There's been a fair amount of traffic in the vwnc mailing list over the Widgetry decision for the last few days. This morning, I put together another message that I sent to the list - with a few changes for general posting, I'm going to post here, and expand on it a bit.
This is in response to a question that was asked about our reasoning: that reasoning being that evolving tools in the existing UI would be simpler and faster than building new ones from scratch in Widgetry. I thought that was clear, but I was asked why we didn't have our tools staff building in Widgetry. Well: here's the thing: we did.
A large part of this decision stems from the unhappy results of that. We took that path, and we were distinctly unhappy with how it was looking. Ultimately, in my role as Product Manager, I had to ask a simple question:
If our internal people are having this much trouble dealing with Widgetry, how are customers going to deal with it?
This does not imply that Wrapper is some shining city on a hill, or that Widgetry is a disaster. Here's the bottom line, though: In order to ask customers to migrate from Wrapper to Widgetry, Widgetry would have to be dramatically better than Wrapper. At the end of the day, we couldn't say that it was. It was an improvement in many areas, but it also has problems, and simply didn't "move the ball forward" enough to ask people to move to it.
It was also implied that I was creating "politically correct" responses based on some kind of secret feedback from a small group of customers. Nothing could be further from the truth - I rarely check with anyone before I post here, or in email. Heck, I created my blog, and offered to host other people, without getting formal permission to do so.
The decision to cancel Widgetry and move the current UI forward was made based on internal considerations, along with feedback from a number of customers over the course of the last few years.
smalltalk, cincom smalltalk, GUI