Hidden/advanced app preferences: good or evil?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by iMeowbot, Nov 20, 2006.


How would you answer these, [i]as an end user[/i]?

  1. Hidden preferences rule, I enjoy hunting for secret features in software.

    1 vote(s)
  2. Hidden preferences are OK, as long as the documentation is easy to find.

    3 vote(s)
  3. I like advanced preferences sections, and like to play with undocumented settings.

    1 vote(s)
  4. Advanced configuration sections are OK, as long as every setting is explained somewhere.

    2 vote(s)
  5. I would rather have only a simple preferences pane and fewer options in my software.

    1 vote(s)
  6. I like lots of options, but would rather set all through a GUI, even a complicated one.

    5 vote(s)
  7. I'd rather have my eyes gouged out by rabid ferrets than mess with settings.

    0 vote(s)
  8. Should I buy a black or white MacBook, or wait for the 42-inch touch-screen?

    1 vote(s)
  9. I saw an I Love Lucy rerun, and I'm sure that Little Ricky was holding an iPhone!

    2 vote(s)
  10. Meh.

    4 vote(s)
  11. Other (feel free to explain).

    1 vote(s)
  1. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    This came from a discussion out in the big blue room. Do hidden preferences make life easier for beginners, or harder for everyone?

    For the purpose of this poll, we'll work with the following definitions:

    Hidden preferences are options you can set in a program, but there is no interface. You need to use the defaults command from Terminal or the Property List Editor, or edit some text file by hand, or create some file with a magic name, etc.

    Advanced preferences are options that you can set from within the program, but the interface is minimal. Instead of checkboxes and sliders and menus, you are presented with a list of option names and manually enter values. The about:config page in Firefox or Camino would be a good example.
  2. fall3n macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2006
    though i'm used to programming for the web, i think i like GUI. It gives a sense of more safety...even if there really isn't any
  3. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    I like the GUI too, but I hate it when Preferences can become convoluted like in certain Office apps. I like the option to let the Preference window show an advanced set of preferences, on top of the standard simple ones. :)
  4. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    It depends. I think most software should strive to be as easy as possible to begin using, but then again it sucks if the software doesn't do what I need it to do. If advanced preferences are needed to add some functionality, then I think they should be there, but I don't mind where they are as long as they're documented. I don't need "advanced" preferences that don't add any real functionality if the preference panes are beginning to get cluttered.

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