Usability Post just wrote up a small article on overwriting system level key bindings in web-apps, and how, obviously, it’s a bad idea. Apparently Google overwrote an OS X key binding with their new find and replace feature.
What’s amusing to me isn’t the overlap of the key bindings – that’s just sloppy – no, no what’s amusing is this:
You read it right: Google Docs is in “beta” and they’ve still managed to release an “alpha” version of a feature.
Seriously everybody? You couldn’t just spend the extra – what, 2 or 3 days? – to implement a real Find and Replace? You had to ship it only with Replace All? And worse, you’ve shipped it with just as much apology text as actual feature text? Is there any quality level you have to meet at Google to ship something? If it’s not ready you just throw a “sorry it’s crappy” tag on it and call it a day?
This rant isn’t about Google, and it’s certainly not about a Find and Replace feature. I could care less about some random piddly feature somewhere. No, this rant is about the philosophy of this feature. It’s the very idea of shipping something this half-assed that just turns my insides.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about excellence: in software, in work, and in life. The most frustrating thing to me is a lack of focus, quality, and vision when sitting down to a task – these are not optional. True excellence is not “whoops! not done with [alpha] feature yet! ship it with apology tags attached!” Excellence is this opposite of this. Excellence is an angry grumpy image of your most hated critic (ideally yourself), standing at the release gate, saying “No. Wrong. Do it again, and next time call me when you’re actually done.”
And so, I appeal to you, my few readers and subscribers, as you work at your job, your family, your faith, and your life, please strive for a more perfect and excellent result than it’s-beta-and-alpha-all-in-one-but-I-shipped-it-anyway-lol.