Tim Bray suggests that search engine users are about as intelligent as Homer Simpson. One word, maybe two word queries. They do not want anything else (which is why 37 signals miss the point). This would appear to also attack my xpath directory search plan but I maintain the idea with a slight iteration: People don't want to construct queries, xpath, natural language or otherwise. But they would probably appreciate a gestural search interface. That is, having said beer they might query for something more specific that is beer related - or they might follow a link and then search some more. This gestural activity suggests complex queries - and might suggest xpath.
Of course that is exactly Bray's point - and it is also the point of my software pragmatics rant. Developers spend their entire day constructing complex requests, and it hurts too damn much. Modern developemnt technique focues exactly on a conversational, gestural mode of construction that it much less painful - preferably without sacrificing precision or clarity.
Hang on, isn't the 37 signals interface gestural also? Not really. It puts up too many choices and the choices are too complicated to evaluate at a glance. That's like context unaware code completion which is just painful.
Oh, and also amen.Posted by Claus at June 19, 2003 01:51 AM