What is it about Microsoft Word that people love so much? At the place we don’t blog about, there are people who do everything in Word. I’m not kidding, even if they’re just going to copy and paste the text into something else (for example, a form on a website), they’ll compose the text in Word.
When I want to compose something offline and post it into a form, e-mail, or similar, I use Notepad (I swear, Notepad is one of the greatest legacy programs on Windows). It starts up faster than Word, it saves in a much more universal format than Word, it doesn’t try to be smarter than me by automatically fixing my spelling or grammar (that’s right, Word, I meant to spell organize with a “s” instead of a “z”).
Quick aside: Most of the cost of modern computers is the software. If you buy a computer that has Windows and a bunch of Microsoft programs pre-installed, price will be significantly higher than one without the software. In these modern times, that’s not such a big problem, since you can run open source alternatives such as Linux and OpenOffice.
In trying to make decisions for my business, I thought that a good way to save money would be to forgo buying Microsoft Office and using OpenOffice instead. It’s a pretty tidy plan, except that Word and OpenOffice render .doc files slightly differently, so I wouldn’t be assured that what I see and what the client sees are the same. And since Microsoft Word has (for some reason) become the de facto standard for word processor software, it looks like I’m stuck with Word for now. Anyway, back to why I don’t like Word…
One particularly bothersome “feature” of Word is its use of “smart quotes.” Here’s an article that explains what they are and why they’re bad.
When I code something big, complicated, and useful (for example, a content management system), and everything validates and looks fantastic, it really gets to me when something as stupid and Word’s smart quotes comes along and buggers the whole thing up. It’s kind of like when you’re on an airplane and you’re thinking, “wow, this giant metal thing really flies. How cool is that?” Then, suddenly, someone farts and you can’t roll down the window to get fresh air. It’s like that. It’s not a flaw in the design of the plane, it’s the user’s fault because they just =had= to eat Indian food for dinner the night before.
There are countless chunks of code out there that help to smart quotes (and other invalid characters that Word assumes you want) with their valid counterparts. I’ve tried to implement them in my code, but just as having windows on a plane that roll down would cause the plane to crash, so too my program failed. I have no idea why, and I haven’t had time to try to figure it out, but it’s as annoying as a gassy passenger.
Gassy passenger? That would make a great name for a band…0 People like this. Be the first!