Welcome to Pete Brown's 10rem.net

First time here? If you are a developer or are interested in Microsoft tools and technology, please consider subscribing to the latest posts.

You may also be interested in my blog archives, the articles section, or some of my lab projects such as the C64 emulator written in Silverlight.

(hide this)

Microsoft Going Old School with ASCII Art Progress Bars

Pete Brown - 25 September 2008

What's up with the new spinning ASCII art in Microsoft installers?


(from http://www.asciimation.co.nz/ all of Star Wars as animated ASCII art)

Ok, well, not quite as bad as that <g>, but you've seen it:

| / - \ | / - \ |

When it cycles like that, it looks like a rotating line, straight out of DOS or our old VT100/220 terminal days.

I think the problem they're trying to solve is the progress bar will sit at zero forever while *something* happens. While the art is sort of old-school cute, I would prefer they fix the progress bar logic instead :)

The problem, which is by no means unique to Microsoft, is that installers often show progress by steps within the installer rather than some temporal measurement. The moving gloss/highlight on the progress bar in Vista is supposed to help show that something is still happening, but that's not always reliable these days, and (as far as I know) nothing shows in XP.

Back in the early VB days and Access, we used to do the half-scale progress bars. Set up a timer, then go to 50% complete, then 50% of the remaining time and 50% of that and so on until you hard coded 100% when your code was done. Not saying that’s any better…

Maybe progress bars need to go and be replaced by some other measurement of completeness of a process. Ideas?

Or, if ASCII art is the trend, I’ll go back to the enormous usenet .sig I had in college ;)

posted by Pete Brown on Thursday, September 25, 2008
filed under:    

Comment on this Post

Remember me