Why "Remember This Choice" checkboxes are EVIL!!!!
Friday, March 27, 2015 at 11:54PM
Rich

I've noticed, both as a fledgling developer and seasoned IT support dude, that doing anything the first time sucks.  If whatever you're doing doesn't work as you thought it would that first time it throws everything into doubt.  Is there a flaw in what I did?  Does the component itself not work?  Did I forget to uncheck the "don't work" checkbox in settings?  The list goes on.  It's an awful feeling when this happens.  Best case scenario you're annoyed.  Worst case for me usually means I assume I'll be spending the next 4 hours of my life trying to get things working only to discover that whatever I'm trying to do is fundamentally broken, and will never be fixed, and everyone already knows about it.  Now this has never happened, but it's often how I've felt after the second or third attempt that doesn't work.

What does this have to do with checkboxes?  Relax, man, I'm getting there.

In this particular case, I spent the better part of at least an hour (probably more) trying to figure out why I couldn't ignore anything from version control in my classifieds project.  I'm using a new (to me) IDE that integrates with git (another technology relatively new to me).  I thought it might be prudent to leave the file with the database username and password out of version tracking.  Realistically, I'd say it's a low risk in this case, but I want to do things right.  So I make an ignore file for git, add that file name, and do a test push.  Oops, there's my settings file, sitting up on gitub.  Fortunately, I had the foresight to test this with a blank file.

I'm not in full despair at this point.  I need to research it a bit first, find out everything is set up correctly, yet it doesn't work.  Now the despair is starting to creep in.  After much testing and experimentation, I figure out gitignore will work if i add the file name to it BEFORE making the file.  So now I know something's wrong.  Chances are it's not with git, since the whole damn world seems to be using it just fine.  So it's either the IDE or some bug in the git integration.  Now I'm cursing the developers, their mothers, it gets ugly for a little while.  A bit more digging and experimentation soon reveals the true culprit:  ME!  When I first started on this project it would prompt me for every new file if I wanted to add it to git, with a checkbox to remember that decision.  Dumb ol' me thought "why wouldn't I want to add any new files to version control automatically?", so I clicked the checkbox and said yes.  I remembered that only AFTER finding the setting for how to handle new files.  I will gladly go back to being nagged to avoid something like this happening again.

What surprises me the most is that I almost never use those checkboxes.  I have no scientific proof of this, but I'm pretty sure something bad happens everytime one of those is used.  The important thing is that I ultimately have it working.  Gopod times, huh?

Article originally appeared on Rich Burns (http://richburns.me/).
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