Non-existent "features"

Subject: Non-existent "features"
From: "Geoff Hart (by way of \"Eric J. Ray\" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>)" <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 11:10:00 -0700

Marci Abels wondered about <<some features [that] are
on the menu but not operational because they are now obsolete, as far
as the programmers are concerned, and some features are still up in
the air regarding future implementation.>>

For the obsolete features, there's a simple and elegant solution:
leave the menu choices in place so you don't surprise anyone who is
expecting them to be there, but instead of performing some program
function, pop up a dialog box that says "This feature is no longer
supported by the software. If you need to perform this task, here's
how to do it under the new version of the software... [short summary]
See the XXX section of the online help for details." This ensures
that you don't run into problems with users forgetting to skim the
readme or "changes since last version" part of the software; besides,
even geeks like me who do read such things inevitably end up
forgetting which features got de-implemented. As well, if you add the
feature back in again, your menu choice is already in position and
all the developers need to do is add in the code subroutine.

As for the features intended for future implementation, you can
modify this trick to come up with something a bit less effective but
still functional. Use the same message, but substitute "this has not
yet been implemented" for "is no longer supported". Again, when the
developers finally do add the feature, they simply cut out the
message text and replace it with the code module. Hopefully, they
also remember to tell you so you can document the new feature, but
just in case they don't, make sure _you_ are the one who does the
writing of the messages, and keep a folder of them. A week or two
before the ship date (longer, if appropriate), go back to the folder
and try each menu choice to see whether it still presents the message
or whether it's been replaced with functional code.
--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

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