3.0.5

DOCUMENTATION SUCKS!

How do you justify charging almost $1,500 for a toolset with really crap documentation??? I'd buy it today if not for this.
John Cooke
June 9,
Not only that, but the developer ignores many posts on his board :(
June 9,
I notice that ActiveWidgets is a 'Ltd' company... Does Alex realize that a company SERVES its customers, and that SATISFIED customers help turn a PROFIT. One way customers could be served is through better documentation. This should be a fully complete integral component to the product... not some begrudging afterthought.
John C
June 9,
John C,

I guess you expect him to monitor his board every minute of every hour? If so, I think you'll need to pay more to finance his time. I personally would rather have more products. I can figure out the documentation on my own and let him develop wonderful code like this. To me, that would be time well spent.

Daryl L. Texas
June 9,
You are mistaken. He's selling a product, not source code. A product includes documentation. Clearly ActiveWidgets is suffering because of a lack of good documentation. Read the forums and see what others are saying. How helpful really is a page of documentation that tells you the name and parameters of a method, but not *how* it is used with useful examples?

I'm really happy that Alex is so gifted in writing code, but as soon as you represent a LLC and offer something for sale (real money), you need to step up to the plate and listen to your potential customers.
John C
June 9,
How am I mistaken? I never said he was selling source code, I said product. The last time I purchased a car, I did not receive any documentation on how the engine works. When you purchased Micrsoft Office, did you read their documentation? If so, how does the CTRL+U make the text in my word document underline? I know that it underlines the text, but just how does Microsoft implement that feature?

I will admit, $1500 is high for the features it provides (lack of editing directly in the cell for example, but you could easily build another page to update a database and then those changes would be reflected on the page. This would prevent unauthorized end-users from being able to change data. Coldfusion 5.x had a tag calld cfgrid and cfgridupdate that would do just what this widget is doing.

If you don't like his product (or the documentation), move on. No need to go to his forum and use CAPITAL letters. That is just poor form and shows no class.
Daryl L. Texas
June 9,
The difference between MS Office and ActiveWidgets is that the former is a shrink-wrapped application, the latter is a toolset/framework to be used by developers. But to be more precise, even MS Word has a help section for its macros called "Understanding Objects, Properties, Methods, and Events" -- so, yes, even MS Office comes with such level of help that we find useful. It's this level of help documentation that ActiveWidgets needs.

This is my point - without good documentation this product/source/toolset/widget (whatever you want to call it) will remain the domain of a few dedicated developers and not be used by a wider audience where it belongs.
John C
June 9,
I think both parties have a valid point but John C. just took the wrong approach at voicing his frustration which to me sounds like his real problem/concern. If he sees other people are stating they don't understand/can't figure out the documentation, why would he think stating DOCUMENTATION SUCKS in the subject line would get his voice heard over the other 12+ pages of postings? Did he think Alex would see his subject and say, "Oh the documentation sucks? Let me go fix that." I doubt it.

And Daryl, you can buy a book on how Microsoft implements the CTRL+U (among other keyboard shortcuts) from Amazon if you want to dig that deeply into the code.
Silixay Xayarath
June 9,
John,

I might dislike all caps title but essentially you are right - documentation sucks. And I certainly did not spend enough time answering forum questions - so support sucks too. And don't laugh but the code sucks as well - there are so many things missing and I get reminded of those features every day.

I wish I can magically fix it all at once but in reality I can only spend so much time on this project and so far my priority was (and still is) fixing the code and releasing a more mature version of the toolkit as soon as possible.

I know with all that AJAX craziness there is a demand for a good client-side GUI toolkit - but ActiveWidgets is not there yet. It only does one small thing and extending it beyond what it is intended to do is a huge pain (you have to go through the source code).

I don't want to mislead anyone - please evaluate the product carefully before you buy the license. And if it is not good enough, well, I am working to make it better but it takes time.
Alex (ActiveWidgets)
June 9,
You know, when I go to a place to purchase dinner, and if I had a less then favorable experience the last time I was there, I don't try to get better service and better food by yelling "THIS PLACE SUCKS!". Somehow I don't think I would get the service I was looking for. You may have a point, but you certainly chose the wrong way to address it. I for one purchased the commercial license and have not once regretted it. The toolkit has made my product much better and in the future I can see it getting even better. There hasn't been much that I haven't been able to figure out either on my own or through the forum. Sure, a full set of documentation would have made some of my work easier, but the lack of it hasn't blocked my ability to produce good work.
Until better documentation exists, I will continue to find the answers where I always have, in the forums, and I will continue to try and help others that might need it.

This is what a community does, it unites, not divides.
Jim Hunter
June 9,
Perhaps you could start a Wiki documentation project, as many open source projects have done.

That way the community can contribute examples of how it works and collaboratively improve the documentation.

David.
David Sim
June 9,
David,

actually the documentation pages are Wiki (see 'edit this page' link at the bottom right) - so everyone can add/correct things there (and I'll be very grateful for that).
Alex (ActiveWidgets)
June 9,
It appears the problem with these wiki pages is that you don't get to see the full text of the contributions on the same page.
Steve N
June 9,
Alex, while your documentation may need some work I think you have a great product here. John C is clearly a tool who likely is bold when behind a computer but would not dare speak that way to someone in person.
Hippo
June 30,
Best case scenario for John C is that he has money and is in desperate need for this exact product, but he cannot buy it off the shelf so he's pissed and whining...and he's probably a mediocre programmer...or code modifier.

I understand Alex completely as I'm sure many of us do who do things of a similar nature for a living...creating tools...open source participation...etc. Now I've never created a tool as robust as this mind you, but they're all the same...THEY NEVER END. There is a mental burden that sometimes you don't care about and other times you do...and these fluctuations don't match your motivational levels.

Alex if you're by yourself...which most brilliant minds are...get help if you expect this to go somewhere...otherwise this is a Beta level product with a one man support team. It's that simple. Take it or leave it. No one should invest their time if they don't understand those facts.
TragicRock
July 1,
PS...thanks Alex for not keeping this product under raps from the rest of us until it was finished and perfect ... :) Talk about support issue!!! Talk about stress!!! Talk about documentation!!! Talk about SUCKS!
TragicRock
July 1,
PS...documentation is all that seperates the wheat from the chaffe in programming. No documentation is a barrier to entry and if used properly is brilliant. Take MIVA for example...I program in the language..its documentation is poor yes, but it keeps the resource population low. PHP on the other hand...enough said.
TragicRock
July 1,

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