Another installment in the extremely sporadic series on how to write like Raymond.

On occasion, I'll find myself engaged in a mail thread with a customer who refuses to believe what they're being told and is under the impression that rephrasing the question will get a different answer.

"My customer wants to control the name and appearance of the XYZ icon in the DEF dialog."

— There is no public interface for manipulating that icon.

"Can I change the icon's appearance?"

— There is no public interface for manipulating that icon.

At this point, I say to myself, "Two." And there's a nonzero chance that I will be rewarded with a third question:

"What about in C++?"

What I tell you three times is true. There is no public interface for manipulating that icon.