Dear developers

Good riddance 2016! Many would argue that it has been the worst year in decades. And while I do not want to get into the merit of the loss of talent the world has suffered, I did notice another heavy blow we took this past year: The quality of software developed on Windows. It seems to me that a lot of developers are taking certain liberties that are rubbing me off the wrong way. Such bad practices are certainly not new, but I did notice an increase in them this past year. So I wrote this open letter for 2017, in the hope that these issues can be addresses.

Stop installing software under AppData. I will start with the most moronic fad I’ve seen. The AppData directory under a user’s folder IS NOT for installing software. The Program Files folder is! Software developers do that in order to bypass Windows User Access Control under the pretext that “it makes it simpler to keep the software up-to-date”. In my view this is done for the sole benefit of the developers, and in detriment of the users. This a particular pain in the bottom if there are multiple users who use the computer, where we end with multiple copies of the same software — one for each user.

Stop second-guessing (hard-coding) directory locations into your software. Windows stores in its registry the path to a user’s directory as well as its sub-directories such as Desktop, Downloads, Documents, Pictures and so forth. This is particularly important since users can move those sub-directories to another path. For instance, I have two disks on my PC, and I keep all of my user’s directories on my second hard disk (my D drive). Instead of querying the registry for the location of the Documents folder, some shabby software however tries to look for it under the root of my user directory which is located on the C drive. Sometimes this isn’t a big deal, but quite often I end up with multiple Document folders, which is quite annoying.

The Saved Games folder is meant to be used. So use it. The user directory has a sub-directory called “Saved Games” which is meant to store save games. So why not use it? At the VERY least, game saves should be kept under the game installation directory — AND NOT the AppData directory! In fact using the AppData directory is another example of sheer stupidity. If your intention is that different users would not see another user’s save game data, then once again the Save Games folder servers this purpose.

That is it. Short and sweet, I would say. In fairness I agree this post has been written more as way for me to vent off than anything else, but I do stand by the points raised. I just hope that in 2017, developers can see it right.

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