Thursday, March 24, 2005

Refresh considered harmful

Along the same lines as my recent post entitled "Polling and pinging considered harmful", I'd like to add the ubiquitous "Refresh" function to the list of "bad system design" features. The only real excuse for having a user-visible "Refresh" (or even timed-refresh) feature is the lack of a decent underlying information distribution architecture.

There's no need to clog the network will excessive "refresh" traffic. And there is certainly no excuse for having the poor dumb user manually poll information sources. There's no good reason for having unchanged data flow all the way across the net on each refresh request. Many of those refresh requests are simply because the dumb user can't be sure whether the visiable information is up to date.

A solution to the "polling and pinging" problem for feed files (such as RSS) would enable the elimination of the user-visible refresh function as well.

-- Jack Krupansky

1 Comments:

At 3:08 PM MST , Blogger Lee said...

Hi Jack,

Bill gave a good reason for this at Entcon. Polling an RSS feed allows us to 'turn off' the channel ourselves. The interrupt method you mention is analogous to email, and it is being abused to the point of near uselessness because of the spam effect, which we can't turn off at will. For that matter, we don't even get the chance to 'opt in' for unsolicited email. Granted, polling isn't efficient, but it's a great alternative to being interrupted by anyone with a computer! :-)

-Lee

 

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