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Technology Basics: Wizard

Technology Basics: Wizard

The word “wizard” may not seem to have much to do with computing, besides calling someone a “computer wiz.” However, there is a particular type of program that serves a very similar purpose, referred to as a wizard as well. We’ll examine it in today’s blog.

What a Wizard Does
Be honest - what first comes to mind when you hear the word “wizard?” Most likely, an old man with a beard, robes, and a pointy hat, waving a wand around and casting spells. These characters often serve as mentors, serving as a guide and a resource.

This is the same purpose that the wizard program serves on your computer. Like Dumbledore instructed Harry Potter and Gandalf pointed Frodo Baggins in the right direction, a software wizard walks a user, step-by-step, to the successful completion some task or goal. This goal is usually the installation and configuration of a program, or possibly running a scan.

What Makes a Wizard?
A software wizard typically breaks up whatever process it applies to into steps, each step represented by a separate page. This allows the wizard to ensure each step is properly completed before progressing with its task. Wizards will often also display progress bars and the like when a process will take some time.

Many wizards today go by different names, or have had their functions absorbed by other programs. Virtual assistants and office assistants both help users in a similar way, but many applications and online forms emulate wizards for the benefit of the user.

When was the last time you saw a wizard? Tell us in the comments!

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