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View Full Version : Some shortcomings in BW7?



rabbicy
03-18-2006, 09:18 AM
Is it me or is BW7 a little less flexible than BW6? There seems to be no option for Power User vs. Beginner User; the button bar has a good many buttons missing from the BW6 version (which indicates changed flexiblity) and the simple fact that there is no written version (I still like pen, paper, markers, and dog-earing the text.) Nu? What am I missing?:rolleyes:

Rabbi Cy Stanway
Temple Beth Miriam
www.bethmiriam.org

Ben Spackman
03-18-2006, 11:30 AM
In one way, you're correct. The default setting is more limited in that the only interface is the Power User interface.

However, you can change many more things than you could in BW 6.

You can customize what buttons you wish to have in the buttonbar. Several of the tools that are accessed through menus have no button by default, but you can add them or remove whatever else you wish.

Edited for clarity.

Mark Eddy
03-18-2006, 04:59 PM
Ben is right. There are not as many buttons on the default button bar, but most of them can be added back by clicking on the "buttonbar setup" button. I have added a number back to my button bar. But most of the functions covered by buttons are also covered by dropdown lists from the menubar at the top (especially in "Tools" "Resources" and "Help."
As far as the manual goes. I liked having a printed manual too. But since the programmers are constantly upgrading without selling us a new version, the manual quickly got out of date. So I have had to get used to looking in "Help" more often. But at least there the entire manual is up-to date. And if there is a change in the program the Help gets changed within a week or two.
You can always print out pages that you really want to mark up.
Mark Eddy

pstrickert
03-18-2006, 06:20 PM
But since the programmers are constantly upgrading without selling us a new version, the manual quickly got out of date.

I know this is the official response to those who prefer to have a printed manual. But I wonder: Doesn't the information in the manual remain 99.9% up-to-date? Wouldn't a simple disclaimer in the printed manual (to the effect: "ongoing changes to BW7 may render some of these instructions obsolete - please consult the Help document for the latest information") suffice?

I can't remember one time ever that the printed manual did not contain the information I needed when I needed it.

Doug Chaplin
03-18-2006, 06:43 PM
Maybe someone with the time or the tools could produce a PDF of the help file, properly indexed and bookmarked so that those who wanted to print it could?

Adelphos
03-18-2006, 07:24 PM
Maybe someone with the time or the tools could produce a PDF of the help file, properly indexed and bookmarked so that those who wanted to print it could?

Why would a PDF be any easier than the online help which is already "bookmarked" in essence, and which allows multiple methods of searching, whereas a PDF only allows one mode of searching?

Of course, it's only natural that I be different -:), but I like the online Help file. My printed manual got stuffed in some obscure place on my bookshelf, for it is ten times easier for me to merely open up the online help and read what I want there. Plus, it goes without saying that searching for something is easier with the online file than it is in the printed manual.

And as Mark stated, the online help is always up to date.

Adelphos
03-18-2006, 09:38 PM
I might also add, not only can the help file be printed out, and searched multiple ways, but you don't have to have BW running to access the help file.

Merely add "bw700.chm" to your desktop as a shortcut and you can easily access it any time. I also did this with the master module index "bwmaster.chm"

The help file is in the main BW root folder while the latter file is in the database folder.

paterdr
03-19-2006, 09:19 PM
I, too, like a 'hard copy' manual. Electronic texts haven't replaced the pleasure of holding a book, underlining, etc. You can also carry it to the doctor's office or other 'waiting' places...

Of course, searchable electronic texts and help files are also very ... helpful. And I'd like to save the trees, too.

However, there is a place and purpose for both formats and each has its usefulness.

Regarding the advantage of the .pdf (which format was provided with previous BW versions), I think the point is that this format can be printed easily in it's entirety, if desired. I don't see that as less than tedious with .chm, where printing is limited to topics and subtopics. If not mistaken, in order to be able to print the whole thing there would have to be one general topic under which the rest of the manual was "subtopic'd". I do remember utilities permitting complete printing .hlp files, perhaps such a thing is available for .chm, too?

Dan Pater

vr8ce
03-19-2006, 09:51 PM
Why would a PDF be any easier than the online help which is already "bookmarked" in essence, and which allows multiple methods of searching, whereas a PDF only allows one mode of searching? I believe the remark about the PDF was regarding printing, not searching. Reading a printed formatted PDF is a whole lot easier than reading a printed help file that, although it can be printed, really wasn't intended to be.

Printed manuals and on-line help files are useful for two very different reasons. They shouldn't be an "either or", but a "both and" (with the Help file tools available today, it is relatively easy to produce a help file and a PDF from the same source material, so there's no reason a PDF can't stay as up to date as the on-line manual).

On-line help is excellent for searching, for finding whether a particular function is present, or that you know is there but can't remember where.

A printed manual is excellent for reading, for gaining overall familiarity with a program, for implanting in the deep recesses of the brain what the program can do and what it can't. You don't remember everything, but you do remember it's there somewhere, which is extremely helpful. Unfortunately, most people don't use a manual in this way, and so the printed manual has fallen out of favor.

However, the usefulness of the on-line manual has degraded over time due to: (1) MS making successive versions of Help less and less helpful (the problem), and (2) the BW help file having no index (the partial workaround to the problem).

The former means that we now can't search for a phrase in BW7, which is a major blow to productivity, the latter means that we don't have a workaround for #1. So, we have to read each entire article that contains a search hit on a single word to find something, and in many cases this cancels the advantage of on-line help. Of the times I've searched for something in BW7's help file, 80% of the time I've given up after five minutes of reading through two or three articles that had nothing to do with what I was looking for (and let me reiterate that that is mostly the fault of MS' unhelpful Help file, not BW's content).

So, I'm with the OP -- let's bring back the "printed" manual, even if it's just a formatted PDF. And, let's add an index back to the help file (BW5 and BW6 had one).

Vince

MBD
03-20-2006, 04:59 AM
I like a manual in addition to help. It is easier to browse although it has the same limitations as a help menu in some ways. The other day I had a problem seeing how to change languages in my notes. That's a fairly straightforward problem. I went to help and no matter what I typed in as a search header, I got nothing relevant: Languages? Editor? Notes? The problem with any on-line help menus is you have to think like the programmer and know her vocabulary. This is also true of a book but it is easier to browse through. I suspect taht since we are people who have in common an interest in study books (biblia), we have a preference for books.

MGVH
03-20-2006, 09:50 AM
I am quite sure that another issue regarding a printed manual is cost. How much would you be willing to pay for such a manual? I would guess (and this is just a guess) that the manual would be at least $15.

alcantley
03-20-2006, 10:16 AM
The only problem I have with the current help system is the inability to increase the font or viewing size. At my screen resolution of 1024 x 768 (very common) - these "over 50' eyes have trouble. Some other programs that use the chm help system allow adjustment of the font size but BW doesn't. Hope this can be addressed.

Blessings,
Al Cantley

Glenn Weaver
03-20-2006, 11:02 AM
FYI--there is an index in the updated Help file. There wasn't one in the version that shipped on the CD, but the updated Help file has one. Perhaps this will be of use to some of you. The index contains extensive cross-refs to different topics in the help file, so hopefully we have anticipated under what topic you will look to find certain information.

Glenn

pstrickert
03-20-2006, 12:58 PM
Here's a cut-and-paste from M. Bushell's earlier post:

There is no printed BW 7 manual. We polled a number of users before dropping it and the consensus was that very few people use it. The main reason for the decision was not money, but time. It took a lot of time to keep both the printed manual and online help up to date when the content was so different. We were never really able to do that well. The plan is to keep the online help (which has be completely redone) really up to date with every program change. With limited staff this seemed like the best approach. Of course we are open to input for later versions.

Adelphos
03-20-2006, 03:28 PM
I don't see that as less than tedious with .chm, where printing is limited to topics and subtopics.

When I open the Help file, the first topic is "Contents."

If I choose "Print" it gives me two options, one of which is to print the whole shebang, from page 1 to the very end of the entire file, as BW has graciously set it up so that all the topics are subheadings within the "Contents" portion.

MBushell
03-20-2006, 07:14 PM
There are 2 issues here:

1. We agonized over whether or not to frop the manual. It really was a hard decision. The issue was 99% time, not money. We have limited staff and maintaining both a print manual and online help and keeping both up to date takes a lot of time, mostly by programmers who have very full plates. We also talked to a lot of people and most people do not use the printed manual that much. We decided rather to invest our efforts in redoing the online help and making it very efficient for us to maintain and keep current. Some people simply won't believe us, but the decision really was based on how we can best serve our users, not profit. The BibleWorks ensemble changes a lot between releases and this is the only way to control the process without sacrificing developer time that could be used inproving the program. We are sorry if some people are disappointed and we will certainly continue to listen to imput on this issue.

2. With regard to the interface, we knew that we were going to be adding a lot of new things to the program. After taking a closer look at the program we decided that adding more complexity, without trying to simplify the interface and removing some redundancy, was going to make the program so complicated that many users would just not use it. So we tried to remove some reduntant features or move them out of the way. Some will disagree, but most people who have used the new interface for a while, agree with us that it is a step forward and that no significant functionality has been lost. But we will listen to input from users and make any changes that the community things is warranted.

Thanks for your patience.

God bless,
Mike

vr8ce
03-21-2006, 03:13 AM
FYI--there is an index in the updated Help file. There wasn't one in the version that shipped on the CD, but the updated Help file has one. Perhaps this will be of use to some of you. The index contains extensive cross-refs to different topics in the help file, so hopefully we have anticipated under what topic you will look to find certain information.
Glenn
Excellent, Glenn. Unfortunately, I see no evidence of it. I'm running 7.0.013i Gamma, with everything updated, i.e. nothing showing in Help/Internet/Check for Updates except 7.013i, which continues to show because I'm on the gamma. I don't know how or if I can tell what version of the help file I have (the bw700.chm is dated 3/4/2006, size 3,667,097), but there are still only three tabs -- Contents, Search, and Favorites. None of the tabs has anything that looks like an index on it. How do we get to it?

Vince

vr8ce
03-21-2006, 03:28 AM
When I open the Help file, the first topic is "Contents."
If I choose "Print" it gives me two options, one of which is to print the whole shebang, from page 1 to the very end of the entire file, as BW has graciously set it up so that all the topics are subheadings within the "Contents" portion.
The two options are to print the current topic, or to print the topic and all subtopics. There's no way for a user to know that either will print "the whole shebang", as nothing I see indicates that the topics are subheadings of Contents. If you've printed the whole file and found that to be true, that's great (really!), however, it still is nowhere near as nice as a formatted pdf.

In the interest of trying it myself, I set my printer (an HP1320) to offline, highlighted the Contents topic, then chose the print the topic and subtopics. I got the printer dialog, chose OK, then got an error titled "Internet Explorer Script Error", contents a exclamation in a yellow yield-looking sign that says "An error has occurred in the script on this page", Line: 178, Char: 1, Error: Object expected, Code: 0, URL: file://T:\TEMP\~hh9839.htm"

The file indicated (~hh9839.htm) is an html file with the text from the Table of Contents page in it and that's it, i.e. the "whole shebang" is not present in the file, only the currently highlighted (Contents) topic.

Vince

vr8ce
03-21-2006, 03:35 AM
I am quite sure that another issue regarding a printed manual is cost.
MikeB has indicated multiple times (including in this thread) that this is not the case. I believe him.


How much would you be willing to pay for such a manual? I would guess (and this is just a guess) that the manual would be at least $15.
Nothing. The subject doesn't apply here (because cost isn't the issue, see above), but other software companies have done this for cost reasons, and the good ones get it right -- they (1) include a formatted pdf so you can print it yourself if you want to, and (2) offer a printed manual for free (including free shipping) to whoever wants one. They've saved a fortune, because they were paying for everyone to have a manual before and now they're shipping 5% or less. They've kept the group happy that want a printed manual, because they can still have one. And, they've provided a formatted pdf for everyone, which no one had before. It's a win/win for everyone, and there's no reason to charge anyone anything.

Vince

vr8ce
03-21-2006, 03:47 AM
1. We agonized over whether or not to frop the manual. It really was a hard decision. The issue was 99% time, not money. We have limited staff and maintaining both a print manual and online help and keeping both up to date takes a lot of time, mostly by programmers who have very full plates. We also talked to a lot of people and most people do not use the printed manual that much. We decided rather to invest our efforts in redoing the online help and making it very efficient for us to maintain and keep current. Some people simply won't believe us, but the decision really was based on how we can best serve our users, not profit. I think everyone believes you, some are just pointing out that the decision hasn't accomplished 100% of it's goals. :) Glenn says there's an index now, that should help a lot (I'll change the "should" to "did" as soon as I can find the index, I posted a message to him separately). The inability to search for a phrase is a major hindrance, but that's nothing you have any control over.

Also, I have several clients that have used RoboHelp and other tools like it to produce both MS Help files and formatted PDF's from the same source. Have you tried those kinds of tools and found they don't work for you, or is the learning curve too high, or ... ? (Just curious, I haven't worked with them myself, but I've seen and used their results, and it's very good in both formats.)

I read the BW5 manual cover to cover when I first bought the program. It helped me immensely. An on-line help file is not the same (I can't read it wherever I am, and reading comprehension from a screen is less than it is from paper). I know I'm the minority, and I've lived without one for most of my other software for years (which means I had to buy books separately for them, which seems somewhat unfair to me). That's why it was such a pleasant surprise to find one in BW, and it's what helped me be able to use the program very efficiently (I realize I only use 20% of it) almost immediately.

Vince

Ruben Gomez
03-21-2006, 04:35 AM
I read the BW5 manual cover to cover when I first bought the program. It helped me immensely. An on-line help file is not the same (I can't read it wherever I am, and reading comprehension from a screen is less than it is from paper). I know I'm the minority, and I've lived without one for most of my other software for years (which means I had to buy books separately for them, which seems somewhat unfair to me). That's why it was such a pleasant surprise to find one in BW, and it's what helped me be able to use the program very efficiently (I realize I only use 20% of it) almost immediately.
Vince
Vincent,

You may think you are in the minority, but don't be too sure about that. The fact is that on-line helps are not really designed for extended periods of reading. IMHO, printed manuals are an excellent help when it comes to fully mastering a complex program like BibleWorks.

Best,

Rubén Gómez

Adelphos
03-21-2006, 08:22 AM
however, it still is nowhere near as nice as a formatted pdf.

No, a formatted PDF would print nicer, no doubt about it. But I'd rather see BW spend time on the program and functionality than on making nice print files.

If you want a printable PDF, and if your willing to do a little work, like export the files into HTML, zip them up and send them to me, I'll convert them to PDF for you, then send them back and let you bookmark them. ;)

This is basically what BW would have to do. No telling how much work and time would be lost on more important items.

Dan Phillips
03-21-2006, 08:45 AM
...whether or not to frop the manual.

From the Akkadian fr-u-pu, "to print a hard copy."

;)

Michael Hanel
03-21-2006, 09:22 AM
Excellent, Glenn. Unfortunately, I see no evidence of it. I'm running 7.0.013i Gamma, with everything updated, i.e. nothing showing in Help/Internet/Check for Updates except 7.013i, which continues to show because I'm on the gamma. I don't know how or if I can tell what version of the help file I have (the bw700.chm is dated 3/4/2006, size 3,667,097), but there are still only three tabs -- Contents, Search, and Favorites. None of the tabs has anything that looks like an index on it. How do we get to it?

Vince

Somewhere you missed an update I'm thinking. Help I'm running has 4 tabs, one of which is the Index. Looks like the last Help update I have downloaded is .012r