.

Take a look at the website, that’s the GUI ‘expanded,’ not even in ‘PRO Mode.’

1 Textbox and 5 buttons doesn’t seem horrible … that it uses a .bat file to run wget seems like a worse offense.

I’ve seen plenty of poor user interfaces, and I certainly don’t want to dispute the premise, but this is a very poor example, especially if you don’t understand what’s going on.

“wget” is a command line program to recursively snarf web pages. It has been arround a long time, it is very solid, and among the command line set, it is very popular.

It is clear that this program is nothing more than a front end that does nothing more than build a set of command line options. This is the kind of thing that can be thrown together in just a few hours with a GUI development tool, and really, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

It would be a completely different matter if someone spent months developing a “GUI web snarfing tool” and this is the UI they came up with, but this is clearly not the case.

This is a quick and dirty hack to mollify the set that can’t deal with a shell prompt and man pages, and in THAT respect it is a good example of efficient code re-use.

BTW, I’ve seen other Windows programs that do something similar with a slick and more sensible interface, yet don’t have a fraction of the capabilities of wget. In my mind, that is the true coding horror here.

Yes, in a perfect world, I’m sure that the wget codebase could be adapted into a much more intuitive GUI-based application. No question about that. But this guy DID it, and he is giving it away.

If you can make something better and give it away, by all means have at it!

Pretty good gui,just getting used may take few minutes.
Stuffing all controls in tabs,or usermode is worse.