Ras wrote:That is after bypassing the awful "startup dialogue" which shouldn't even exist at all.
Well, it doesn't exist in XBoard, and when you start WinBoard through the Windows start menu item specifying what you want to do, you would not get it either. You would directy connect to ICC/FICS, start in game-viewer mode, play against Fairy-Max or whatever. You would only get the Startup Dialog if you explicitly ask for it in the system start menu.
Want to play an engine? Oh, the first radio button is set to "play against a chess engine or match two engines". How to select ONE engine?
That is "play against an engine", right? It doesn't say "Play against two engines"...
Delete the second engine, which lacks an option but is possible via keyboard delete. And what you get is a nonsense error message after which Winboard exits. Great.
Why the heck would you do that??? No one ever complained about that before. But I guess it would be very easy to make it more idiot-proof here, by simply using the first engine also as second engine, when the user doesn't specify one. XBoard already does that, for other reasons.
Next try, use "just view or edit games" to bypass that stuff. Hm, edit engine list. Come on, this is a joke. This isn't even a GUI, this is a command line wrapper.
This item is just for deleting or re-ordering the list. Otherwise you should never need it. Standard text-editing functions are actually a very efficient way to do this. No cumbersome buttons to move a selected engine one place up or down, you can immediately select a bunch of them and insert them in a new place.
See Arena how to do that one right. Ok, so "load first engine". This is another odd behavior because loading and registering the engine are clumped together in one menu item. At least, it works.
In my experience, people would have no clue what it meant if you provided a menu item "register engine". And I don't think they should be burdened to know it. 'Load' they should understand; almost every application has a menu item to 'load' whatever it operates on. If they want to use another engine, it would be natural to 'load' it, like they 'load' another doc file when they want to edit another manuscript. And while doing it, they will quickly discover
that they don't always have to browse to the engine (which some GUIs require, btw), but that engines they used before appears in a list, so that they only have to click it there. And in XBoard they would not even have to do that. If they have an engine, it would be in the list first time they look.
It seems you have been so much exposed to the crummy way it tends to work in other Chess GUIs, that you consider it normal that engines have to be 'registered' before you can use them, and get confused when this silliness is abolished.
Ok, engine is loaded. Btw, does editing the position work?
Yeah, really important. Usually the first thing any user would do, editing a position. And of course they would never paste a FEN.
No, it doesn't. No reaction. I'm also unwilling at this point to find out how else if not via Menu->Edit->Edit position you edit the position because this is just totally broken. There is no error message, not even a stupid one, nothing to guide the user. No editor opens.
Funny that you expect
anything to open. It clicking your text file so that NotePad opens, and then asking "now where is the editor", and going like mad through all the menus to find a dialog with all letters of the alphabet so that you can drag them to the text.
'Editing' means that you are allowed to change what you see. In the case of a Chess position it just means that you can make arbitrary changes to the location of the pieces, by dragging them around without any restriction (by the rules of Chess).
But.. huh?! nearly invisible "click clock to clear board", that wasn't there before. Is that related to editing a position? Clicking a clock to clear the position is probably the worst joke possible for this feature. Hmm CLICK.. oh, the board is empty. Cool. How to get pieces there, without any kind of editor panel?! No indicator whatsoever. Click-clack around. You don't want to make the user GUESS, that is the point of a GUI.
That is an interesting point of view. For me, as a user, it is not so much important what I can do with a GUI in the first minute, but rather what I can do in the 20 years after that. This is what makes me prefer one GUI over another. Discoverability is a nice feature, but if it forces things to work in a simplistic and cumbersome way because otherwise they would be too difficult to discover, I would prefer to use the superior method even if it was somewhat less obvious to discover (or, heaven forbid, would require me to look in the man**l).
You write a nice comedy act, but in fact you did discover that you had to click the clock, eve though it was the absolutely crazy thing to do. How long did that take you? On minute? An hour? A day? A week? And once you knew it, how long did you remember it before you had to rediscover it all from scratch again? It seems you are trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill here.
You seem to have grave objections against text as as a handle for discoverability. Why is that? Are we supposed to design for dyslectics? Every time XBoard starts, it prints in large letters over the board "Right-clicking menu item or dialog text pops up help on it". So if you are really clueless on how Edit Position is supposed to work, you could just right-click the menu item for it, and two minutes of reading would have revealed it to the finest detail. And if you would not remember that for the rest of your life, (it is no rocket science...), you could always right-click the menu item again. This is not what for me, as a user, determines whether I consider it a good or a poor GUI. That is determined by how easy it is in everyday use once I know how to use it