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netgeorger
02-17-2007, 02:28 AM
Hey! What happened to all the extremely helpful documentation pdf files, tutorials etc? I mean yesterday I was downloading most of them on to my portable. Now I wake up in the morning the whole site has changed and as far as I can see all those docs are gone. Good thing I did some mining. I hope this is just a construction problem with the new look at Alpha and you all will continue and improve on the offerings of tutorials and documentation explanations of your template databases. etc.

Sincerely George R. Kenney.

Lenny Forziati
02-17-2007, 08:25 AM
The tutorials and other content have been temporarily removed while they are reviewed and updated. We'll be adding them back in the coming days and weeks.

hodder
04-10-2007, 01:35 AM
OK so is the time up?
Help files are good, really would like the documentation back.

When can we expect it Lenny?

jmatienza
04-10-2007, 01:43 AM
The update page (http://downloads.alphasoftware.com/a5v8download/PatchDownload.Html) with the chm files is up and running.

hodder
04-11-2007, 04:00 AM
By documentation I meant pdf files.

There used to be loads for v7 and I like them to print out.

Chm is fine for many things, but do you have any date for when the pdf files will be available, Lenny?

hodder
04-12-2007, 05:44 AM
Well pdf's gone. Guess this message also will?

There are a number of us who really would appreciate the pdf's back.

hodder
04-25-2007, 08:44 AM
PDF documentation - any idea when?

Any suggestions on best programs to print out help files?

I understand Alpha has always come in for comment on its documentation. For simple programs it's excusable, but with big complex programs such as Alpha it is in my view a big omission and for many new users unhelpful.

Comments from Alpha, Lenny?

MikeC
04-27-2007, 12:11 PM
ian,

Alpha empoyees may or may respond to questions on the messageboard--if you require a response by them call or email Alpha directly.

In response to your question or "need" about pdf help files the last I heard from prior threads regarding this is that they will not be created...only chm files.

BUT if pdf are really necessary why not use a convertor to create your own?? Not hard and the lengthy time needed for parts of the help file can be done at night as it is somewhat cpu intensive. I used the trial version of ABC Amber CHM to PDF convertor--works well and maintains all links but have to convert one file at a time with the trial version and one non-intrusive line of ad text is placed at the top of each page (no spyware though). Then I used the trial version of Adobe Acrobat to combine them into one single pdf although this would not really be absolutely necessary to do.

For those of you who in the past have mentioned how they really would like to have a hard copy of this help file I really do not think that you realize just how many pages this produces. Almost 20,000 pages!!!! The cost of paper and ink alone would probably be close to $200 !

Anyway, thought I would let you and whoever else know that to get pdf help files is not that hard but does take some time--but if done over the course of a few days at night the overall time actually spent is really about a half hour is all...unless you like watching things download! :-) (like the 38 mb chm file which even at my high speed connection takes a bit of time.)


Mike

drgarytraub
08-05-2007, 07:51 AM
Well, as a long time user, who has been away for a while, I am NOT HAPPY with this pdf situation. What is the LOGIC behind not having printed documentation. I want answers fast, I am not looking to have a full time job of trying to figure out alpha. If there are no printed manuals, then the advertising should change - cannot advertise a product as easy to use with no "easy to use" instructions!

forskare
08-05-2007, 10:59 AM
Yes, you have been away for awhile, welcome back!


Well, as a long time user, who has been away for a while, I am NOT HAPPY with this pdf situation. What is the LOGIC behind not having printed documentation. I want answers fast, I am not looking to have a full time job of trying to figure out alpha. If there are no printed manuals, then the advertising should change - cannot advertise a product as easy to use with no "easy to use" instructions!

Here's my .02 worth. Most users are using a laptop or both a laptop and desktop for development, or at least the trend seems to be towards the laptop. Laptops are to a point where they can be configured as good as a desktop. Mine has 2 Gigs of memory and a 160 GB HD which certainly isn't on the "high end". Given this scenario, why would you want to: A) Carry around an additional 'manual'? B) Waste time looking up the answer/s? C) Mark the pages for flippin' back and forth, etc.; When it is all on the laptop?

For me, a computer search is must faster than thumbing through a couple hundred pages plus I can have multiple instances of the Help file open at the same time. Switching between my app and the help files is much, much faster than reaching for the printed material.

FWIW, kenn

Robin James
08-05-2007, 11:55 AM
Yes Gary, there are a number of people who really want the pdf's back.

See: http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/alphaforum/showthread.php?t=68489

Seems there are those that are happy with just chm files and those who like both chm and pdf.

Still not sure why Alpha can't provide the help files as pdf files as well. I agree "easy to use" implies to me a manual as well as a good chm help file.
Alpha has been (unfairly in my view) critised in past versions for poor help files. But now I think there is truth in that.

Perhaps it is a cost thing for licensing a converted chm for all to use as well as the bandwidth??

Robin

gmeredith17
08-06-2007, 04:24 AM
Ken,

I agree with you up to a point. When you have been using Alpha for a while and might be looking for something specific, like the correct syntax for a function the chm files are a good source. However when you first start using the software it is helpful to be able to flick through the manual(s) to see what it can do. I printed the x basic reference manual (way to many pages and my apologises to the forest that supplied the paper). Doing this I was able to spend some time at home flicking through the pages of each function and although the information isn't fully retained I was able to jot down a few notes of ones that I thought would be useful for my project. This just wouldn't happen with the chm files. For one I spend my whole working day looking at a monitor and do not wish to do the same when I get home. In addition to this I do not particularly enjoy reading large amounts of information from a screen. I am sure that I'm not the only one that feels this way.

Lenny suggested that it would be a few days to weeks for the documentation situation to be resolved. It has know been months. It would be nice to get an update on the situation.

forskare
08-06-2007, 11:11 PM
Hi Geoff,

I too stare at a screen all day, either reading documents, writing documents or entering data. When I come across something I believe will be really handy, I print the subject as well as copy and paste it into a database. I also have a database for the help file nuggets as well as nuggets from the message board.

Lugging around a forest of paper or taking up the space on my desk with it not for me. I bet close to 75% of the manual you printed was either not read, casually glanced at or only viewed once or twice. I don't mean that in a negative sense but I doubt you are no different than I. For that matter, most of what I printed was never picked up again. Another reason not to print it.

What should Alpha do? Your guess is as good as mine. We all have our preferences.

kenn

gmeredith17
08-07-2007, 04:24 AM
Kenn,


Lugging around a forest of paper or taking up the space on my desk with it not for me.

True. It is not ideal for regular transport. I use my printed manuals mainly at home. This is where I spend an hour or so when I have time researching bits and sketching out my ideas. Leaving the wife to watch Eastenders or some other soap. Mind you during the summer months the garden and a cold beer tends to win over my time.


I bet close to 75% of the manual you printed was either not read, casually glanced at or only viewed once or twice. I don't mean that in a negative sense but I doubt you are no different than I. For that matter, most of what I printed was never picked up again. Another reason not to print it.


There are many things I would just not have looked at or new existed without printing the reference manual. Only looking at 75% of the manual once is probably true at this time. However, I only started using Alpha a year ago and as developing databases isn't my main job I only get to work with it infrequently. More during the winter months. I do tend to read things several times whether it is manuals or novels. I'm probably the exception and I am sure you are right that many would only read once. They probably retain the information better than I do. I suspect by the end of December I will have trawled through it at least once more. Sad I know but it beats watching all those reality shows that seem to be constantly on UK television.


What should Alpha do? Your guess is as good as mine. We all have our preferences.

Alpha should provide the pdf files and leave it to the individual designer if they wish to print it.

Geoff

forskare
08-07-2007, 03:00 PM
Hi Geoff,

There is one point I failed to see but noticed in your reply. Some folks are prone to read, read and read. I'd rather read a bit and then try it out. That kind of personality thrives more on the chm than the pdf, especially if a laptop is used and I'm outside in the shade.

You've made some good points and don't mind reading Alpha's novel which just goes to prove, it's "Different strokes for different folks".

It really is a pleasure to dialog with you when we can agree and disagree without taking it negatively. Maybe someday, there will be a soap on TV about the life of an Alphaholic. If that occurs, I know some who would outshine me.

kenn

APFCClyde
08-08-2007, 01:03 PM
If you really want a pdf version of the chm file, download CHMMagic 1.3. It does a MUCH better job of converting chm files than Amber, is much faster & doesn't crash. The only downside is it no longer supported & the author has "disappeared" so you get a red line at the top of each page. Otherwise it is fully functional. I've been using for about a week & converted several very large chms. There is a way to remove the red line since the author is no longer available.

gmeredith17
08-09-2007, 04:03 AM
Its not just the help files but also the tutorials. This information really stood out for me when I was choosing which database to use. I know Alpha are dedicated to supplying help as can be seen with their video tutorials but I cannot understand why they have withdrawn the pdf files (help and tutorials). I understand they are in the process of updating them for V8 but until that has been finished they should allow access to the older ones. Maybe putting them into an archive area of their website if they do not want direct association with V8. They have the files please put them back on the website.

Peter.Greulich
08-09-2007, 10:35 AM
I know Alpha are dedicated to supplying help as can be seen with their video tutorials but I cannot understand why they have withdrawn the pdf files (help and tutorials). I understand they are in the process of updating them for V8 but until that has been finished they should allow access to the older ones. Maybe putting them into an archive area of their website if they do not want direct association with V8. They have the files please put them back on the website.

This issue drives me to distraction. You are absolutely correct. The videos are great, but at the same time they are not a substitute for written material. Videos are linear, you have to start at the beginning and sit through the whole thing. Written material is accessible throughout. Updating "outdated" material is fine. But you don't pull the product off the shelf until you have the replacement ready! Like duhhhh! But it doesn't matter what we say. We're just the stupid paying customers. What do we know? Nothing apparently. If they cared a wit about our frustration, they would put the material they pulled back on the shelf. But, Alpha is not listening to us, and that is not a good sign. Period.