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User Interface Design for Programmers by JOEL SPOLSKY

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CHAPTER6Consistency andOther Hobgoblins

The main programs in the Microsoft Office suite, Word and Excel, were developed from scratch at Microsoft. Others were bought from outside companies, notably FrontPage (bought from Vermeer) and Visio, bought from Visio. You know what FrontPage and Visio have in common? They were originally designed to look and feel just like Microsoft Office applications.

The decision to emulate the Office UI wasn't merely to suck up to Microsoft or to position the companies for acquisition. Indeed, Charles Ferguson, who developed FrontPage, does not hesitate to admit his antipathy for Microsoft; he repeatedly begged the Justice Department to do something about the Redmond Beasties (until he sold his company to them, after ...

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