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Thread: Some shortcomings in BW7?

  1. #11

    Default Printed manual $$$

    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.
    Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
    Glatfelter Professor of Biblical Studies
    United Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg & Philadelphia
    uls.edu - CrossMarks.com
    Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    17

    Default

    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

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    701

    Default Index in updated Help File

    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

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    17

    Default

    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.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    2,122

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by paterdr
    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.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,081

    Default

    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

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn Weaver
    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

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    131

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adelphos
    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

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MGVH
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by MGVH
    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

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MBushell
    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

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