Post by Simon Beesley
Obviously I didn't make myself clear. I said the idea of
the Delphi Basics
site as a replacement for the absent documentation was
laughable since it is
such an inadequate response to the product's major
deficiency; i.e. I am
not disparaging the Delphi Basics site, it's excellent as
far as it goes.
What I meant was that it is ludicrous that people who
spend several hundred
pounds on a complex piece of software should be directed
to a third-part
hobbyist's site, no matter how good it is.
That is exactly what the new user has to do. And he
shouldn't have to, any
more than he should have to have buy Mario Cantu's book.
When I started with
Delphi 1, in 1996, I learnt the system through a
combination of the help,
Delphi Magazine, umpteen Delphi web sites, and one or two
(which were indeed very useful). If I'd found the help was
unusable and, on
complaining, had been told to go to some reference site I
(and I think every
other user) would have been outraged. It's a joke -- not
Delphi Basics site, but the fact that that is all that's
It is a good suggestion, but my emphasis is on the fact it
needs to made.
"I know CodeGear is working on the help (still) and I've
given them a lot of
input on the priority and importance...
with *reasons* and *examples* of what the cause and effect
That would be fine if it was two months after the launch.
months -- and they seem to have done nothing effective.
Actually the feedback I was talking about started with D2005
and (trust me on this!) what you see with D2007 is (cough)
light years better. IMHO (and I think in their opinion as
well but they'll have to address that) they really screwed
up with Help right after D7.
Post by Simon Beesley
I have never come
across anything like this (for incompetence) in the
software world or in any
other industry. And it's especially puzzling given that
the previous Help
versions were unusally good. My point is that making
excuses for CodeGear or
persistently cutting them slack doesn't seem to be doing
That's why I am going on like this. Perhaps if enough
people make a fuss,
they may finally manage to get right what almost every
software vendor gets
right the first time.
Certainly a lot of folks have made a fuss (ref tons of rants
in the newsgroups in the last couple of years), but maybe a
reminder is in order that the work is not done. It is not
done until a new user can take examples and figure out what
is doing on.
I think you need to put it in those terms, with specifics,
to be of any help. Explain what a new user faces, posit the
questions they probably have, and figure out how they'd try
to find the answers.
Then ask how long they're going to do that before giving up.
Post by Simon Beesley
The truth is, I think Delphi is great product and I can't
switching to another RAD system. All the more reason
therefore to be as
severe on them as possible. I want to carry on using
Delphi -- and if they
can't do the Help properly, and then almost
incomprehensibly fail to improve it in nine months, it
tends to shake one's confidence in their ability to take
Delphi further rather than backwards. It also means users
are making enough noise. If everyone were to protest --
OK, maybe not in as strong terms as my protest -- it's
just possible, fingers crossed, CodeGear might manage to
get it together.
I could be wrong, but I *think* they know they've got a
problem still. I believe the way to help is to keep the
focus on the problem and to point out specific scenarios
that we see to be lacking.
It's like going to the auto dealership and telling them you
don't like their car. Do they know what to do about that??
If you tell them it needs more power you'll get one
response... if you tell them it needs better gas mileage
you'll get another. If you never tell them anything
specific then they'll probably put on a cool ruby hood
ornament and you'll be left scratching your head<g>. They
tried, but can't figure out what you wanted.
I personally think it is especially important to give them
input on what we think "new users" would find critical. The
reason for that is that their normal input seems to come
from long time users via surveys and such.
I cannot state clearly enough how critical it is to capture
a new user when they sit down in front of Delphi to give it
a try. If they make a serious effort and don't succeed then
you'll have a hell of a time getting them to try again.