Very annoying experience: KDevelop documentation index creation

Benjamin Lee Solosy aethereal at
Thu Jan 9 14:40:22 GMT 2003

Hi everybody,

I just started up KDevelop for the first time on this particular distribution 
(Red Hat 8.0; KDE 3.0.3-8 Red Hat), which led to one of the most stupid and 
annoying KDE feature implementations I have ever come across.

I say "stupid" because this implementation broke at least 3 of the most 
cardinal rules of software design.

First, I'll tell you what I did/observed.  Then I'll describe what KDevelop 
did wrong.

1.  I started up KDevelop for the first time, which initiated the KDevelop 
setup routine.  Fine.
2.  I got to step 8 (of 9) where it asks if I would like to create a 
documentation index (for Qt and KDE by default).  I thought, yes sure, and 
clicked on Create Index.
3.  A new dialog box was spawned which indicated:  "Wait until this process is 
finished."  The OK button was greyed-out as my hard drive began to churn as 
this index was being created...

This went on for a few minutes...  Data was being actively output to the 
available message box indicating the status of my index creation, so I 
patiently waited...
Five minutes went by...  Still churning away...  Index creation ongoing...
Ten minutes went by...  I went to get a cup of coffee...
Fifteen minutes elapsed...  I decided to find something to read on my 
computer...  Very tough to do though since index creation seems to be hogging 
all of my machine's resources.  Everything is very sloooooooooowwww...
Thirty minutes go by, and by all appearances, this index creation is still 
running...  I've already come this far, I hate to stop it now...
An hour goes by...  This is getting *really annoying*...
Two hours later, and I had to kill the damn thing.  

Could index creation normally be expected to take two hours?
I wouldn't have guessed so, but, again, by all appearances, it certainly 
seemed to be doing so.  Killing htdig summarily returned control of my 
harddrive and RAM.

What did KDevelop do very wrong (beyond a possibly flawed index creation)?
1.  It did not give any indication whatsoever how long index creation might be 
expected to take (e.g., two minutes or two hours?)
2.  It effectively hijacked my machine [usurped control of my machine] for two 
hours (which I only allowed it to do thinking: a.  Surely, it will end any 
minute now...  b.  I don't generally like to disturb any processes, if I am 
not sure of the consequences, particularly those that generically warn, "Wait 
until this process is finished" while churning through my entire hard drive.)
3.  It did not provide any kind of status indicator/progress bar whatsoever to 
indicate where the hell it was in the process of creating the index.
4.  It provided only a non-negotiable demand/warning prior to commencing:
""Wait until this process is finished."
5.  It did not provide any means whatsoever for cancelling the process.
(Even after I killed the popup dialog and clicked the Cancel button on the 
parent window, and killed that window, the index creation process was still 
ongoing.  I had to open a terminal and do a "ps aux" and manually kill the 
offending htdig.)

So, in summary, what do users hate:
1.  We hate having our machines hijacked/rendered unusable for an 
unknown/extended period of time.
2.  We hate being left in the dark as to what the hell is going on.
3.  We hate not being able to cancel whatever action is underway.

I may file a bug against this particular issue, but the overall concepts above 
seemed to warrant a general message on the (much more important) overarching 
theme of good design/usability vs. bad design/stupidity.


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