June 4th, 2008 • 6:10 pm
This is truly appalling. Try the following experiment.
Launch Word 2008 and open two separate document windows side by side in Word.
Then launch Mac OS X’s Preview application and open a document window in that application (a PDF file, for example).
Then click on one of the Word 2008 document windows in the background to bring it to the foreground.
In Mac OS X, this is supposed to bring the corresponding Word 2008 document window to the foreground and to cause the system to switch to the Word 2008 application, but the other Word 2008 document window (the one that you didn’t click on) should stay behind the Preview document window, even though Word 2008 is not the foreground application.
And it does. So far, so good.
Now in the “” menu, choose “ ” to hide the application and all its windows.
Then click on the Word icon in the Dock again to make the hidden application and its two document windows visible again.
Then click on the Preview document window in the background to bring it to the foreground and switch to Preview.
Then click on one of the Word document windows in the background to bring it to the foreground and switch back to Word 2008.
What should happen here is, as indicated above, that the Word document window that you clicked on should come to the foreground and that Mac OS X should switch to Word, but the other Word document window should stay behind the Preview document window.
Only this time it does not. As soon as you click on one of the Word document windows, both document windows come to the foreground—or, more accurately, the one you clicked on comes to the foreground, and the other one comes before the Preview document window, in the background.
This is completely, utterly wrong. And yet it is perfectly reproducible. All it takes is a single use of the “” command.
Microsoft’s Mac engineers are completely, utterly incompetent. That’s all there is to it. They are incapable of ensuring that their applications comply even with the most fundamental rules of operation in Mac OS X. As soon as a new version comes out, you can be sure that it breaks a whole slew of established rules in the OS, even if the previous version used to comply with them just fine. And it’ll be the same story the next time around. There is no hope.
Do I really need to explain why complying with Mac OS X’s standard rules for window layering is paramount? No, I don’t. It’s obvious. It’s fundamental. It is what enables people to work with a multitude of windows even on a small screen. Without proper window layering, you cannot keep windows in the order you desire.
Of course things used to be different in the classic Mac OS. Bringing an application to the foreground used to automatically bring all its windows to the foreground. I know that. But that was then, and this is now. Apple changed the rules, and there were good reasons for changing them!
But Microsoft does not care. They constantly break the rules, using excuses such as “opportunity cost” to justify their incompetence and their total lack of effort. It is hopeless.