[ic] Taking a Poll

cfm@maine.com cfm@maine.com
Sun, 15 Apr 2001 11:26:52 -0400

On Sun, Apr 15, 2001 at 01:32:59AM -0700, Thomas Johnson wrote:
> With all this discussion of the pros and cons of IC, I have to say that
> far and away my number one problem with IC is the docs. Looking up tags
> and seeing "No description" has to be one of the most frustrating
> encounters I've had with a language.
> So my question is this: If my company set up some sort of resource
> (maybe even just a WikiWeb?) with the intention of facilitating more
> thorough IC documentation, would more than just a couple people here
> contribute? For example, some longtime users outside of the core
> developers seem to know which tags were present in MV and how they've
> changed; it would be nice to collect all this info in a more organized
> way than on the mailing list.

While I'd agree that the documentation is sometimes "dense", that
is not my view of the "real problem".

The real problem is that ic is TOO EASY to use.  Take for example
the makecat installer.  That makecat works as well as it does 
for such a variety of systems is amazing.  Likewise RPMs and the 
demos.  It is entirely possible for someone to get a store up 
and running and know next to nothing about how to modify it.  

That is just fine for a lot of people; the point is to get the 
store running.  I'm not suggesting it be more difficult; in fact
there ought to be more "cookbook" demos for this sort of user.
No perl, next to no system knowledge, no systematic understanding 
of debugging or exploring code.  Turn off the logs like IBM does
on those back office AIX boxes.  That might mean **reducing** 
the range of supported systems for these cookbook installs; they
would be out of the box competition for zShops or Yahoo! stores.
People running cookbook stores should find what they need in
their cookbook manuals.  "No description" would be a valid bug,
but only for cookbook installs.

If, however, you want to start modifying the basics, or you are 
a webmaster or developer and you are selling your services to 
others at the minimum you need to know how to research code, how 
to debug it, and how to compare the code you see to the docs.
If such a user gets "No description" while searching the docs, 
he should KNOW he is not using the right tool(s) or the right scope
and that it is not a bug.  I don't think there is any technological 
solution to that.


> Thoughts? Comments?
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> Interchange-users@lists.akopia.com
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Christopher F. Miller, Publisher                             cfm@maine.com
MaineStreet Communications, Inc         208 Portland Road, Gray, ME  04039
1.207.657.5078                                       http://www.maine.com/
Content management, electronic commerce, internet integration, Debian linux