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A Helpful Help File

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Lavelle John View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Lavelle John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: A Helpful Help File
    Posted: 15 Jun 2010 at 7:43am
Having installed the Component Studio I had a look at some of the new components and their properties, as one does. For some of the properties I needed more information so pressed F1 while in the property.

Oh dear, we seem to have a bad case of Borlanditise unHelpfile!

In my opinion a Help file should actualy be helpful. It should give a description of the property, information about how to use it and, for the more obscure properties, why you may want to use it.

The TMS helpfile gives a brief description about the property like so:

Event triggered when one of the extra calculator buttons is clicked. Can be used to implement custom calculator functions.

Great, but how do we use it? The event is:

TExtraButtonClickEvent=procedure(Sender: TObject; idx: integer; var value: extended) of object;

What is the index what is the value? It would be more useful if you'd added something like:

idx: integer - The index of the button clicked (1..4)

value: extended - Calculator Value

Example code:

// 4 buttons marked +V1 +V2 -V1 -V2
// Add or remove UK VAT from calculator total
  case idx of
    1:  value := value * 1.175;
    2:  value := value * 1.09;
    3:  value := value / 1.175;
    4:  value := value / 1.09;
  end;

I haven't had chance to play yet so haven't been able to experiment with using these properties, but why should I have to? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of components all with multiple properties. If I have to experiment with each and every one it'll take years and I won't get any paid work done.

The information needed to use these components must be in the Help File.

So please can we have a proper Help File and not a Borland style un-helpful one.

Many thanks


Edited by Lavelle John - 15 Jun 2010 at 8:56am
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Kovacevic Zeljko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kovacevic Zeljko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2010 at 9:36am
Totally agree. For the same reason I no longer install the TMS help. Even when I ask something I need to ask it twice before I get an answer (just look through this forum), and even still I'm being ignored. And the thing that hurt me the most is when people started to complain about the quality of the support, documentation and examples everything is promptly deleted from here

http://www.tmssoftware.com/site/blog.asp?post=169

No comments left. So, I would'nt be surprised if this is deleted as well. What to say.. Components are really good, but support is really bad. You buy this components and if it's your first time to meet them.. you can only admire them. And also, I dont have years to study them. My customers want fast and good solutions and are not interested in my problems using components.

Please, start showing some respect to your customers and not to do it by deleting their comments or ignoring them. We (at least I) want just to have everything I need to be able to use these components at maximum capacity. If that would be so, I would sure never come to this forum.


Edited by Kovacevic Zeljko - 15 Jun 2010 at 9:53am
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Bruno Fierens View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bruno Fierens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2010 at 1:03pm
1) The question of Mr Lavelle was answered by email as this question was also asked via direct email

2) I'm not sure why you have this impression that our support is bad. We answer *every* email question in almost any case within 24hrs. This forum has only started recently with the explicit goal of accommodating customers who prefer a forum and who like to search through previously answered questions. We really didn't start this forum less than one month ago and did all the efforts to integrate it in our website because we are not committed to good support! If you ever sent a question by email and didn't receive an answer, the first thing to check is your spam folder or reply address.

3) We do not delete *any relevant* posts. We do not ignore any posts. Past months we already have done a considerable effort to increase & organize documentation. See http://www.tmssoftware.com/site/manuals.asp for a first result. 

4) When you have a question we try to help as fast as possible and the majority of our users will confirm. Send us email, use the forum, use the newsgroups. We try to allocate as much as feasible resources to documentation & samples. There are no miracles possible. Hard work on this is being done every day. It is frustrating though that the same few people make the same complaints over and over again. We have heard you, we work on it and we ask for your reasonable patience and look at the results as they come available.

5) I have personally sacrificed the past 15 years of my life to showing respect to every customer. I'd appreciate to more objectively look at things instead of polarizing between black & white. 



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Kovacevic Zeljko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kovacevic Zeljko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2010 at 2:11pm
Regarding 2)... Yes, mostly you answer emails, but not every time. Like I stated some questions are ignored, like me asking about DBGrid bug in header here. Still dont know what is the status about it, but I quit waiting for your response. DB client applications are the main source of my bussiness and income and therefore every detail is very important to me, especially when taking about grids.

Regarding 3)... Yes, you deleted *every* comment in the article I described earlier and closed the article for commenting when people started to complain about documentation, and there was at least 30 comments. And I know what you did about manuals. I look at it almost every day looking for something to better understand this components. And I compliment all of you for that, because it is really an improvement. But still, there is much work to be done.

Regarding 4)... You are missing a point. *I dont even want to ask you a question!* and then waste my time waiting for an answer. All my answers should me inside examples (personaly, the best option for me) or other documentation. It's even embaresing for me to ask you all the time about something. And personally, I dont ask miracles. Just that you hear me, and acknowlegde the problem that I'm facing.

Regarding 5).. . Respect is not when you delete about 30 comments of your costumers who complain. You should hear what they say and not to put me or anyone else in the same bag as people that "make the same complaints over and over again". Is this a respect example?

I'm not interested to "fight" anyone here. I'm very sorry if I offended anyone because I really like the components, but I'm just being honest, and that is that components are very hard to understand and to use, and that you cannot ask your costumers to explore components by them self because.. time is money. And like Mr Lavelle said, dont waste time doing useless things, like redoing 30+ components just so they could have office 10 colors (like, that's gonna increase my productivity). Your components are already excelent and just need to be explained in bit more detail so that everyone could use maximum of their potentional.


Edited by Kovacevic Zeljko - 15 Jun 2010 at 2:15pm
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Adrian Gallero View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Adrian Gallero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2010 at 2:34pm
Originally posted by Kovacevic Zeljko

 
And the thing that hurt me the most is when people started to complain about the quality of the support, documentation and examples everything is promptly deleted from here

http://www.tmssoftware.com/site/blog.asp?post=169

No comments left. So, I would'nt be surprised if this is deleted as well.

Really sorry you have been so much hurt by this, but the reason why comments in that post were removed was simply that it wasn't a post, it was a poll, and polls are not supposed to allow comments. We enabled them by mistake, but disabled them when we realized it. That's it. Also sorry if it hurts you to know there wasn't any conspiracy behind this.

The reason why we don't allow comments in a poll is simple, and it is that it can skew opinions. A single guy commenting has much more weight than 100 guys voting, and that isn't fair.

 In fact, if you went to the poll when we deleted the comments, I think we had about 100 votes and 6 comments, most of them complaining about 64 bit support.  If you read the comments, you would get the idea that 64 bits was all that mattered for Delphi users, and they weren't interested in Delphi 2011. But if you did the math, only a 6% had voted "not interested in Delphi 2011"  6% in 100 votes, means 6 people. And we had 6 comments... all complaining about 64 bits. What really happened was that everybody who wasn't happy with Embarcadero not adding 64 bits was leaving a comment, and the rest wasn't. It wasn't fair with the 142 people who didn't comment, and probably was ok with not having 64 bits. Comments can give a very false impression, and that's why they are off, and will be off in newer polls.

Besides this, comments about 64 bits (or the couple about docs) weren't really relevant for the poll. We can't make Embarcadero create a 64 bit compiler. We weren't polling about our docs. The poll was about TMS and what it should do to support new features in Delphi 2011. 

Also note that even in posts, were comments are indeed allowed, we require a little relevance too. If we are speaking about gdi+ and you rant about the oil spill in the gulf, or the docs, or why .NET is better than Delphi, the post will be deleted. 

If you speak about docs in a doc thread (like this one) it won't be deleted. No need to be surprised. If you try to start speaking about why Embarcadero should make a 64 bit compiler in this thread, it will most likely be deleted. Sorry, but those are the rules.

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Kovacevic Zeljko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kovacevic Zeljko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2010 at 3:48pm
Originally posted by Adrian Gallero

Really sorry you have been so much hurt by this, but the reason why comments in that post were removed was simply that it wasn't a post, it was a poll, and polls are not supposed to allow comments. We enabled them by mistake, but disabled them when we realized it. That's it. Also sorry if it hurts you to know there wasn't any conspiracy behind this.
Unbelievable.. For a payed service you also get to be treated like a 10 year old child... Like it's I'm here to listen to your arrogancy?

And dont talk to me about the comments of the pool. I was there from the begining and saw the whole thing. And those rules you talk about.. have not seen them anywhere on the site, so I dont know what are you talking about. Anyway.. I had enough for today and since you treat me like you do I'll sure try not to bother you again. So you can now remove the "
same few people who make the same complaints over and over again" tag from my back. Thanks.


Edited by Kovacevic Zeljko - 15 Jun 2010 at 3:52pm
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Adrian Gallero View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Adrian Gallero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2010 at 4:22pm
Unbelievable.. For a payed service you also get to be treated like a 10 year old child... Like it's I'm here to listen to your arrogancy? 

You don't have to listen to me if you don't want to.

And dont talk to me about the comments of the pool. I was there from the begining and saw the whole thing

Good you did. I received an email for every comment posted, and as I can always be wrong, I just went and counted them. You were right. They weren't 6 messages. They were 8. Hell, in our most commented post ever:


In where comments are mostly about docs we got 25 comments from december 8 to december 24. This post, which only stayed some hours with comments enabled, we got 30. And somehow I didn't got any notification for the other 22. 

And those rules you talk about.. have not seen them anywhere on the site, so I dont know what are you talking about.

That's why I was explaining them to you, and trying to be as clear as sincere as I could. But it look like I lost my time. Well, that is life. 

Anyway.. I had enough for today and since you treat me like you do I'll sure try not to bother you again

If you do unfounded accusations I don't know how you expect to be treated. We work very hard in supporting our users, we answer questions saturdays and sundays, and I get very angry when someone affirms that we are acting in bad faith. You made a very bold accusation, that we deleted posts because we didn't like them. It got us very angry, because it is false. If it was true, we would be deleting this thread (as you expected). If it was true, we would have deleted all comments at http://www.tmssoftware.com/site/blog.asp?post=142  (as you would have expected). But don't let facts get in the way.

Btw, this is getting really offtopic, and is helping no one. I am out of here too.
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Bruno Fierens View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bruno Fierens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2010 at 8:12pm
Regarding 2)... Yes, mostly you answer emails, but not every time. Like I stated some questions are ignored, like me asking about DBGrid bug in header here. Still dont know what is the status about it, but I quit waiting for your response. DB client applications are the main source of my bussiness and income and therefore every detail is very important to me, especially when taking about grids.

-> if there was an unanswered email for any reason (it didn't reach us or the answer didn't reach you) please send an email asking for status / resending the question. I'm not aware of any open issue on the grid header.

Regarding 3)... Yes, you deleted *every* comment in the article I described earlier and closed the article for commenting when people started to complain about documentation, and there was at least 30 comments.  

-> the irrelevant comments on the poll were deleted. The poll was not intended to have completely unrelated comments. I think it is normal that comments should stay on topic. Polls will no longer accept comments to start with. It's sad that almost every communication needs to end with negativity, be it on Embarcadero, documentation, Microsoft, whatever.... It has come to a point that I have to wonder whether to continue to communicate. 

And I know what you did about manuals. I look at it almost every day looking for something to better understand this components. And I compliment all of you for that, because it is really an improvement. But still, there is much work to be done.

-> As you say, there is a lot of work to do. As you know it is a lot of work, I ask for your reasonability and patience.

Regarding 4)... You are missing a point. *I dont even want to ask you a question!* and then waste my time waiting for an answer. All my answers should me inside examples (personaly, the best option for me) or other documentation

-> In an ideal situation, you're correct. For us to think of every possible use of the components and anticipate on all possible scenarios and provide examples for everything, I think this is not realistic for components of a certain complexity. It is a noble goal and something we continuously work on. 

Regarding 5).. . Respect is not when you delete about 30 comments of your costumers who complain. You should hear what they say and not to put me or anyone else in the same bag as people that "make the same complaints over and over again". Is this a respect example?

-> Again, I did NOT delete 30 comments. About 6 completely off topic posts on a poll were removed.  I do hear what is being said, one of the proofs is the already increased documentation. I did not put you in any bag.  I simply stated a fact that several off topic comments on the poll were from the same people as comments on blog 142. Again, this message was received, this is being worked on, you see the first proofs, you will continue to see proofs. What more can I say? Is there really a reason to repeat the same thing over and over again? 

Don't waste time doing useless things, like redoing 30+ components just so they could have office 10 colors 

-> Please let us make our own judgement about what we consider important. Having consistent & up to date look & feel for components is one of them. You might not have a need for it but other users do!  I can assure you that not a minute time of our software developers was spent on this as this task was done by a person not from the development team. So, we didn't sacrifice any time that could have been spent on "useful" things.

Finally, if you think we treat you like a child or are being arrogant, that is your view. No one of the team has ever had the intention to treat anyone like a child or being arrogant. I honestly really can't see what made you see things this way. All we tried to do is explain in a honest & humble way the situation at hand. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Lavelle John View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Lavelle John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jun 2010 at 7:27am
Moderators,

Is it possible to split this thread into two?

One obout the original topic and the other about Customer Service.

Many thanks.
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Bruno Fierens View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bruno Fierens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jun 2010 at 9:54am
Only possibility I can see (unless I'm overlooking something) is to create a new topic and move the first post to this new topic.  I'll need to check if there are alternatives.
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Kovacevic Zeljko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kovacevic Zeljko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jun 2010 at 10:17am
No need to complicate things. I wont mind if you delete our discussion. At least we all got a chance to say what we wanted. EOD.
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Möhring Detlev View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Möhring Detlev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2010 at 2:02am
To came back to the point ... I also don't install the tms help anymore because it is'nt helpfull anyway. The name of the property and their parameters are shown in the delphi IDE. In most cases this is the only information given in the help file. I am sure that it is MUCH of work to create a helpfull helpfile, but it would have many benefits:

1. tms components would be easier to use and so more people would become customers!
2. there would be less questions via email / forum / newsgroups
3. if the most important properties would be described with some example code it would replace a detailed users guide and - if marked as "important" - the programmer would have an overview of them and know which properties would be worth to have a deeper look at.

Greetings
Detlev
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Ulrich Richard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ulrich Richard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2010 at 9:24pm
Originally posted by Bruno Fierens

I'm not sure why you have this impression that our support is bad. We answer *every* email question in almost any case within 24hrs.
 
Your email support has been supurb, as far as I'm concerned.  At the same time, I don't like having to ask so many questions when I think that I ought to be able to figure things out myself. 
 
I realize that creating truly helpful help files is an expensive proposition, and perhaps TMS has decided that it isn't cost-effective.  Not only that, you might be right ... but it is still frustrating for us, because many of us hate asking for help unless we are well and truly stuck.   That creates a lot of wasted time.
 
This forum is a good idea, though.  If it can be searched easily, then eventually the common questions and answers will get covered. 
 
Regards,
Richard U.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bruno Fierens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2010 at 4:08am
I'm not sure why there is still any doubt remaining that:
1) we give a very high priority to support, we try to answer all questions within 24hrs, irrespective of the type of the question
2) it is a high priority to increase the available documentation via : help file, developers guides, FAQ entries and samples. It is being worked on and first results are already visible.
3) we did the investment of adding this forum as an extra route to get support, just for the sake of making support even more accessible and convenient for our customers

I'd like to ask for some realism though. The Delphi component market is small and our products are inexpensive. 
We do not have the resources to realize all this in a short time frame. This will be a long & hard work for our small team and again, I'm asking for your patience & reasonability.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Finelli Fabio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2010 at 5:48am
Hello.
I'm new to this forum, and i'm italian, so pls be patient with my poor english.

@Bruno:
While i fully understand the priorities of a small company (the one i work for is a very small too), when i buy a professional product, for a professional product price range, i want a professional product.
Documentation, talking about programming objects ("Components", in case of Delphi/CppBuilder) is a strong part of the product.
Even if your support is strong and fast., when i need to learn what a method do and i can't find A SINGLE WORD about it, my production stops 'cause i have to ask and then i have to wait for an answer.
An example?


TAdvSmoothToggleButton.ShowDropDown Method
 
Class

     TAdvSmoothToggleButton

Syntax


Description



- Copyright © 1997 - 2009 tmssoftware.com



Now, i'm in a hurry, i have to finish the whole UI redesign of my app for tomorrow (that's why i bought the TMS Component Pack) and i (being a C++ programmer) have to learn from a Delphi source code what are the methods i need.

AT LEAST i think that TMS should have stated somewhere, clearly visible, that the whole documentation and help of the components wasn't ready, so a potential customer will know what he's going to face. That may hurt incomes, but it is the "good" way to do.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bruno Fierens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2010 at 8:40am
As can be relatively easy & logically deduced, ShowDropDown will programmatically show the associated dropdown control AdvSmoothToggleButton.DropDownControl. 

About documentation, I believe that in the various replies in this thread everything useful that I can say has been said already. For the record, today, one more new PDF developers was released.
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Finelli Fabio View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Finelli Fabio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2010 at 10:24am
Originally posted by Bruno Fierens

As can be relatively easy & logically deduced, ShowDropDown will programmatically show the associated dropdown control AdvSmoothToggleButton.DropDownControl.

Sure. But just to proceed with this example, i'd like to know:
- What kind of control i can declare as "DropDown"?
- is the DropDown control receiving/firing any event after this call?
- Can i abort the control to be shown (as the CanResize "classical" event can do using the boolean passed with the event)?
- Who is in charge to set the position of the control, and how can i change it?

That's just the first things that comes to my mind when i play with the controls to learn to use them.
I can't even look at the samples, 'cause they're not compiled and i don't have the Delphi Personality to load that projects.

Now, don't get me wrong: While i'm complaining about the scarcity of help and infos, i'm not flaming anyone. It's just my feedback after some days of work on the TMS Component pack (the Smooth group mainly).
I understand that new features and bug hunting have a priority, and that writing a full help system is one of the most boring things in the whole word. I still want to say that help for components and objects is an important feature. My company can't sell anything without a proper documentation, even if what we produce is strongly dedicated and targeted to who already know what to do.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bruno Fierens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2010 at 11:11am
Originally posted by Finelli Fabio

Originally posted by Bruno Fierens

As can be relatively easy & logically deduced, ShowDropDown will programmatically show the associated dropdown control AdvSmoothToggleButton.DropDownControl.

Sure. But just to proceed with this example, i'd like to know:
- What kind of control i can declare as "DropDown"?
- is the DropDown control receiving/firing any event after this call?
- Can i abort the control to be shown (as the CanResize "classical" event can do using the boolean passed with the event)?
- Who is in charge to set the position of the control, and how can i change it?
- Any TWinControl descendent control
- The dropdown control might fire events like OnResize, ie. the standard VCL events
- It is not designed to be aborted. If you want a dropdown control assign it and it will be shown, otherwise don't assign a dropdown control.
- TAdvSmoothToggleButton controls the position of the dropdown control

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