Joel gives bad advice: details at 11:00
Am I blind, or does Joel on Software not allow comments any more? (Or did it ever?) Well, I guess I’ll respond to his latest article on disabling unusable menu items right here, even though that means he’ll never see it.
Don’t do this… Instead, leave the menu item enabled. If there’s some reason you can’t complete the action, the menu item can display a message telling the user why.
That would be incredibly annoying – I’d be constantly clicking on items I expect to work and getting a popup saying, “Sorry.” In an app I use often, I use the menus mostly by feel, so I’m not going to notice that now there’s a message saying, “Disabled because the moon is in th’e fourth quarter and you haven’t paid your phone bill.” Or if I do it’ll be in the instant before my finger clicks the button, so now I’ll just have time to realize I screwed up before it pops up the Box of Aggravation.
A better thing to do would be to disable the option, so if I click on it nothing will happen instead of the app yelling at me, and have feedback on why it’s disabled.