Why do some infotips repeat the name of the item as well as the infotip?


A customer noticed that when the user hovered over their application name in the Start menu, the infotip that pops up includes their product name:

♫ 
Contoso Professional Music Studio Deluxe 2010
Record and mix studio-quality music from your computer.

Contoso Professional Music Studio De...

◕  Fabrikam Chart 2.0
ℒ  Litware 2010

... but no other program on the Start menu included the product name in the description:

◕ 
Design and print charts and graphs with ease.

Fabrikam Chart 2.0

♫  Contoso Professional Music Studio De...
ℒ  Litware 2010

The customer compared their shortcut with the other ones but couldn't find anything that was telling Explorer, "Include the program name in the pop-up infotip, please."

Because the reason for the name being included in the infotip had nothing to do with the properties stored in the shortcut. The reason the name was included in the infotip is that the name was being truncated in the main display.

When an infotip is about to be displayed for a listview item, the listview sends a LVN_GET­INFO­TIP notification with a NMLV­GET­INFO­TIP structure. If the LVGIT_UNFOLDED flag is not set, then the infotip is being displayed for a truncated item, and the pszText is pre-filled with the full name. The program should then append its information to the existing text so that the full name is the first line of the infotip. On the other hand, if the LVGIT_UNFOLDED flag is set, then the item text is fully-visible and you should just copy your desired description text into the pszText buffer.

The customer was happy to get this information. Their designer wanted only the description to appear in the infotip, and now they know that they need to shorten the program name to make the name disappear from the infotip.

Bonus chatter: Microsoft® WinFX™ Software Development Kit for Microsoft® Pre-Release Windows Operating System Code-Named "Longhorn", Beta 1 Web Setup.

Comments (17)
  1. Björn says:

    +1 for stupidest reason ever for a product name change.

  2. Kemp says:

    +1 for forcing a company to reconsider adding every word they can think of to a product name. "Contoso Professional Music Studio Deluxe 2010" is verging on being silly. For a start, it would be very rare to have multiple versions of the same software on a single computer, so most programs use a simple version of the name and give you the other details in the About box. The "Professional" is probably redundant as well (given its placement in the name and the "Deluxe" on the end, it's probably more a statement about their intended audience than anything useful to the name). This leaves us with "Contoso Music Studio" or "Contoso Music Studio Deluxe" if they're really attached to that. Much nicer.

  3. Mason Wheeler says:

    @Kemp: Wait, so you mean you wouldn't want to pick up this year's Contoso Professional Music Studio Deluxe 2011 Special Collector's Edition?

  4. Gabe says:

    Mason: No, I'm waiting for Contoso Professional Music Studio Deluxe 2011 Special Collector's Edition for Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core.

  5. Kemp says:

    Oh, I'd certainly pick them up, but I wouldn't expect the full name to be printed everywhere. Dawn of War II was another that got really silly about it.

  6. Mason Wheeler says:

    Gabe: I don't see why anyone would want to run a program like that on a server.  I'd be more likely to pick up Contoso Professional Music Studio Deluxe 2011 Special Collector's Edition for Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate Home Edition

  7. Joshua says:

    Thanks for the CSS images rather than bitmaps. So much easier on accessibility. I'm not kidding.

  8. ErikF says:

    I find server programs generally fall under the "Contoso Widget Frobbing Server Web Edition Administrator Tools (v.5.6.102923484) SP3" or something equally silly. It's even better when these shortcuts stay around, even when Contoso has been bought out by Fabrikam, "Widget" are "Doodads" now, and the program is up to version 10!

  9. Gabe says:

    Mason: Well, if you're running on 64-bit Windows, you'll want the 64-bit version. Of course, the 64-bit version of CPMSD11SCE requires SP2 to run on Win7SP1:

    "Contoso Professional Music Studio Deluxe 2011 Special Collector's Edition 64-bit Version SP2 for Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate Home Edition SP1"

  10. Kemp says:

    ErikF: Then you'd be buying

    Fabrikam Contoso Doodad (Widget) Frobbing Server Web Edition Legacy Administrator Tools (v.5.6.102939482) (Unsupported)

    The build number bump was them attempting to apply the rebranding within the app.

  11. 640k says:

    "Uninstall the application formerly known as Contoso Professional Music Studio Deluxe 2011 Special Collector's Edition 64-bit Version SP2 for Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate Home Edition SP1 User Guide Help"

  12. Timothy Byrd says:

    @Kemp: "For a start, it would be very rare to have multiple versions of the same software on a single computer"

    Perhaps that's true for non-technical users, but not for geeks:

    To begin with, there's the open source competitor to Contoso Professional Music Studio Deluxe 2010 – "Audacity 1.2.6 is our main release, complete and fully documented, but no longer under development. You may install Audacity 1.2.6 and 1.3.13 on the same machine."

    Then there is Ruby 1.8.x and 1.9.x.

    Anyone beta-testing 7-Zip is likely to also have the release version installed.

    And I can't remember the last time I only had one version of Visual Studio installed.

  13. xpclient says:
    1. Sadly, the replacement for the Start Menu, the Start Screen in Windows 8 is not showing infotips from the comment field for the shortcuts on the Start Screen. :(

    2. For folders, all Windows versions (except Vista) show an infotip specified in desktop.ini. Windows 8 Start Menu or Start Screen does not. :(

    3. Explorer status bar showed infotip information for single selected file in XP, it is removed needlessly in Windows Vista and still not returned/fixed in Windows 8. :(

    4. The taskbar infotips for system notification area icons in Windows Vista had icons which gave them a rich look. They were removed in Windowsa 7. :(

  14. cheong00 says:

    @640k: *Faceplam*

    Stop… That's enough… It hurts my brain…

  15. There was a version of CMS that would save your work to The Cloud. This version was a closed beta.

    Contoso Professional Music Studio Deluxe 2011 Special Collector's Edition 64-bit Version SP2 for Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate Home Edition SP1 Azure Limited Availability Pre-Release

  16. Neil says:

    @640k: So, presumably the new name is a squiggle?

    @Joshua: Raymond doesn't actually like images because of issues with the blog software (although this was mentioned in a previous post so it may or may not apply any more) but it's good to see that you benefit too.

  17. Worf says:

    No, it's Raymond's posting software that has issues with images. And Raymond has 2+ years of posts in his queue (plus the 7 days the blog software allows).

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