Why dont open online manuals to everybody?

Why dont open online manuals to everybody?

Post by Yuejun To » Sat, 17 Jun 1995 04:00:00



Hi,

I have a question about the OpenVMS' online manual on net. Why
don't open it to everybody? The only reason I can figure out is that
Digital want to sell it. I think that is wrong, the company should
try to sell their system while not the manuals, the manuals should
be the ads of the system. If more people know the system, I believe
there will be more people to buy the system. Then more software, more
people know and more people buy. If you sell one more system,
I don't know that will correspond to how many copies of manuals.  

Although several very kind people in this group told me that the
"HELP" is all I need, I think the manuals might be very helpful
for a new user, and he/she can spend several days to go through them
and pick up quickly.

For example, from the "Help" you will not know
the difference between "symbol" and "logical", how to use "DCL".
When I first use "EDIT", I was only in line mode, and got prompt "*C".
I didn't know how to write the "EDTINI.EDT" file. For a programmer,
more details about the library and functions are needed.

I am really new to VMS, if I said anything wrong, forgive me.

eugene

 
 
 

Why dont open online manuals to everybody?

Post by Arne Vajhoe » Sun, 18 Jun 1995 04:00:00


Quote:> I have a question about the OpenVMS' online manual on net. Why
> don't open it to everybody?

There are manuals available on the net for everyone !

Quote:> Although several very kind people in this group told me that the
> "HELP" is all I need, I think the manuals might be very helpful
> for a new user, and he/she can spend several days to go through them
> and pick up quickly.

It is my experience (and I am sure many VMS'ers share them), that the
best way is:
  - start by reading HELP
  - then when you need more detailed info, start reading manuals

Quote:> For example, from the "Help" you will not know
> the difference between "symbol" and "logical", how to use "DCL".

$ HELP HINT and subtopics should give a good start !

Quote:> When I first use "EDIT", I was only in line mode, and got prompt "*C".
> I didn't know how to write the "EDTINI.EDT" file.

The command SET MODE CHANGE at the * prompt will actually do it !

And the HELP command works fine at the * prompt too !

OK - the HELP inside EDT is horrible - the best thing to sauy about it
is that the manual is even worse !!!!

Quote:>                                                   For a programmer,
> more details about the library and functions are needed.

Both RTL routines and system services are well-documented in online-help !

(the only thing you will miss are the detailed item-code with explanation
for the SYS$GETxxI(W) services)

Also worth noting that the utility routines are missing.

But now we are well beyond the beginner level !!!!

                                                          Arne

Arne Vajh?j                             local DECNET:  KO::ARNE
Computer Department                     PSI:           PSI%238310013040::ARNE

                WWW URL: http://www.hhs.dk/~arne/arne.html

 
 
 

Why dont open online manuals to everybody?

Post by Richard Seymo » Thu, 22 Jun 1995 04:00:00



>I have a question about the OpenVMS' online manual on net. Why
>don't open it to everybody? The only reason I can figure out is that
>Digital want to sell it. I think that is wrong, the company should
>try to sell their system while not the manuals, the manuals should
>be the ads of the system.

Good manuals cost a -lot- of time and money to create.
Digital (and every other computer vendor i know of) charges money for
those manuals in part to recoup their investment.  
Digital is -not- alone in charging:  my HP-Unix manuals cost over $1500.--
 more than my VMS documentation.  And were -far- harder to order ("you want
 *paper*?")
Most manufacturers also offer their manuals on CDrom... digital's costs
 -less- than the paper manuals.

Quote:>If more people know the system, I believe
>there will be more people to buy the system. Then more software, more
>people know and more people buy. If you sell one more system,
>I don't know that will correspond to how many copies of manuals.  

Most sites will not buy the manuals until they buy the systems.
Some -will- buy the manuals first, if they are investigating a major
 conversion effort between their current system and the new one.  But
 by the time they -buy- the new computer, the manuals will be (slightly?)
 obsolete...

Quote:>Although several very kind people in this group told me that the
>"HELP" is all I need, I think the manuals might be very helpful
>for a new user, and he/she can spend several days to go through them
>and pick up quickly.

You are correct... HELP is -not- enough to do everything you can think of.
The manuals have additional examples, and (usually) present the information
in a progressive form: first "how to log on", then "how files exist",
 then "how to find a file", then "how to make a file", then "how to edit a
 file"...etc.
HELP sort-of holds you in the air above all possible topics and requires
 that -you- choose (often without adequate background knowledge) which
 topic to explore. And the order in which you explore them.

Quote:>For example, from the "Help" you will not know
>the difference between "symbol" and "logical", how to use "DCL".

Some of the above can be gleaned from examples (in often obscure places),
 but the VMS HELP system was written with the idea that the documentation
 set was available to you -somewhere-.

Quote:>When I first use "EDIT", I was only in line mode, and got prompt "*C".

Someone else suggested SET MODE CHANGE... i prefer <esc>c<return>.

Quote:>I didn't know how to write the "EDTINI.EDT" file. For a programmer,
>more details about the library and functions are needed.

Few of my users have ever -touched- writing an EDTINI.EDT file.

Quote:> For a programmer, more details about the library and functions are needed.

i've always considered HELP to be a "memory jogger" for argument-order,
or a "basic introduction" to whatever i'm trying to do.  I rely on manuals
to fill in the background, the logical structure and provide well-worked
examples (and simultaneous multi-page access).  I buy manuals.
Fast lookup CDrom systems help (DECbookreader -really- lags compared to HP's),
but paper volumes still fit my work patterns better (they're easier to read
 while standing in checkout queues, etc.)
--dick