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2. Programs Force Themselves to the Forefront

A user’s interaction with one program should never be interrupted by another program. Unfortunately, however, Mac OS X appears to allow programs to force themselves to the forefront. Now, I can’t say for sure if this is the fault of the operating system or poor programming, but I don’t ever recall this happening in Mac OS 9.

Here’s an example that happens to me on a daily basis. I copy a mailing address from an Entourage email, paste that address into Endicia, and click Print Label. While Endicia is generating a large laser printed label with postage, I switch to DYMO Label to print a small label for the international customs form. But after Endicia is done printing the postage, it generates an email notification for the package recipient, and this appears in the forefront as a new window in Entourage, regardless of the fact that I want to continue working in DYMO Label. So whatever I was doing in DYMO Label is now interrupted by the unrequested switch to Entourage. This switch can result in keystrokes and mouse clicks intended for one application being intercepted and interpreted by another.

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