Delicious Library 2 is not that goodMay 27, 2008
I am doing my best to be impartial. Here are the notes I made as I tried out this app for the first time.
- The first thing you see when you open the app is a message that the graphics will not work properly (and they sure don’t) until the next OS revision comes out, whenever that is. It’s really odd to me that Wil released this app now, with a degraded first impression and a promise that it’ll work well on the next OS revision, after delaying for years while waiting for certain OS revisions to come out. Why the rush all of a sudden?
- The “Upgrading Library” message appears in front of all apps. Sure, it’s movable, but couldn’t it be a sheet or something?
- The shelves are the same old faux wood pattern that repeats unnaturally every couple hundred pixels.
- The initial sidebar width, at least on my MacBook Air, is so narrow that I couldn’t distinguish the items from one another.
- If you already have a library, you can’t even try out many of the new features, because you have too many items. So then you have to manually set aside your version 1 and version 2 libraries in order to try out the app meaningfully.
- Searching for anything in Japanese returns completely useless and unrelated results. For instance, when I searched for アルトネリコ, the first result on Amazon’s site is the new design materials book, but DL’s first result is a Harry Potter book, and none of the results are about Ar tonelico at all.
- The Action menu is weirdly unpadded, compared to normal menus.
- Hitting the weirdly-colored and sometimes-absent eye icon on an item, or the baffling “Play” command in the Action menu, when a Japanese book is selected, tries to open that item on the USA Amazon site, and of course fails.
- There’s no documentation. The site and the app both just retain the old 1.5 help, so I can’t for instance find out if the “dimensions” attribute is actually supposed to affect the item’s appearance, like I have been wanting, or not.
- The default friends list based on my last name is kind of dumb: it contains all of my little nieces and nephews in Chicago (who I only have in my address book in order to remember their birthdays), but of course only the ones from my brothers’ families and not my sisters’, because of their last name. I guess it’s just sample data, but it feels kind of awkward to have sample data that’s actually clumsily harvested from my own family. I’d rather have nobody at all in that list.
- The background removal for toy images is kind of a cool idea, but it fails way too often and too easily with the types of images Amazon offers. I hoped there would be an interface for adjusting the transparent areas (or at least a way to open the image in Preview and do it there), but there isn’t.
- The horizontal inspector pane is kind of awkward and bad. The three-pane-wide arrangement from before worked great; now my inspector has to be taller than my shelves view in order to see all of the details of an item.
- Maybe I missed some retraction, but wasn’t the whole point of DL2 supposed to be social-networking type stuff? Where you could find other people who owned similar items or items you were interested in, get recommendations, and so on? None of that stuff seems to be in here.
- In preferences: “Subscribe to other’s libraries”. :
- The shattering animation when you delete something (apparently replacing the burning animation in some previews) is pretty cheesy-looking: the shards shoot straight outward for a while, then fall straight downward, with no arc. That’s nitpicky, but the whole point of this app is supposed to be visually rich, exquisitely detailed enjoyment, right? I’d rather have an item fade out gracefully than blow up crappily.
- More attention-to-detail nitpicks: the credits in the about box are tiny black text on a high-contrast wood pattern, making them really hard to read. That’s a shame because they’re actually pretty informative about the work that has been done on the app over the years. The badges on overdue items, with plain black text on colored blobs, are pretty ugly. So is the snarky “OWNED!” stamp on related items results. None of these things is deadly for an ordinary app, as they are just aesthetic shortcomings in a x.0 release. But they are examples of reasons I think DL doesn’t really deserve the gushing praise about how gorgeous it is.
- Something I would normally ignore, if I didn’t know what I know about Wil: I don’t think the employee chosen to take the barcode-scanning screenshot, nor her wardrobe, nor the peripheral positioning of the item to be scanned, are coincidences.