Some shortcomings in BW7?
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?
Rabbi Cy Stanway
Temple Beth Miriam
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.
Last edited by Ben Spackman; 03-18-2006 at 10:34 AM.
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 But since the programmers are constantly upgrading without selling us a new version, the manual quickly got out of date.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.
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?
Originally Posted by Mark Eddy
I can't remember one time ever that the printed manual did not contain the information I needed when I needed it.
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?
Originally Posted by Doug Chaplin
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.
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.
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?
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.
Originally Posted by Adelphos
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).
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.