What are the general thoughts on the 2008v1 release so far? We have just started to use it and don't really see much new or improved. Are there any massive improvements?
Right now we are tryign to decide to renew our subscription or move on to another suite such as Telerik.
The Infragisitcs controsl have been ok and we have usedthem for years but overall they are very heavy for web use and more complex than they need to be. Support and sample code is also weak in our view.
Project examples do help clarify usage for complex tools, but this approach creates "vectored" development (in which developers are "vectored" into a design approach modeled after another developer's technique.)
Creativity with tools intended to be used at the presentation layer simply must have meticulous documentation, and any tool developed in this generation WITHOUT context sensitive help is inexcusable.
We've all seen this faux pas from developers: after they finish a half-hearted effort at documenting their product, that's the end of it. Their first efforts propogate from generation to generation with only minor addendums, instead of comprehensive review, reorganization, and new efforts to take advantage of new documentation technology (like video exemplar in deployed solutions.)
With tools as complex as IG's, at this price point, customers should settle for nothing less. And, in a way, I think that they vote their dissatisfaction by skipping generations of releases when they don't perceive the polish and detail that meets the current best practice.
If you're having problems with context sensitive help please contact Developer Support by submitting an incident.
Also, this help topic describes the F1 Help Available and some notes concerning it's use.
Also, this blog is written by the manager of the docs and he can answer any questions on the direction and effort he is taking to improve the help.
I have seen the Features Browsers, and they are a step in the right direction. But imagine a developer, simply looking for an answer on how to use a single property of a control :-
The help system search feature is not very good, and often I can end up manually searching for a specific property. Finding it, there is often only limited info, and no example of how to use it. OK, I know you will say that you are trying to provide a better help system, but the IG controls are now fairly complex and providing a great help system would be fantastic, but maybe not cost efective.
The Features Browser can provide further assistance, but again a developer may have to pick through the example code to find the specific property they are interested in.
Developers are working on many real world systems, and each may approach a development solution from different angles. We do however all tend to focus on fairly simple aspects, typically :- 'How do I get a Dialog Window to display when a user clicks a button'. Yes, I know the answer may be buried somewhere in the help or features browser, but it's so much simpler ( and often quicker) to ask the question, and get a short consise code example from another developer.
Please also note that I am not talking about fully operational code examples, but simply 'code snippets'.
So, my vote would be for a searchable database of these snippets, contributed by IG staff and developers. Accompanying the code snippets could be references to other code snippets, or even links to the IG help system or Feature Browsers. In this way a quick reference guide could be built providing both new and existing users of IG products with a better help facility.
Perhaps others may like to comment on my suggestions ?
I agree to an extent with your comments, but the problem is that all software vendors are faced with the problem of enhancing existing products and developing new ones, When a new product or version is released (especially in the control marketplace) there is strong pressure to move on to the next version, partly due to us, the customers, who demand new features.
The above means that the documentation of software often is given a much lower priority.
Yes, I would like to see more documentation effort (with context sensitive help), but the effort involved in this would almost certainly result in a more expensive product, and I am not sure this may be the best path.
In another post in this section, I have advocated a searchable database of code snippets contributed to by both IG staff and IG customers. My gut feeling is that this may be not only a more cost effective option, but also one where developers can learn much more quickly about any product features.
I think IG products represent good value for money, and have experienced other vendors who supply poor quality products and documentation. I will continue to renew my yearly subscriptions to IG products as renewal costs are much lower than initial purchases when skipping several releases.
I'm intrigued by this idea of a code snippet share. I'm wondering, do you think we could just do that on these forums? The reason I think that might be best is that I think we devs already like to go to forums when looking for help to a specific problem. The forums have a pretty good search engine and are indexed by Google, and they support attachments. We are also working on getting an insert code snippet feature going as well.
We could all use, say, "Code Snippet" as a tag on such posts, then we could more easily find them.