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Macgyver

R21: reenable internal Help-system?

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Yes, it seems they are in a techno bubble, this by no means an issue with MAXON only, but i see webpages getting worse, fancy but worse, forum software idem, stuff that change just for the sake of change - this also happens with hardware for no reason . This case also makes us question the decision process of a company when things get changed and they don't even seem to have simulated the change. A product manager changes the help system just because have a hunch or there is a new mantra/fashion in the office... Is there even a process?

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We're very concerned about user benefit - and it is top of mind. We have had a lot of requests from other folks for exactly this - more integration of Cineversity content and up-to-date information. We've also already had reports (as every year) of typos and inaccuracies - and in truth, the current system is such that I can't even correct them. I realize that may sound to you like a MAXON benefit but I think accurate and up-to-date help is a customer benefit.

 

I understand the concerns about Adobe-style help, and I recognize that my question made things seems as though they were going that direction. Personally I think there's a middle ground, and that's what I'm hoping we can achieve. That said, we're hearing your feedback about offline help and will see what we can do. In truth the internal system had to / has to change because it's not maintainable, but it's a tricky thing to support all the languages we do and the level of integration with each new parameter. Thanks for the feedback as it'll help guide our process.

 

-Rick

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1 hour ago, RBarrett said:

We're very concerned about user benefit - and it is top of mind. We have had a lot of requests from other folks for exactly this - more integration of Cineversity content and up-to-date information. We've also already had reports (as every year) of typos and inaccuracies - and in truth, the current system is such that I can't even correct them. I realize that may sound to you like a MAXON benefit but I think accurate and up-to-date help is a customer benefit.

 

I understand the concerns about Adobe-style help, and I recognize that my question made things seems as though they were going that direction. Personally I think there's a middle ground, and that's what I'm hoping we can achieve. That said, we're hearing your feedback about offline help and will see what we can do. In truth the internal system had to / has to change because it's not maintainable, but it's a tricky thing to support all the languages we do and the level of integration with each new parameter. Thanks for the feedback as it'll help guide our process.

 

-Rick

Hi Rick,

 

I don’t know your internal system for editing the help, but I know a thing or two about web-development.

Actually it sounds like your current internal system needs improvement. You need a custom Content Management System for your online-help anyway. It’s not that difficult to build in a way to spit out a set of static html-files from the whole project. Then this package has just to be wrapped into an update for Cinema 4D that shows up on startup as it did in the past. This could possibly even be automated to a sensible degree.

What I’m saying is: It’s not rocket science to get the files for the offline help out of an online-CMS. I actually know programmers who can do stuff like this with custom-CMSs.

 

If some people like the online help, why not make a checkbox in C4Ds preferences? If checked, the internal (!) help browser loads the whole bundle of files offline into the Cinema 4D-directory. If not, the internal(!!!) help browser refers to a url. Both, the downloaded html-files and the online version could refer to the same CSS-file (how it looks) and be lean and mean. Or look at intentionally different CSS-files for a darker colour-theme within Cinema 4D. No rocket science. The system just has to be build (or extended) one time.

Actually, if you need somebody in Germany who can build the web-part of this system, write me PM (if this is a thing with this forum software…).

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2 hours ago, RBarrett said:

... We have had a lot of requests from other folks for exactly this - more integration of Cineversity content and up-to-date information...

 

Still don´t understand that solution... These folks requested exactly to remove internal/build-in/offline help system?

Since MAXON Online help times was everything perfect. Local help system build-in, online version online....perfect.

Maybe these folks requested just improving online version only. (filled with additional content as videotutorials, links to explanation videos, Cineversity integration etc... )

 

 

 

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Rick - thanks for being a 'willing  listener' on this important matter! 

I'd pretty much echo Macgyver's comments 100%.

 

1. Please - no community content. That's what Google's for.
When I'm looking for help in complex software like C4D I want direct, detailed, in depth, authoritative information - that I can find immediately and easily
The very last thing I want is a link to 23 random youtube tutorials... or similar. I hate the fact that Adobe have done this to their help system. Please don't follow them.
 

2. Just like Macgyver - I have a good amount of 'screen real estate' at my studio and high speed connectivity.  But I typically want to refer to the help most when I am away from the office with my 15" laptop  - minimum screen estate - and poor, or NO, connectivity.

 

Yes, I understand that a system that can be updated more easily etc would be good. But my priority - by far - is a help system that meets the requirements above - as R20.

 

Mke

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1 hour ago, Macgyver said:

Actually it sounds like your current internal system needs improvement.

 

Yeah that's exactly what I was inferring - we're working towards a new CMS, and there's a few hurdles we have to overcome to provide the files offline - including how to actually spit out the files and how to redirect to the proper help page from each parameter entry. I'm hoping (and in fact fairly sure) we can find solutions - we just couldn't do it in the R21 timetable.

 

13 minutes ago, MikeA said:

Please - no community content. That's what Google's for.

 

Ok feedback received. How about displaying relevant Cineversity tutorials? Not making this a free-for-all but providing a few curated pathways to additional MAXON-managed resources.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, RBarrett said:

 

Yeah that's exactly what I was inferring - we're working towards a new CMS, and there's a few hurdles we have to overcome to provide the files offline - including how to actually spit out the files and how to redirect to the proper help page from each parameter entry. I'm hoping (and in fact fairly sure) we can find solutions - we just couldn't do it in the R21 timetable.

 

 

Ok feedback received. How about displaying relevant Cineversity tutorials? Not making this a free-for-all but providing a few curated pathways to additional MAXON-managed resources.

 

 

sounds good to me... just don't clutter help with tuts, make a clean section with tuts at the bottom of the help topic, clearly separated. so for instance, if i wanna look up how feature xy works, i get all the clean info with text and images like i'm used to, and below that a list of CV tutorials relevant to that topic. 

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15 minutes ago, RBarrett said:

Ok feedback received. How about displaying relevant Cineversity tutorials? Not making this a free-for-all but providing a few curated pathways to additional MAXON-managed resources.

 

 

 

I too would like this and what everefresh' suggests. Along with the ability to dock within the layout. When click on the additional CV tutorial which would then open into a browser window.

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Oh, it's all looking slightly messed up. If you've got your help online - it's definitely in some kind of database. It could be read both on the server or in the C4D. Let the online help be more up to date, let it be frequently updated (can't get why do we need that, but ok), but simply once you roll out the update - backup you datebase, zip it and send to us. It's THAT EASY!

If you've got your internal help as a bunch of separate htmls - ok, there's a workaround too, you can generate them from the DB and zip it once you've decided to push it as update.

You're doing so advanced things on such a level! I can't believe you've got no staff to implement it. It seems like somebody's will to screw it up

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1 hour ago, RBarrett said:

 

Ok feedback received. How about displaying relevant Cineversity tutorials? Not making this a free-for-all but providing a few curated pathways to additional MAXON-managed resources.

 

Everfresh could have typed the response for me : )  -  I'm perfectly happy to have that additional option as long as it doesn't detract or interfere with the core info  - and that it's clearly separated from that info, not all jumbled up together.

The sort of help info I typically need is:  What does 'parameter A' do?  -  or some other very focused bit of info.  I need the info I want, quickly and accurately to get the job out of the door. For me, Cineversity fulfuills a different role: it's for when I want to explore or discover a new feature or toolset in more depth - and I have the time to watch and absorb a longer video or playlist. Hence the need to keep these two routes clearly separated.

I noted your comment about the current difficulty of incorporating user reported typos, inaccuracies etc - and your efforts to enable the integration of that input. I'd very much like to see that improved. If you could enable an easier route for user contributions that would be a very good thing. I'm not talking about directly accessible user content here, but about submitting content to yourselves that you could review, consolidate and consider for your next 'documentation update'.


I guess my ideal solution would be an online system  that gives you the ability to make continuous updates, corrections etc - but  one that would allow the user to download a local copy (of the core info - similar to  R20) at any time of their choosing for local off-line help. This could then be updated by downloading a revised copy of the help as and when the user felt necessary - and when they had good connectivity to do so.

 

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