File menu is universal? ( was Re: what's the right tool for text file templates?)

Larry White ljw1001 at
Tue Nov 29 20:46:05 UTC 2005

i meant universal in terms of percent of users familiar with it, not percent
of operating systems implementing.  Also, i'm not suggesting it's an
inherently good design, just that it's widely understood, like stopping at
red lights and going on green.

also, if my criticism was overly harsh, let me paraphrase Alan Kay and say
that Smalltalk is the only language worth criticizing. if it weren't so
close to being a joy to work with, it wouldn't be so frustrating when it
lets you down.

On 11/29/05, tim Rowledge <tim at> wrote:
> On 29-Nov-05, at 11:59 AM, Larry White wrote:
> >
> > 1. I should be able to load the file from the "File List" browser.
> > This is a close as Squeak comes to a file menu, which is a
> > universally accepted approach to loading files into desktop software.
> Leaving aside the other issues and admittedly off topic somewhat, I
> have to point out that this is an incorrect assertion. The concept of
> a 'file menu' is far from universal, and far from a good UI idea.
> Consider RISC OS where there is no such idea. Files are loaded by
> dragging them from some other application. One such application is
> the filer window but it works equally well if it is another app that
> edits the same type of file. There is no idiotic 'mini-finder' used,
> just the main finder or other app. Completely pervasive drag and drop
> works a lot better. It provides a UI level loose equivalent of pipes;
> you can start by drawing something in the art app, drag it out to the
> convert-art-to-bitmap app, drag from that to the convert-bitmap-to-
> jpeg app and then drag that to the ftp app to save it to the website.
> Yes, it's very different to the boring 'standard' of Windows and Mac.
> It is a good demonstraton that 'file menu' is not a universally
> accepted approach.
> tim
> --
> tim Rowledge; tim at;
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