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New help comment


2008-03-11 12:19:09 AM
delphi91
Well, after waiting several days for a stand-alone download of the 'new
help update', I finally broke down and ran the 'update tool'.
1. It seems to me that it is problematic to have multiple downloads
during the installation. The installation program seems to do a lot of
'stuff' during preparation, then starts downloading hundreds of
megabytes of files. The problem is, I don't dare do anything else while
this is taking place, so my machine is effectively useless. Why, oh
why, can not I just DOWNLOAD the @*%$@ file, at my convenience, and then
run the installation?
2. After everything is said and done, I start Developer Studio up. I
press F1. I get a message that says that due to recent changes, it will
take several minutes to update. Why isn't this done as part of the
installation? I did the update last night prior to going to bed, get up
this morning expecting to get right to work, and the first thing is yet
another delay while it 'updates'.
3. Now, for the test. I don't want any of the superfluous stuff, so I
tell it to filter on 'RAD Studio' so I don't get any of the MS stuff in
my response. I now do a search on TAction (because I have found so little
documentation on it, but folks tell me I should be using 'actions' now).
I wait while it searches, and up come the TOP ANSWERS (6 found). The
are all of the nature "VK_TACTION", or "WriteLine "\t\t\tAction""
(actually, 5 of the latter). Then, I look to the right, and I see that
these are responses from MSDN online. I check, and I am still set to
filter by 'RAD Studio'. This makes no sense -- and if I am searching in
the CodeGear help for information on a CodeGear product, and I type in
the CodeGear-defined name, I expect help on that subject to pop up,
front and center.
Over on the right side of the screen, it indicates that there are 201
responses for 'Local Help', so I will click on that. Now, I finally get
the 'TAction class' as my first choice. But no samples are listed, nor
any descriptions, only the class and properties in the class. So I
click on 'TAction', and under the 'see also' item I find things such as
"What is an Action?" and "Using Action Lists", which is precisely the
type of thing one would want when asking for help about TAction.
I'll have to spend some time to see how useful these items may be, but
the whole 'action' (sorry for the pun) of trying to find out how to use
stuff in the current Developer's Studio still seems to leave something
to be desired. I don't know WHY the filtering doesn't appear to work,
nor WHY the first choice for stuff is 'MSDN Online', but it looks like
there is still quite a ways to go (and that is completely omitting the
problems involving the downloads during installation, etc.
BTW, why are downloads a problem? Well, in reading comments from folks,
and at CDN, it seems that an 'aborted' installation causes no end of
turmoil. Unfortunately, in our neighborhood, the internet connectivity
has been very sporadic of late (they've had trucks out digging up cables
at various times over the past month), and so the risk of losing
connection during the installation is real. that is why it is FAR BETTER
to allow folks to download the FULL installation files prior to actually
doing the installation -- as it stands now, I have very little faith
that things will go 'normally' -- I just got lucky this time...
David Erbas-White
 
 

Re:New help comment

Hello,
you definitely should QC what you've found. IDE/Documentation would be a
good category.
Greetings
Markus
 

Re:New help comment

Brion L. Webster writes:
Quote
David Erbas-White writes:

>3. Now, for the test. I don't want any of the superfluous stuff, so I
>tell it to filter on 'RAD Studio' so I don't get any of the MS stuff
>in my response. I now do a search on TAction (because I have found so
>little documentation on it, but folks tell me I should be using
>'actions' now). I wait while it searches, and up come the TOP ANSWERS
>(6 found). The are all of the nature "VK_TACTION", or "WriteLine
>"\t\t\tAction"" (actually, 5 of the latter). Then, I look to the
>right, and I see that these are responses from MSDN online. I check,
>and I am still set to filter by 'RAD Studio'. This makes no sense --
>and if I am searching in the CodeGear help for information on a
>CodeGear product, and I type in the CodeGear-defined name, I expect
>help on that subject to pop up, front and center.

That's funny - I have been using TActions since Delphi 4 or 5 - they're
pretty well documented in Delphi 7 for sure. ;-) Good observations
about how help ought to work too.

The problem is that I was previously using version 5 before upgrading to
2007. Wasn't aware of them at the time... Just a moment, I am going to
fire up my C++ Builder 5... Sure enough, I press F1 to get help, type
'TAction', and up pops the category 'action objects', and clicking on
that gives me a description of them.
I probably looked at them briefly at the time, but decided not to fool
with something 'new-fangled', and haven't looked at them since.
And it is an additional bother when I see both how quickly the 'old' help
loaded, and how it took me to RIGHT WHAT I NEEDED TO KNOW (in comparison
to the 'current' help)...
David Erbas-White
 

Re:New help comment

David Erbas-White writes:
Quote
Well, after waiting several days for a stand-alone download of the
'new help update', I finally broke down and ran the 'update tool'.

1. It seems to me that it is problematic to have multiple downloads
during the installation. The installation program seems to do a lot
of 'stuff' during preparation, then starts downloading hundreds of
megabytes of files. The problem is, I don't dare do anything else
while this is taking place, so my machine is effectively useless.
Why, oh why, can not I just DOWNLOAD the @*%$@ file, at my convenience,
and then run the installation?
Especially a broken download, will give you "no updates available" when
you retry, very annoying.
Quote
Over on the right side of the screen, it indicates that there are 201
responses for 'Local Help', so I will click on that. Now, I finally
get the 'TAction class' as my first choice. But no samples are
listed, nor any descriptions, only the class and properties in the
class. So I click on 'TAction', and under the 'see also' item I find
things such as "What is an Action?" and "Using Action Lists", which
is precisely the type of thing one would want when asking for help
about TAction.
Hasn't this always been the case?
Quote
[snip], nor WHY the first choice for stuff is 'MSDN Online',
When the help is open see Tools->Options->Help->Online.
--
Pieter
 

Re:New help comment

David Erbas-White writes:
Quote
Pieter Zijlstra writes:
>Hasn't this always been the case?

Actually, no. See another comment in the thread -- I fired up BCB5,
entered 'TAction', and boom, second item explains what I want. Much
easier than first being pointed to MSDN Online (after filtering for
RAD Studio), then seeing only the class description, then scrolling
down to the 'see also' links..

Firing Up D5
============
Press F1 on blank part in editor
Type TAction and press Enter
A popup appears:
- Action objects
- TAction
Since I know nothing and typed TAction, that is where I want information
about, I go for the second.
<a general description about TAction>
On the righthand side a _see__also_
After some more clicking "Action objects"
Firing up D7
============
Press F1 on blank part in editor ... nothing
Going to help menu ->Delphi Help
Type TAction and ....
... a lot of options here
Selecting top one (2. TAction)
Pressing Enter and end up in ActnList Unit
Taking the top option TAction
Another menu (CLX/VCL)
I'm "{*word*3}" on the second one.
<a general description about TAction>
On the righthand side a _Using__TAction_
Firing up D2007
===============
Press F1 on blank part in editor..."The keyword is not defined"
Going to help menu ->CodeGear Help
1) In the index window type TAction
First or Second option TAbout
On the righthand side a _See__Also_
2) Going to search option and type TAction
First option TAbout
On the righthand side a _See__Also_
(note I have set it up to search locally only).
I'm trying to be as "stupid" about the subject as I can be and can't
see much difference between the three. There is one major difference;
the startup time for the help to appear the very first time.
Mind you, I agree with you on the download isseus, I do agree on the
initial slow startup time, but I happily disagree on the general idea
that the help sucks compared to the previous versions!
--
Pieter
 

Re:New help comment

David Erbas-White writes:
Quote
Much easier than first being pointed to MSDN Online (after filtering
for RAD Studio)
By default, Document Explorer is configured to check local and online
help references. This can be disabled by doing the following:-
- Select 'Help->Online...' from the main menu
- Expand the 'Help' node in the treeview, and select the 'Online' node
- Select the 'Try local only, not online' option in the 'When loading
Help content' radio group
--
Cheers,
David Clegg
XXXX@XXXXX.COM
cc.codegear.com/Author/72299
QualityCentral. The best way to bug CodeGear about bugs.
qc.codegear.com
"All right, brain. You don't like me and I don't like you, but let's
just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer." - Homer
Simpson
 

Re:New help comment

From: "Pieter Zijlstra" <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>
Subject: Re: New help comment
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 03:00:38 +0100
Message-ID: <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>
Lines: 34
David Erbas-White writes:
Quote
Pieter Zijlstra writes:
>David Erbas-White writes:
>
>
>I'm trying to be as "stupid" about the subject as I can be and can't
>see much difference between the three. There is one major
>difference; the startup time for the help to appear the very first
>time.
>
>Mind you, I agree with you on the download isseus, I do agree on the
>initial slow startup time, but I happily disagree on the general
>idea that the help sucks compared to the previous versions!

Given your own precise example, when starting D5, the very first item
that pops up is the one that you actually found useful (you indicated
that you chose the 'second' option).
Yes but, "I know nothing", just came from visual basic (*) and typed
TAction, saw it on the Internet somewhere and I wanted help about it.
Why didn't the one I choose gave the help I needed?-)
(*) No, I did not do visual basic. In a later interview I might be
willing to confess that I did some QuickBasic 15 years ago.
;-)
Quote
All of the others required several iterations to get to that point.
Yes and Delphi 7 was the most worse (in this case) :)
--
Pieter
 

Re:New help comment

David Erbas-White writes:
Quote
I thank you for the information, and I do appreciate it, but I
reiterate...

I had set the filter to be 'RAD Studio' only.
I would suspect that the filter setting only applies to local content,
and that searching online content blissfully ignores this filter.
Considering RAD Studio uses Dexplore as the presentation engine,
CodeGear may not be able to do anything about this.
FWLIW, this is how Dexplore behaves when using it from Visual Studio
2005 as well.
--
Cheers,
David Clegg
XXXX@XXXXX.COM
cc.codegear.com/Author/72299
QualityCentral. The best way to bug CodeGear about bugs.
qc.codegear.com
"Now that happy moment between the time the lie is told and when it is
found out." - Homer Simpson
 

Re:New help comment

In article <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>, XXXX@XXXXX.COM
says...
Quote
Considering RAD Studio uses Dexplore as the presentation engine,
CodeGear may not be able to do anything about this.
They could not use DExplore, no?
;)
 

Re:New help comment

David Erbas-White writes:
Quote
Well, after waiting several days for a stand-alone download of the
'new help update', I finally broke down and ran the 'update tool'.
David, have you seen DP Help-Booster mentioned in the Third Party NG:
Subject: DP Help-Booster (DLL-expert for Delphi-IDE) Build 394 released
Date: 4 Mar 2008
I just saw this tonight... and WOW, what a difference! it is at:
www.delphipraxis.net/helpbooster.php
Then try Action or TAction.
--
 

Re:New help comment

Bob S writes:
Quote
David Erbas-White writes:

>Well, after waiting several days for a stand-alone download of the
>'new help update', I finally broke down and ran the 'update tool'.

David, have you seen DP Help-Booster mentioned in the Third Party NG:

Subject: DP Help-Booster (DLL-expert for Delphi-IDE) Build 394 released
Date: 4 Mar 2008

I just saw this tonight... and WOW, what a difference! it is at:

www.delphipraxis.net/helpbooster.php

Then try Action or TAction.
Thanks, I will give it a try!
Though I doubt it will do much for the 'content' issue <G>...
David Erbas-White
 

Re:New help comment

Jolyon Smith <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>writes:
Quote
In article <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>, XXXX@XXXXX.COM
says...

>Considering RAD Studio uses Dexplore as the presentation engine,
>CodeGear may not be able to do anything about this.

They could not use DExplore, no?

;)
Right. that is where I want CG to spend their time and resources, reinventing the wheel so it will support the existing .NET/WinAPI docs as well as the Delphi docs. MUCH more important than anything else, like 64 bit support, or Unicode, or any of the other things that users are clamoring about everywhere. Rewriting the help viewer surely has a much higher priority.
I wonder if CG gets as tired of people whining about an extra mouse click or two or an extra keystroke or two as I do. I mean, seriously... If an additional *mouse click* or *keystroke* is too much work for you, you should probably get away from the computer and find a new line of work that is less effort, like full time couch potato. Oh, wait! Changing channels might be too much work; I mean, you *do* have to click the buttons.
 

Re:New help comment

Ken White writes:
Quote
Jolyon Smith <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>writes:
>In article <XXXX@XXXXX.COM>, XXXX@XXXXX.COM
>says...
>
>>Considering RAD Studio uses Dexplore as the presentation engine,
>>CodeGear may not be able to do anything about this.
>They could not use DExplore, no?
>
>;)

Right. that is where I want CG to spend their time and resources, reinventing the wheel so it will support the existing .NET/WinAPI docs as well as the Delphi docs. MUCH more important than anything else, like 64 bit support, or Unicode, or any of the other things that users are clamoring about everywhere. Rewriting the help viewer surely has a much higher priority.

I wonder if CG gets as tired of people whining about an extra mouse click or two or an extra keystroke or two as I do. I mean, seriously... If an additional *mouse click* or *keystroke* is too much work for you, you should probably get away from the computer and find a new line of work that is less effort, like full time couch potato. Oh, wait! Changing channels might be too much work; I mean, you *do* have to click the buttons.
I've been in this business more than thirty years, both as low-level
engineer and higher-level management. When I see something poorly
designed, I will say so. I don't use the help that often, but on those
occasions when I do, I expect the help/documentation to be both easy to
find and succint. CodeGear's is neither. The feeling that one gets
from using the help (and I am not speaking of the latest update, it is too
new to comment on) is that it is been slapped together -- and when I see
that in one aspect of a product, I expect to see it in other aspects, as
well.
If that is your attitude, I am surprised you bother with an IDE instead of
a DOS text editor and DEBUG...
David Erbas-White
 

Re:New help comment

I have not used Delphi's Help for a long time, so I am sort of
oblivious to these issues.
Anyway.
What I am wondering is this:
Is there no way that one could get at the actual content of the help in
plain text (formatted) and use that with a properly written application
and integrate it with the IDE?
I mean a clean design. Written in OO Pascal and void of MS clutter?
Is it that tough?
Or is there *again* legal reasons?
 

Re:New help comment

Hello,
you claim something to be poorly designed, but you claim at the wrong
end. Ask the root of this evil help system: Microsoft! Even MS VS users
are swearing about it and say that it sucks... so better ask Bill Gates
if he wants to get his position as most richest man back by providing
good and working software.
Greetings
Markus