HTML has spoiled end-users

"People are quick to learn (in most cases), but slow to change."

Change happens all the time. We change our shoes, our clothes, the car we drive, what we eat for breakfast, where we live and where we work. But change certain things on people and wow, you are in a world of hurt.

I've recently been re-writing/migrating/enhancing an application at work, which used to be in JSP pages to Flex 3 and things have been progressing well. Until of course people started using the application. Main complaint? "Why can't I highlight this page and copy it into an email?" Well what the end-user was referring to as a page is actually a TitleWindow that has some information on it and a DataGrid with the financial information in it. What he basically wants to do would be possible if it was an HTML page, cause you can highlight anything in an HTML page. But the real reason for having to do this? The person needing this information did not want to take the time to access the application to see this information for himself. (so is the main issue here lazyness?)

So the simplest thing has caused negative feedback for the new version application and not just from one person. And it is the most basic thing really, copy'n'paste functionality that is normally part of the OS/browser. Something people have been able to do since forever is now no longer possible. They could use screen capture applications, but they don't support the Flash Player and its DataGrid control. People don't see that the information is more presentable and easier to navigate, they are only taking about the simplest basic feature that is no longer working.

So what to do? I will have to do some research to see if anyone else has had this problem and basically make Flex more HTMLism I guess. But mostly, in the end, I will have to change.


Dusty said...

Copying cells is easy:


They can paste into any MS OLE app (excel, word, outlook)

Anonymous said...

How about letting users save data as an Excel spreadsheet?

Anonymous said...


Tink said...

or let user take a snapshot.

If you using Flash 10 you can do this directly and save to the HD, or Flash 9 you could combine it with some server-side to open the image in a new browser window.

Dimitrios "Jimmy" Gianninas said...

Hi guys, thanks for the feedback. Dusty your example if priceless, didn't even know I could that, thanks alot.

Some users want to copy to a spreadsheet, so taking data and turning in into TSV works fine for that. But for copy-to-email, not so much, they want a nice HTML table...still looking into this.

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Alex Gonzalez said...

That's why HTML won't go away any time soon. HTML5/CSS3 has made great progress in moving towards Flash/Flex capabilities. Canvas is the early version of Flash. Yeah it's in baby stages but eventually we will have the DirectX(IE9)/OpenGL and other similar hardware capabilities that Flash provides. That way we can all standardize the web.

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