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Thread: BW 7 Manual?

  1. #11

    Default

    In contrast to previous versions, I have not recommended version 7 to anyone, in part due to lack of a manual (other reasons: BibleWorks 7 is incredibly slow to load; the value-to-price ratio is low – especially with no manual; BibleWorks practice of premature product release as a business practice; known problems and weaknesses that have gone uncorrected). It is revealing that, of the four individuals in my acquaintance who have earlier versions of BibleWorks, none have upgraded, or seem likely to do so.


    I think this is a grossly unfair characterization.

    If you think BW 7 is slow, by all means, pick up and compare its main competitor. On my computer (P4 2.4, 7200 RPM hard-drive, 1.2 Gig RAM- no screaming demon by any measurement), BW loads in about 9 seconds. Its main competitor takes roughly 4x as long. Searches still blaze in BW, and since I only start it up once per day, I'd much rather have fast searches and "slow" startup than vice-versa.
    I had no idea manuals were worth so much in terms of program value, especially when one has the capability to print one. If the help (both in the program and on-line) weren't so good, I could understand the complaint more. Have you avoided any other progrm upgrades because they had no printed manual?

    BibleWorks practice of premature product release as a business practice; known problems and weaknesses that have gone uncorrected
    As a
    user since BW 4 and a beta-tester on BW7, BW6, and BW5, this is utter garbage.

    None of the "major bugs" that have come up since the release appeared during beta-testing. If they had, they would have been fixed. Bibleworks is without comparison the best company I have seen in terms of getting out a solid product, and then fixing any problems within days.

    If you want to talk about bad business practice, let's compare Endnote. Version 8 was incredibly buggy, and incompatible with Windows XP SP2. They fixed that, but instead of repairing the other bugs, quickly released Endnote v.9. $100 upgrade. It *still* has major problems. Endnote doesn't have a forum like this, and they don't respond to emails, in my experience.

    I think it revealing that BW has been swamped with sales since the release. I have recommended it to people who have promptly upgraded, and will continue to do so.
    I find my loyalty to the product growing to the point of defensiveness , and I think that says something about how good it is.
    Last edited by Ben Spackman; 03-21-2006 at 07:45 PM.
    Ben

  2. #12

    Exclamation Yet another request for the printed manual

    Quote Originally Posted by MBushell
    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.

    Mike
    I think I was polled as well. Anyway, I have always been studying the manuals very closely. I was quite good at using WordPerfect for many years - I authored some macros that my colleagues still use. I also think that I am among those who know most about BW7 at the Lutheran School of Theology in Aarhus. I doubt that this would have been the case, had I not had the manual of version 3 through 6. In fact, I have several bible software programs, but the one thing I miss in all cases is the printed manual.

    I must also say that I miss a BW7 manual very much. I need it for details and for the overview that a printed book gives.

    Perhaps I did not read the commercials closely enough, but I was in fact quite surprised, yes, disappointed when I discovered that there was no manual.

    I must admit that I think BW7 is a good upgrade. In my view, however, Bibleworks should not have dropped the manual, but instead made it even better. The study guides are good. However, BW is a program that demands that you understand the nature of the data, if you want to use it for serious work. It is just as important to be able to evaluate the data, its original sources etc., as it is to be able to operate the program itself. The former may be more difficult, however.

    I know that my students do not use the manual as much as I would like them to, but I still think that a manual is important if you really want to master a program, not at least a program like Bibleworks.

    Finally, I like the printed manual because it is much quicker to use than the videos. Help files are good for concrete information such as morphological codes (they should also be in the manual, of course), but, in my opinion, a printed manual is better.

    In summary: I hope that the printed manual will be added as soon as possible.

    Don't misunderstand me: I am a long-term BW user and I am happy about that, but I really miss the manual.

    Georg
    Dr. Georg S. Adamsen, Denmark
    Editor, http://www.Revelation-Resources.com and
    WordPress @ Blogos.dk (featuring Danish localizations for WordPress plugins, themes etc.)

  3. #13

    Default well..

    I've created a PDF of the bw700.chm file. However, as I used a piece of shareware to do it (full version is $99 USD), it has a watermark on every page that says, "Created with unregistered version of x software." But if anyone would like that PDF, I'm willing to post it.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    839

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Henley
    ==============================================
    I have used BibleWorks since version 5. I upgraded and loaded version 7. However, as a result of not having a having a manual, I have not yet committed to version 7, and still have version 6 operational. Without a manual, even with on-line-help, I find I’m not able to effectively use version 7. On-line help is valuable, but only as an adjunct to printed text. I will keep version 7, since I now have it, and it incorporates a couple of useful features. Had I been aware that no manual would be available, it is uncertain whether I would have upgraded to version 7.
    ......
    In contrast to previous versions, I have not recommended version 7 to anyone, in part due to lack of a manual (other reasons: BibleWorks 7 is incredibly slow to load; the value-to-price ratio is low – especially with no manual; BibleWorks practice of premature product release as a business practice; known problems and weaknesses that have gone uncorrected). It is revealing that, of the four individuals in my acquaintance who have earlier versions of BibleWorks, none have upgraded, or seem likely to do so. Each person’s decision was made on their own, and is traceable to BibleWorks policies, usability, function, value, and practices. If one of BibleWorks’ goals is long-term survival in the software market, these people need to be upgrading. BibleWorks needs to offer a total product package that makes a compelling argument for upgrades (or new purchase). One out of five is not a good upgrade ratio (although this ratio may or may not be typical). If BibleWorks continues in its present direction, version 7 will likely be the last version I routinely upgrade – I may upgrade, but future BibleWorks versions will have to make a far more compelling case for doing so than the current version.

    I have read comments from disgruntled users for some 15 years (that's how long we've been in business) and I have to admit that this is among the unkindest that I have heard posted on a public forum. Normally we would not respond, but I have to step in and respond to a few of these comments:

    1. BibleWorks has the same load speed as BibleWorks 6. It is slow the first time it runs because it rebuilds some indices, but even then the load time is less that 15 seconds on my machine. After the first run it always starts in less that 5 seconds and I don't have a particularly fast machine. It starts much quicker than any major application on my computer, including all Microsoft Applications. If it starts slower on your machine you have some other issue that is not related to BibleWorks.

    2. As for the value to price ratio, I wonder if Richard has bothered to look at what is new in the base package. Interested readers can check out what's new at http://www.bibleworks.com/content/new.html. And that web page doesn't really even begin to describe the new features in the program itself. It is mostly about databases. We have never released a program update in 15 years that we did not think was worth many times what people are asked to pay. If Richard is not convinced, that is fine for him. Frankly, we'd rather he returned the package. But we believe with most of our users that BibleWorks provides the best value of any program of its kind. Just pick two new base package items, the Tov-Polak Parallel LXX and the Works of Philo. These two items will cost you $200 as addons to other programs. We could have sold them as addons, but decided to absorb the royalties so more people could use them. We also include a set of diagrams of the Greek new Testament which we have commissioned at great cost and included for free. We could have sold them easily as addons for $100! And these are just drops in large bucket. I frankly am dumbfounded at Richard's suggestion that we won't stay in business unless we can provide better value than this. Nonsense. By God's Grace, this is shaping up to be our best year ever. Most people realize that BibleWorks is worth many times what it costs, and many times what we could get for it in an open market place. We have striven sacrificially to provide value. So I bristle at comments like this. They are not fair to us or to our users.

    4. With regard to the comment about "known weaknesses and problems going uncorrected", and "premature releases", I have a lot more to say here than there is room for and certainly more than I would want to say in a public forum. If Richard had been a part of the beta program I don't think he would have said that. We had long alpha and beta programs, lasting several months. None of the major problems that surfaced on release of version 7 were caught in that testing, or they would have been fixed. BibleWorks is an incredibly complex program and it is simply impossible to catch everything. Typical Microsoft programs of similar complexity have as many beta testers as we have users! We cannot afford that but we do well with what we have. People need to realize that programs like this serve a niche market that is relatively small. Producing a professional quality program for a small market at a price that is affordable is not easy. I think we have done well all things considered, by the Grace of God. And I think we have a support team that is second to none and we actually fix bugs in real time. Richard's comments in this regard are incredibly unfair. I would not respond except for the fact that they hurt us as a company and our users who have spent their hard-earned cash to keep us working for them.

    5. With regard to the manual: if Richard feels that the program is borderline useless without the manual, then he is better off without the program and we will cheerfully refund his money. The fact of the matter is that there is nothing that would have been in the manual that is not in the online help, with the wording and content changed to fit a different context. A huge amount of effort went into that online help system. I think it serves the program well. We will certainly reconsider this decision, but I have to tell you that strident comments like this make us a lot less likely to change. Reasoned suggestions from people who appreciate the program and realize how valuable a tool it is have a lot more weight.

    We know that a lot of people who are considering becoming a BibleWorks user look over this forum before making a decision. If you are one of those people I would just recommend that you take a look at our web site at www.bibleworks.com and read the comments of all the people on this forum, not just a few who have a bee in their bonnet. I have personally worked 15 hours a day for more than a decade to make this a worthwhile tool, and we have a small but very dedicated and professional staff to help our users make the most of the product. We do the best we can with what the Lord has given to us and only ask that we be treated charitably and fairly, and in kind promise to strive to treat our customers the same way. Try BibleWorks and if you don't like it just return it. If it's not for you we don't want your money. You have better things to do with it than buy a program that you don't need.

    God bless,
    Mike
    Last edited by MBushell; 03-21-2006 at 06:11 PM.

  5. #15

    Default Excellent Free PDF creator

    I use PDFCreator. It's a great, reliable PDF "printer," and it is free under GNU GPL.
    Get it HERE. Check the release notes, but you will probably want: PDFCreator-0_9_0_AFPLGhostscript.exe
    Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
    Professor of Biblical Studies
    Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
    ltsg.edu - CrossMarks.com
    Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

  6. #16

    Default For Me Manual Not Really A Necessity

    For me the manual is not a real necessity. I have been using Bible Works since version 4. I used the manual only once or twice, for learning how to use the ASE and doing Command Line searches. I learned how to use the program by using it and reading the forms. With Version 6 & 7 I used the video tutorials.

    Logos does not come with a printed manual either and there online help section is growing and in my opinion not as good as Bible Works.

    Bible Works staff keep up the good work and may we always remember that your motto is "To the glory of God."

    "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all other things, charity." IMO a BW7 manual belongs in the later heading.
    _______________
    Ken Neighoff
    Numbers 6:24-26
    יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ׃
    יָאֵר יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ׃
    יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם׃



  7. #17

    Default What did you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by manthano
    I've created a PDF of the bw700.chm file. However, as I used a piece of shareware to do it (full version is $99 USD), it has a watermark on every page that says, "Created with unregistered version of x software." But if anyone would like that PDF, I'm willing to post it.
    What did you use to create this PDF?

  8. #18

    Default couple 'o thoughts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Adamsen
    I must admit that I think BW7 is a good upgrade. In my view, however, Bibleworks should not have dropped the manual, but instead made it even better. The study guides are good. However, BW is a program that demands that you understand the nature of the data, if you want to use it for serious work. It is just as important to be able to evaluate the data, its original sources etc., as it is to be able to operate the program itself. The former may be more difficult, however.
    I think that one of the reasons folks are so upset about the lack of a manual is how different BW7 is from earlier incarnations. There's a new UI, a new editor, you can export unicode, the command line has moved (people are even having trouble finding it), the way that you install locked modules has changed, and there's what - 7 disks? The lack of a manual just heightened anxiety on some folks part.

    I agree that no printed manual is a trend. Paper is expensive, and the way features have been added in BW during a revision's incarnation makes the printed manual quickly out of step with reality. Yet - it might have been a good idea to keep a printed manual for this particular version due to all the changes in the way the program operates. Once the core base of users got used to the new UI the next version could drop the manual because you'd have folks who know what's what...

    Just a thought, the lack of a manual was a bit disappointing - but I've find most of the stuff I was looking for. Unicode export is a wonderful thing.

    And here's a question. Why doesn't anyone see this as an opportunity to write a Book like "Getting Started With Bibleworks 7?" Maybe BW could publish/distribute something like this (and put the profit to developing my longed for native linux port...).

  9. #19

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Henley
    Without a manual, even with on-line-help, I find Iím not able to effectively use version 7.


    Like many others have noted, I would really appreciate a printed manual. I read mine cover-to-cover when I first got each new version, marked it with sticky tabs, and consulted it frequently when solving problems. I would like to do the same with version seven. I hope a manual will be forthcoming. However, I do find that I am still "able to effectively us version 7."

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Henley
    BibleWorks needs to offer a total product package that makes a compelling argument for upgrades (or new purchase).


    Wow! Despite my wish for a printed manual, I have decided this is the most substantial upgrade BW has offered, not only in functionality, but in the texts included. To get the aligned MT-LXX for the base price! Yes, I agree with those who keep agitating for a printed manual, but BW 7 is grea-ea-ea-ea-tt!

    And as for customer service--the best. I suppose BW 7 could be been beta-tested even more so that the wrinkles that we're all finding were ironed out before release; however, I'll glad watch for the minor "bugs" and enjoy using the new features rather than wait, and wait, and wait, and wait... until "perfection" arrives and they release. In this kind of package, I think the end-users make pretty good b-Beta testers after the development team and the a-Beta testers have worked it over. And the programmers have been utterly amazing at their timely and effective response to each new "bug" that the wider user base uncovers.

    Dale A. Brueggemann

    כִּי עֶזְרָא הֵכִין לְבָבוֹ לִדְרוֹשׁ אֶת־תּוֹרַת יְהוָה וְלַעֲשֹׂת וּלְלַמֵּד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל חֹק וּמִשְׁפָּט (Ezra 7:10)


  10. #20

    Default Nicely stated...

    Quote Originally Posted by MBushell
    4. With regard to the comment about "known weaknesses and problems going uncorrected", and "premature releases", I have a lot more to say here than there is room for and certainly more than I would want to say in a public forum. If Richard had been a part of the beta program I don't think he would have said that. We had long alpha and beta programs, lasting several months. None of the major problems that surfaced on release of version 7 were caught in that testing, or they would have been fixed. BibleWorks is an incredibly complex program and it is simply impossible to catch everything. Typical Microsoft programs of similar complexity have as many beta testers as we have users! We cannot afford that but we do well with what we have. People need to realize that programs like this serve a niche market that is relatively small. Producing a professional quality program for a small market at a price that is affordable is not easy. I think we have done well all things considered, by the Grace of God. And I think we have a support team that is second to none and we actually fix bugs in real time. Richard's comments in this regard are incredibly unfair. I would not respond except for the fact that they hurt us as a company and our users who have spent their hard-earned cash to keep us working for them.
    Michael, let me just say that one of the reasons I stick with BW is because I almost feel as though I were working with an opensource program. I can talk to the developers, there's a decent support community, and bugs actually get dealt with. It's the culture surrounding BW that keeps me with it as much as it is the excellent program. Coming from a Linux snob, that's quite a compliment.

    One question. Have you guys ever thought of open-sourcing the BW engine under LGPL? All the modules would still need to be purchased, as is right - but the engine could be worked on by folks and perhaps even more bugs will get squashed at no cost to you.

    Of course, folks can be dishonest (not CHRISTIANS???) and just upgrade the engine for free and import old modules so you'd loose some revenue. It's just a thought...

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