Don’t Steal My Focus

I’m not the first to complain about this, but I won’t be the last.

There is no worse sin for an OS than to let an application take control of my focus. Nothing is quite like the exquisite torment of being in the middle of giving your program commands, and nothing happens. Perhaps another program popped up in a second window when I wasn’t looking and took focus from me. Sometimes I launch a program, then switch to a web browser and start navigating, only to have my focus is lost to a modal popup. I switch back to the web browser, continue navigating, and the same app opens another modal popup, breaking up my browsing experience yet again.

Seriously, I’m trying to get some work done here. I swapped away from your slow, bloated program, because it takes 20 seconds to fully launch. I don’t want to sit there wasting time while you finish. Just do your load, and don’t steal my focus, is that so hard?

Besides being horribly annoying, its been known to cause serious problems for people. My personal low involved me setting my away message in my messaging program to my banking website password for two days. Currently most of the onus of this problem is on the application developer, but I think that’s just passing the buck. OS developers need to make a stand and put in place protections to prevent this sort of thing.

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