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OMG! What's with the stone age GUI ?

  • 11 September 2019
  • 21 replies
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Hi,
Couldn't you just hire a better graphic designer with a better sense for appearance ?

Here's an example:



Now compare this with Webroot's GUI

See the difference ?

Please implement this, if possible.

Thanks!

21 replies

Userlevel 7
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I use the Business product from Webroot, but I'm guessing the main program interface is pretty much the same. Given that, I'd have to vote this down if I could. Now that's unusual for me and its not so much that I disagree with you @ceo54. However, Webroot is one of the few/only anti-virus products that support older operating systems. This support unfortunately comes at a price to how GUIs can be coded. For instance, Webroot still supports Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The coding used in those versions of Windows is far inferior to modern Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019. Their only alternative would be to fork the coding and have two versions. This means that they would have maintain potentially four versions of code, older 32-bit and 64-bit as well as newer 32-bit and 64-bit versions. I doubt they want to maintain that many versions of the code. Plus make it all work with their Business GSM platform and have their Mac versions have a consistent look as well. Let's face it, that's a lot to ask.
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What's the marketshare of those stone age OS's again please ?

So for 2.8% you would rather live in the past instead of catering for the rest of 97% ??? Even our government that decides the fate of the world gets elected at 51%

Sounds like an excellent business strategy.😆
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I'm not suggesting that it's good, but they are supporting a wide range of products and that's not easy.

In case you aren't aware, there are a lot of manufacturers from all types of industries that are stuck on old hardware and software. This is because the PC or Server is attached to a piece of manufacturing equipment. Most people would say replace the PC or Server, but what they don't realize is, this means replacing the entire piece of equipment. So, a $1,000 to $5,000 expense just became a $1,000,000 to $10,000,000+ expense.

Listen this isn't business strategy that manufacturers like. Manufacturers have to deal with equipment manufacturers that work like this:
  1. Equipment manufacturers build their equipment to work on a specific version of an operating system. Manufacturers can't even install Windows Updates because it "might" mess something up.
  2. Equipment manufacturers use older operating systems and other software specifically because they are tested and they know they will work with their software.
  3. Equipment manufacturers don't want manufacturers installing third party software on the system because it "might" mess something up. Sometimes manufacturers are lucky and they will, if the software is vetted first.
  4. If a manufacturer does anything that goes outside of that box, it voids the support contract on a multi-million dollar piece of equipment.
As for your reference to the percentage of the population using outdated software. Last I heard Windows 7 and Windows 10 where still fairly close in the polls. Windows 7 is EOLed in 4 months, so should Webroot stop supporting them too? If so, your percentage of users sky rockets.

Food for Thought,
NicCrockett
Webroot is one of the few/only anti-virus products that support older operating systems. This support unfortunately comes at a price to how GUIs can be coded. For instance, Webroot still supports Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The coding used in those versions of Windows is far inferior to modern Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019. Their only alternative would be to fork the coding and have two versions. This means that they would have maintain potentially four versions of code, older 32-bit and 64-bit as well as newer 32-bit and 64-bit versions. I doubt they want to maintain that many versions of the code. Plus make it all work with their Business GSM platform and have their Mac versions have a consistent look as well. Let's face it, that's a lot to ask.
Thanks, Nic. I hadn't thought that one through. I have always been somewhat underwhelmed by Webroot's aesthetic taste in terms of GUIs etc. but at the same time the point you make above is pertinent and one I hadn't thought of. I know your business, for particular reasons, still has to depend on XP, and even I still resort to my ancient XP device for a couple of my apps. While a very small and diminishing percentage of customers use XP, support for such is rare among security products and this is therefore a strength of Webroot.

Another point which may or may not be pertinent, seeing that another strength of Webroot is its tiny footprint, is that the design of Webroot's GUI was, as all of Webroot's interface, written "using the unadorned C language ... As Jaroch likes to point out, a bitmap screenshot of the main window occupies more space on disk than the program itself." I assume this is still the case even today. But does this latter point rule out your point above about Windows 10 coding as compared to coding permitted in earlier Windows versions??? Oh dear, I'm so ignorant about computer coding and programming ☹.

So I'm considering withdrawing my vote on this one, but await your response regarding my latter point.
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Webroot is one of the few/only anti-virus products that support older operating systems. This support unfortunately comes at a price to how GUIs can be coded. For instance, Webroot still supports Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The coding used in those versions of Windows is far inferior to modern Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019. Their only alternative would be to fork the coding and have two versions. This means that they would have maintain potentially four versions of code, older 32-bit and 64-bit as well as newer 32-bit and 64-bit versions. I doubt they want to maintain that many versions of the code. Plus make it all work with their Business GSM platform and have their Mac versions have a consistent look as well. Let's face it, that's a lot to ask.Thanks, Nic. I hadn't thought that one through. I have always been somewhat underwhelmed by Webroot's aesthetic taste in terms of GUIs etc. but at the same time the point you make above is pertinent and one I hadn't thought of. I know your business, for particular reasons, still has to depend on XP, and even I still resort to my ancient XP device for a couple of my apps. While a very small and diminishing percentage of customers use XP, support for such is rare among security products and this is therefore a strength of Webroot.

Another point which may or may not be pertinent, seeing that another strength of Webroot is its tiny footprint, is that the design of Webroot's GUI was, as all of Webroot's interface, written "using the unadorned C language ... As Jaroch likes to point out, a bitmap screenshot of the main window occupies more space on disk than the program itself." I assume this is still the case even today. But does this latter point rule out your point above about Windows 10 coding as compared to coding permitted in earlier Windows versions??? Oh dear, I'm so ignorant about computer coding and programming ☹.

So I'm considering withdrawing my vote on this one, but await your response regarding my latter point.


@Muddy7,

You are correct, our business has printing equipment that meets the specs that I talked about. However, I wasn't talking about just our business. I'm part of an IT networking group made up of IT professionals from a wide range of businesses. Yes, some of them stay up-to-date because they can due to the fact that they are outfitting offices where people sit at a PC. I'm not putting them down, they are amazing professionals and the jobs are needed. However, it's easier to stay up-to-date when you are simply updating PCs, printers, servers, etc. On the other hand, there are a number of professionals in our group that work in industries like:
  1. Food production and distribution
  2. Healthcare
  3. Banking
These and others have the same issues I do. Healthcare equipment that is meant to save lives is still being run on Windows XP. ATM's and POS machines are still being run on Windows XP. I hate to say it, but it's a stable and yes, vulnerable platform. I don't want to use it, but I have machines that require it. FYI, I still have a Windows Server 2000 running and I finally retired my last Windows NT4 Server last year. It takes a long time to get these devices retired, due to the expense to replace them.

Your point about Webroot having a small footprint on an endpoint is spot on. In fact, that was one of the reasons we choose Webroot over other vendors when we switched to them. We had Symantec previously and our endpoints crawled when users used them because of the way the software was written. When we switched to Webroot, our employees productivity increased by 200+%, just because the endpoint wasn't bogged down by the anti-virus.

Sincerely,
NicCrockett
Thanks, Nic.

All very interesting information. But you haven't addressed my question.

You say:
Webroot is one of the few/only anti-virus products that support older operating systems. This support unfortunately comes at a price to how GUIs can be coded. For instance, Webroot still supports Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The coding used in those versions of Windows is far inferior to modern Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019. Their only alternative would be to fork the coding and have two versions. This means that they would have maintain potentially four versions of code, older 32-bit and 64-bit as well as newer 32-bit and 64-bit versions. I doubt they want to maintain that many versions of the code. Plus make it all work with their Business GSM platform and have their Mac versions have a consistent look as well. Let's face it, that's a lot to ask.
As I said, this makes me question the vote I gave for the idea to update the GUI to a more aesthetically satisfying GUI as for example the one shown in the image provided by the author.

However, in order to decide one way or the other there is a question I need to have answered. I pointed out that:
the design of Webroot's (SecureAnywhere) GUI was, as all of Webroot's interface, written "using the unadorned C language ... As Jaroch likes to point out, a bitmap screenshot of the main window occupies more space on disk than the program itself."
and added:
I assume this is still the case even today.
My question therefore was this:
But does this latter point rule out your point above about Windows 10 coding as compared to coding permitted in earlier Windows versions???
Would love to have an answer on this if you are able to, in order to establish whether I can maintain my vote for the author's idea or not.

Thanks!
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Thanks, Nic.

All very interesting information. But you haven't addressed my question.

You say:

Webroot is one of the few/only anti-virus products that support older operating systems. This support unfortunately comes at a price to how GUIs can be coded. For instance, Webroot still supports Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The coding used in those versions of Windows is far inferior to modern Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019. Their only alternative would be to fork the coding and have two versions. This means that they would have maintain potentially four versions of code, older 32-bit and 64-bit as well as newer 32-bit and 64-bit versions. I doubt they want to maintain that many versions of the code. Plus make it all work with their Business GSM platform and have their Mac versions have a consistent look as well. Let's face it, that's a lot to ask.As I said, this makes me question the vote I gave for the idea to update the GUI to a more aesthetically satisfying GUI as for example the one shown in the image provided by the author.

However, in order to decide one way or the other there is a question I need to have answered. I pointed out that:

the design of Webroot's (SecureAnywhere) GUI was, as all of Webroot's interface, written "using the unadorned C language ... As Jaroch likes to point out, a bitmap screenshot of the main window occupies more space on disk than the program itself."and added:

I assume this is still the case even today.My question therefore was this:

But does this latter point rule out your point above about Windows 10 coding as compared to coding permitted in earlier Windows versions???Would love to have an answer on this if you are able to, in order to establish whether I can maintain my vote for the author's idea or not.

Thanks!



Sorry @Muddy7, didn't mean to leave something unanswered. You apparently have read some information on their coding that I haven't. I also cannot say for certain that changing the programming would increase the footprint or performance. Unfortunately, I can only make general points that I know could be a potential issue should Webroot update the interface. However, as I mentioned, we are a printing company. We deal with graphics for print, email, web, and apps. You quoted Jaroch's point about the bitmap taking up more space than the program. I don't have his comparisons or know when they were made, but I can tell you that graphic sizes increase constantly. We use to archive our jobs to 44 MB Syquest discs, then 256 MB Optical discs, and next 700 MB CDs. We archive monthly and one month I was going to have to burn 50 CDs, whereas the month before it was 7 CDs. So, we switched to 4.7 GB DVDs and now we use 25 GB Blu-Rays. I burn 25 Blu-Rays a year now, imagine if I was still burning to CDs. If you want an example that's in most people's pocket, look at the pixel size of photos taken by smartphones. Look at one you took 10 years ago versus now. I know this isn't a real answer, but I hope it offers some insight on how graphics can affect an app and for that matter a website. Web developers optimize graphics so they have a small footprint, allowing a webpage to load faster. This is extremely helpful on mobile websites.

Sincerely,
NicCrockett
OK. Thanks, Nic. All interesting.

Btw I embedded the link to that quote by Joe Jaroch so you can see it in its context. Prevx was famous for having a tiny installation file (±600Kb), and when Webroot SecureAnywhere appeared they inherited that approach. It seems that Joe (architect of both Prevx 3 and of WSA) made a point of programming in basic C language to bring the size of the footprint down (I think he says in his LinkedIn page that he reduced the footprint of Prevx by 20x). The installation file is larger now but I think that has something to do with the way that they used to compress that file, and how with more recent malicious coding techniques this can be used for nefarious purposes by malware writers to introduce malicious processes into that file.
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There's a lot of info in that article and I don't know how much is still relevant. Nothing against Webroot, but products can change a lot over the 7 years since that article was released. I will point out one thing in the article that still applies today and was something that I liked over Symantec. Webroot uses a cloud based definition service instead of downloading everything to every endpoint. Before we switched from Symantec the definition packages I downloaded daily were over 300 MB in size. Webroots ability to use the cloud instead of local storage greatly reduces the size of the program that has to be installed. So, take everything we've both said and you've got a fair assessment as to why Webroot has a small footprint. Yes, it's increased since this article, but not by that much and they had to code for newer versions of Windows. However, they did it in one installer, which circles back to my point about forking the software. As far as I can tell they didn't do that, and I'm guessing here, but that's probably what helped them keep the installer and processing footprint small.

Sincerely,
NicCrockett
Not so much as that has changed in my opinion. Webroot at its core is very much the same as Prevx was. With a larger development team, they were able to add new bits (shields, etc.) with the launch of Webroot SecureAnywhere in 2012. Not a lot has changed since that first launch. Obviously a lot of evolution and tweaking as malware has evolved and is constantly evolving, but fundamentally it is the same product.
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Again, I said "can" change, that doesn't mean they did. You've been using the software longer than I have, so I have to go by what you're saying has or hasn't changed. However, we know each other in the Webroot Community and you've always been truthful, so I have no reason to doubt that now. 😁 What you're saying makes perfect sense, so I'm not going to disagree with you. However, it's just honestly outside my realm of knowledge since I haven't used the product for as long nor did I help write it. I can only make general observations based on what I do know about it and what I see the world needs.

It's been great discussing this, but I've got to call it a day. Take care @Muddy7 and all who read this far! 😎

Sincerely,
NicCrockett
And my knowledge is limited by the fact that I'm not by any stretch of the imagination an IT pro. Just used Prevx>Webroot since 2006, and tried to observe and gradually acquaint myself, as best as I am able, with how it works.

Have a good evening and no doubt speak with you again in the not too distant future 😉
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@NicCrockett

Your arguments are not worth responding to because they are absurd. Let me elucidate:

1) You can't make a product that appeals to 100% of potential users. Look at the big giants, Microsoft, Google et al, is the marketshare for any of their products is 100% ??? Your analogy to not update the GUI should also apply to these corporations. Pretty sure they want to get to 100% mark.

2) What kind of problems the new GUI would produce on the older systems ? A better GUI can still be accomplished with older .Net or QT frameworks. I've tested some latest programs build on QT framework and they appear to be working fine on WinXP. Why can't Webroot ?

3) What extra measures it would take to maintain the two GUI's for the same program ? Give me an unpacked binary and I'll make an excellent GUI within 2 hours. Wanna bet ??? Once that is done, the same resources can all be ported with a simple script to newer versions within seconds.
Webroot don't wanna do it because they are simply plain lazy. Trying to manufacture an excuse from the thin air is just plain stupid.

3.1) I create Windows themes all the time. This is my latest creation:
https://i.postimg.cc/3NgMPnHc/Fullscreen-capture-13-09-2019-135036.png



This theme had 6687 properties in total. It took me 3 days to finish it. The default Windows Aero is 1.03 MB while my theme is 842 KB. Who was worried about the the resource usage ? 842 KB on a 20 GB OS ? how much difference can it make on a machine with 8GB physical memory ?

4) Webroot's business model wants to keep the users back from catering the needs of users just to appeal to the 2% who's complaints are not even genuine. (Read point 2)

5) My market share stats that you rejected, ask yourself is Win7 like Win XP or Server 2000 ? So why is Webroot like WinXP and not more like Win 7 ??

5.1) Last time I checked, all the programs that work on Win10 also work on Win7. Can this be said for the systems that you complain about ? Point being, the older system can't and shouldn't be compared to Win7. Win7 users don't have to rely on the .Net 2.0 to render the GUI, all latest program work fine there.

We can play this game till eternity. Your argument that some medieval corporation can't update it's .Net framework needs Webroot holds no gravity. Niet, Nada.

Maybe that corporation that you talk about should outsource it's business to some poor African country. That's where it belongs.

Kind regards.
For the time being, and unless and until Webroot give good reasons why this idea is not practicable and/or viable, my vote very much remains.

However @ceo54, I wonder why, if you think that Webroot

should outsource it's (sic) business to some poor African country. That's where it belongs.

(racist comment?? this acceptable under Forum guidelines and rules?? moderators @LLiddell @freydrew can you verify please??), you even bother to post here in the first place :–/
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why, if you think that Webroot
should outsource it's (sic) business to some poor African country. That's where it belongs.
(racist comment?? this acceptable under Forum guidelines and rules?? moderators @LLiddell @freydrew can you verify please??), you even bother to post here in the first place :–/


The comment is directed at the values of improvement and development not towards any specific race and I didn't mean Webroot. I meant the corporations that refuse to update their working environments, the ones Nic was pointing out. The rest of the world can't be held back because some very tiny minority chose to.

Thank you for your valuable vote.

@ our awesome mods: It was not my intention to be rude in any way. I apologise if my words felt like it. Feel free to edit my post any way you like.

I will probably not upgrade my subscription beyond the 14 day trial. I've looked into some other alternatives that might work. I've got nothing against Webroot's functionality/features or effectiveness but the GUI is a deal breaker.

Webroot totally deserves a better GUI to match it's efficiency. If I didn't think so, I wouldn't care to suggest it in the first place.
I didn't mean Webroot. I meant the corporations that refuse to update their working environments, the ones Nic was pointing out.
OK, point taken. I didn't read your post carefully enough. My apologies.

However, I think that your response to Nic:
Your arguments are not worth responding to because they are absurd.

is totally unfair.

The reality out there, as he points out is that:
In case you aren't aware, there are a lot of manufacturers from all types of industries that are stuck on old hardware and software. This is because the PC or Server is attached to a piece of manufacturing equipment. Most people would say replace the PC or Server, but what they don't realize is, this means replacing the entire piece of equipment. So, a $1,000 to $5,000 expense just became a $1,000,000 to $10,000,000+ expense.

To many, it's a real problem that OSs are constantly changing and being replaced, and old ones becoming outdated. I can well imagine this is a real problem for many manufacturers.

I also still do think that your final paragraph of your last but one post is racist or borderline racist (though I know how easy it is when making a polemical argument to go over the top one way or the other without taking stock of it at the time).

But thanks for your clarification and response. And thanks for posting the Idea ☺.
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Wow, for someone who wrote this as their first line of their response and then wrote a page explanation, they must really hate me.

@NicCrockett
Your arguments are not worth responding to because they are absurd.


I have to agree with @Muddy7 about this comment being out of line. I'll let the admins, @LLiddell and @freydrew, handle that though.

Maybe that corporation that you talk about should outsource it's business to some poor African country. That's where it belongs.

@ceo54, if you were expecting Webroot to change their interface before the end of your 14 day trial, I can promise you it never would have happened that fast. Businesses don't push software updates out that fast. Yes, you might be able to create it that fast. However, there is a process for building, beta testing, and a slow roll out to consumers. I'm guessing, but I'd say the earliest you would have seen an update like this would be 2 or more months from now, unless it was already in the works.

I will probably not upgrade my subscription beyond the 14 day trial.

I'm sorry that I have offended you so greatly because I have a different point of view. This is a community to share ideas and not start wars. My opinion has apparently started a war and that wasn't my intention. I'll leave the subject alone and wish you the best of luck.

My Sincere Apologies,
NicCrockett
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@NicCrockett Why would I hate you ? If you got this impression by the tone of my response, I can assure you, that it's not true. Observing formalities never interested me. If this feels like a war, the blame rests entirely on me.

More to the point, judging from your response, you're an excellent person and I would love to have a coffee with you any day of the weak.

About program: No, I didn't expect them to deliver my wishes. I'm fully aware of the fact that choices are subjective and what I think is important may not be even considerable to others. You see, if the developers thought so, they wouldn't need no one to remind them that there's room for improvement in the GUI.

Also, pretty sure Webroot will survive without me 😆

If I ever post a thread again, I would love to hear your and @Muddy7 opinion on the subject. You've got great insight.

Regards.
Keep with us, @ceo54, and maybe consider even not abandoning Webroot after your 14-day trial (?). Webroot is an unusual and interesting AV.*

*And as much as, like you, I'm underwhelmed by Webroot's GUI, I earnestly do not believe that should be a dealbreaker
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@Muddy7 Okay. Webroot has it's advantages. After using Bitdefender for three years, I abandoned it because it had way too many processes running and use to take up lot's of space and memory. Plus who wants to have an update every two hours ?

Webroot certainly is a winner. Now only if they answer my cries for a better appearance.

Thank you for trying to make me a part of the community. You like nic, are an amazing soul. I wish you all the best in life.
...an amazing soul...
I don't know about that 😕. All I was doing was encourage you to persevere with Webroot. But I think you've made the right decision 😉.

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