Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What If Two Programs Did This? (My Take)

Reading this today, I quickly thought of something similar. Windows Media Player file associations. I was working on a project where we were implementing a custom installation of the WebTop interface to Documentum, and we ran into a similar problem. We wanted to use a custom player for .WAV files when the user clicked a link in the WebTop interface. Documentum provided a hook so that the content was downloaded to the user's machine, and would then launch the associated application. Problem was, though, that changing the file association in Windows Explorer was not enough. It seemed to work, at first. You would change the file association in Windows Explorer, double-click on a .WAV file, and the new media player would load as expected. However, clicking on the link from WebTop, however, still launched Windows Media Player. Turns out that Windows Media player sets itself as the default in another part of the registry as well. So, to get around the problem, you had to unassociate Windows Media Player from within the Windows Media Player preferences, then go to Windows Explorer, and setup the new association.

So, when I read this, I had to laugh. Here, a MS guy is saying not to do the very thing that a Windows app is doing, though not quite as annoyingly as the products he is discussing. Same root problem though -- Taking choice away from the user!

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