State-of-the Art Appearance with PB?

Started by Theo Gottwald, February 22, 2008, 08:01:27 PM

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Patrice Terrier

Is that a programmer's perspective ?

Patrice Terrier
GDImage (advanced graphic addon)

Edwin Knoppert

If you *have* eye-candy.. fine..
If not it does not mean perse that the app will not sell.
Btw, there are different targets, for businessapplications things are really different than for example a game.

Therefore you can not say: "..the biggest single factor.."

Edwin Knoppert

Btw, from looking at your snapshot.. i even feel stronger that a 'normal' looking app can be as successful as you did with the above.

As long the interface is equally easy to handle.

The eye-candy seems (to me) as unnecessary in this case, good you do but not required i guess.

In the long run a more eye-candy app could become more popular, that's for most buyers not the first requirement.

Patrice Terrier

QuoteAs long the interface is equally easy to handle.

It is just a matter of using the right tools to do it,
that is a themed application that must conform to a specific user's Chart.

I shall have soon another one to do for an important pharmaceutical group, with respect of their medical chart to "facelift" one of their current Windows XP application that they find "old-fashioned".

The name of the tool being used to do it, is shown on the Windows status bar (+ GDImage).

Patrice Terrier
GDImage (advanced graphic addon)

Edwin Knoppert

I know where this is going, a remark, an opinion, confusion.
+ It has nothing to do with critic on your app or so.

I think you are saying that it is (for you) equally much of work to accomplisch what you do compared with an ordinary app.
And that's not the point here.

Let's talk about business apps only, my opinion is that an app can be sold (equally) fine as it where an ordinary but friendly gui.

+ Does one really purchase MS Word for it's ribbon control or it's looks anyway?

Patrice Terrier

The point is:

If you give the choice to the end user between two accounting programs, one with a nice looking interface and one with a "classic" look, and even if the nice looking interface if sold 1.5 the price of the "classic" one, the user will choose the nice one as long as the psychologic price is good.

But of course you can always drive from point A to point B with a Trabant car  :)

And you can also make love with an old sixty or with a younger, the choice is yours and the result would be probably the same, but i guess you would probably pay more for the younger  ;D
Patrice Terrier
GDImage (advanced graphic addon)

Petr Schreiber

But of course you can always drive from point A to point B with a Trabant car :)
Why not ? (click )


your application looks great, as usual :)
Regarding the importance of program look ... I think it depends a lot on who is the customer.
I think there is some thin line between good enough and "ugly" program.

So from some point I think well looking application with classic Win32 controls and Windows look and feel can compete even with eye candy.
The worst psychologic impact have details like not consistent size of buttons or too wild GUI, which indicate beginners work ( yes my proggies still suffer from this ).

Sill, I have seen case when quite a big institution bought program which:

  • Was crime against aesthetics
  • It had Form1 in window caption instead of something logical ( along with default Delphi icon indicating the dev. tool :) )
  • Had crash around every corner

... even with such a flaw somebody payed for it :) I hope it is an exception.

AMD Sempron 3400+ | 1GB RAM @ 533MHz | GeForce 6200 / GeForce 9500GT | 32bit Windows XP SP3

Eros Olmi


it is very clear that your applications are not only beautifull looking but full of little details, every piece of UI seems at the right position, every control is studied for a target not only for candy. So, to me, it is clear that you are a very high pro that cure all aspects and details.

That said, in my experience, many time candy are there just to cover very poor application design, very little cure in details and in application functionalities. In few words: to get money from users that fall in love for external aspects but later, when they will search for functionalities, will remain disappointed.

thinBasic Script Interpreter - |
Win7Pro 64bit - 8GB Ram - Intel i7 M620 2.67GHz - NVIDIA Quadro FX1800M 1GB

Theo Gottwald

I think that I am here completely with Patrice.
At the end I think that anyone who has ever tried to sell an application to the "unknown end user" will agree.

Only those of us, who try to sell to sell to a group of "known users" or to deliver an ordered application to a known customer will not have that "his daughter looks better then mine" problem.

Donald Darden

Let me pose this matter in my own unmistakable way.

Two apps may do the same thing, but the app with the more polished and impressive image will draw more attention.

Cutomers, business or otherwise, would rather by a product that looks better, because it is more appealing, and because a polished image would seem to indicate more attention to detail.

The more attractive product offers visual assurances that the product is overall of better quality.  We tend to judge everything this way.  Now a mechanic may know that one car is actually better than another because of the engineering that went into the motor, transmission, stearing, and everything else, but most customers will be lured by looks and how it feels to sit in the driver's seat and hear the engine purr.

If a customer prefers one product over another based on visual impact, then the difference means either buying the more attractive or impressive product if the prices are about the same, or possibly paying a bit more for the product that they put greater value in.

You could probably take an older model car that still runs well and pay someone a few thousand dollars to restore it to a point that it almost feels like a new one.  Or you could spend ten times as much and actually get a new car.  Most people get a new car, not because they want to spend all that money, but because it is a new car.  It looks new, and other people will know that it is new, so it is about personal satisfaction and status.

Some people will take a rusty old car and restore it, then sell it for three to ten times the cost of a new car.  It looks beautiful because of the detailed rework, but underneath the glossy finished is a rusted shell held together with bondo and lead filler.  We can't see below the surface, so even though we know what is underneath, the image presented convinces us that this junker that just recently got a major face lift is somehow worth it.

Software isn't any different, because people aren't any different.  Dealing with programmers and other technical sorts, we can sometimes bond and sell something based on the inner beauty of how it works, or what it does, of its elegance in architecture.  But that's not the general buyer, and management is got its own objectives to meet, like convince upper management that they got their money's worth in buying a new program or upgrading an existing one.  They might even want to shock and awe their own customers by showing off the tools that they use inhouse. 

Edwin Knoppert

You guys keep on 'comparing' !
I am not talking about a situation where one can pick the normal or eye-candy version.
I say that the normal version can be sold equally fine.
I said that an enhanced gui like P. shows at the end may be more popular.
But no-one can tell.
Often nice looking software is just that... and hides it's problems this way.

If the gui is nicer looking but works slow and poorly, the customer can not know that a normal version can work much better.
They can not compare.

You are programmers and think what people want.
I prefer a stable and easy to use program over enhanced and having side-effects.

"Geeh it sucks, but it looked great"


Note that customers also work with very poor software, they often do not blame the software but themselves.
They blame themselves it's not a handy thing to work with and want to adapt.
If i hear this i tell them "you should have thrown that away 10 years ago"
This is the moment the light-bulb goes on..

Patrice Terrier

QuoteThat said, in my experience, many time candy are there just to cover very poor application design
Well, that means that we do not share the same experience.  8)

Quote"Geeh it sucks, but it looked great"
Amazing, why the heck a nice looking interface would be a synonym of slow and poorly programmed application.  ???

A nice user interface is like good packaging, it helps to stand out of the crowd, but it could be also considered as the emerging part of the iceberg. Because if you are able to manage all the aspects of a window, you probably have a good knowledge of the underlaying OS and thus the immersive part would probably be as good as the emerged one.

On the contrary of DOS, Windows is a native graphic environment.
At first, most of the success of VISTA in the skinning communities was based on the new AERO interface, while XP is still fine to use, its interface now looks older because there is just a new standard. Mode effect, perhaps, but ask a lady how she wants to be dressed up then you will soon get the picture.

The Oleigest application from where i did post the screen shots, is still written in DOS PB7, and to convince the users to pay good money to upgrade to the new Windows version, there was more to do than just porting it to Windows.

Here is a screen shot of the "Product" window, that has not yet been themed, but it would help you to figure the type of tool we are using to manage this huge Windows portage.

Note: None of the existing PB third party addon would have been able to do that.
And my responsability as project manager was to select the best tool to do it, and that would let us do it in the shortest delay.

Patrice Terrier
GDImage (advanced graphic addon)

Theo Gottwald

>2100 Viewers, by now this topic has most viewers from all the topics.

This alone shows us that "look and feel" is something that is interesting for people.
I hope Bob has read it and thought about it, too.

Anyway, its time that a third party makes something about it, thats easy to use and as stable as powerbasic.

Edwin Knoppert

Regarding skins, a few years ago i could paint any part and even size it to desired framewidths.
The only issue was the first topmenu offset i couldn't change.
I dropped it but later on i thought that even that could have been solved using ownerdraw topmenu.
To bad i a have no fun in pursuing, i don't care for skins, just wanted to see how far i could come with that.
No secundairy windows for the non-client areas.

Patrice Terrier


Better move things related to WinLIFT there:
Patrice Terrier
GDImage (advanced graphic addon)