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RANT: We want back our "Close" button - does we?
Posted by Arne Hess - on Sunday, 27.04.03 - 16:47:30 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 10497x
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One of the never ending topics in the Pocket PC world is - I think - the discussion of close button vs. minimize functionality. As we have in the Windows based PC world the button, which terminates a running program, in the Pocket PC world, we have a similar button - - which does the opposite, it minimize the current program only but it's still open and running in the background.

As you might know - I'm a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) and therefore the Mobile Device MVPs are invited one to two times a year to Redmond to discuss the latest developments with the Microsoft Product Managers and since I was there the first time in 2000, the "give us back our close button" discussion is one of the most emotional discussed topics. On one side Microsoft - who says "we changed the function for good reasons"; on the other side the MVPs - who says "but we want it back as this implementation doesn't makes any sense".

Well, yes - using an X to indicate to minimize a program wasn't the best decision but I have to admit that - if the close button would terminate apps today - I would come into trouble!

Hell, Microsoft - what did you do with me!? You have reeducated me but on a way I wasn't aware off! ;-)

The great folks of Spb Software House released Pocket Plus a while back, a great tool which adds functionalities the plain Pocket PC missed today. One of the most advertised features of Pocket Plus (there are other/similar apps to Pocket Plus as well - I just highlight it here because it's one of my top utilities I install on every Pocket PC first) is that it gives us back the close functionality and replace minimize with terminating applications if you tap the X button.

First of all, when it was released I though myself a kind of "for God sake - finally". However, I realized pretty soon, that I'm used to use my Pocket PC different than I thought. Today, after more then 3 years of using a Pocket PC, tapping the X means for me minimize the app, not anymore close it! 8o I realized it, when I was tapping the X in MSN Messenger and wondered, why I was signed out all the time. Damn, they did it; they
reeducated me... ;-)

So what I did was changing the Pocket Plus X button functionality back to minimize instead of terminate. Oh man... What an experience that you don't want back what you was fighting for for the past three years. :P

Anyway - what Spb included into the latest versions of Pocket Plus is the best trade-off, now you can define which applications should be minimized and which apps should be terminated:

That's the cleverest way to handle minimize and terminate. So I swear - I will never force Microsoft to give us back our close button but I swear now that I will force them to give us the minimize AND the close button - - like we used to use it on Desktop PCs...
;-) :D

Cheers ~ Arne


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Posted by Arne Hess on 28.04.03 - 01:32:24

I think the nicest thing about the Pocket PC is that third party developers can actually add more functions to one icon.  I for one do not mind the minimize on single tap mode.  As with the Spb Pocket Plus for example, a tap + gesture (tap in a sliding motion downward) on the X button actually closes the running app.  This in fact will re-educate you into believing that there is a point to it after all.  A single button can do so many things.

Like right now, you can have a single tap on the X button for Pocket Plus to Minimize the currently running app.  A tap and hold on the X button will act more like a Ctl-Alt-Del to show you the running programs, and a Tap with gesture on the X button will actually exit the current running app.  This leaves Spb with another action which is not yet implemented with Pocket Plus... the Double Tap... Will we see them add another fuction to just a single button?  Quite possible.

Mabuhay ~ Carlo

Posted by Saif on 29.04.03 - 00:06:51

I think that programs for Smartphones should come with both an option for minimise and complete exit/close. This way you have better means of memory management.

Until there is an 'official' taskmanager style app from MS we will have to rely on third party programs like SP Task MGR which perform wonderfully well but are only useable by unlocked handsets.

Just a thought...

All apps should have an exit option.

Posted by Gaute on 29.04.03 - 10:36:43

I'm not sure if I dare to say this... but; I like the button the way it is... using PocketNAV is a perfect companion to the X-button!

I also like the smart-minimize function in Wisbar, but I have to say PocketNAV-solution is excelent!

We must stop thinkin' of the PocketPC as a small PC and more of it as a PDA, and use it differently :-)

Posted by Marc Zimmermann on 29.04.03 - 11:14:11

Actually, it's a majority of MVPs who apparently feel quite emotional about the Close button, but certainly it's not all of us. I don't care about the issue at all as my Pocket PCs rarely slow down or behave strangely and even then I am finding a quick soft reset simpler and faster than actively closing applications. I'm willing to favor better app startup time over the intermittent soft reset. Personally, I think that the whole issue is blown quite a bit out of proportion as the smart minimize works quite well except for some poorly written applications that don't release resources when requested to do so by the operating system.

Posted by Arne Hess on 29.04.03 - 12:18:41

Personally, what I want to see is more functions associated with a single button such as the X button.

I don't like clutterig up the Navigation Bar of the Pocket PC with too many icons... I guess one icon that can do 4 different things is better than 4 icons that crowd a Nav bar.

Mabuhay ~ Carlo

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