Permissions to read topics within the 2.0-section

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Re: Permissions to read topics within the 2.0-section

Postby Gil Fleming » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:53 pm

Pete Tabord wrote:It isn't up to us to compel people to build complex apps if they don't need to. Which is what you appear to suggest.


Pete, I didn't suggest anything of the sort. My point is that ffenics has the opportunity to be the only RDBMS package offering that tricky balance of rapid development with heavy-hitting transactional/procedural power AND an elegant mechanism for adding functionality whenever it's needed. Ffenics could be a well-known, well used package, instead of a little-known speciality app. Most ffenics users will be Dataease converts. There are only two ways you can grow:

1. Get new customers
2. Sell more to existing customers

Right now, option 1 would be the easier and faster option, via elf and/or functionality releases.
Option 2 requires a more polished package, with a user manual, a training/support function for ALL levels of user and some useful apps, rather than the appalling ones you offer for download on your website. The Inventory Management app has been 'coming soon' for how long? 4 years? more?

I think ffenics is a fab tool, but it could be made so so much better.
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Re: Permissions to read topics within the 2.0-section

Postby Graham Smith » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:42 pm

Pete Tabord wrote:The problem is, I think, a generational thing, and I'm as much to blame as anyone. I want to know the whys and wherefores of how things work and I therefore explain in detail, as do several of you who try to help. But the younger folks mostly don't want that, they just want to know which button to press. They are used to text messages and twitter and everything being very concise.

This has gotten pretty far off topic, but...

What you say is true but it's not all that new. At PLM, we ran a forum, had a newsletter, gave classes, ran seminars*, etc. For the large part the people who were most active were those who had the most complex requirements and had the deepest background and understanding of "how things worked" (a phrase I am rather fond of).

There were also some people who were trying to do complex things that didn't understand how things worked and had no interest in learning. They would come to the forum and ask how to do something and invariably they would be met with questions that went beyond their understanding and would become frustrated with the community. If they asked how to set up a relationship that is actually a many-to-many, then they got a lesson in relational theory because there's no simple answer to the question. If that makes the forum seem a bit forbidding, then the person needs to understand that they are dealing with a very sophisticated product - this isn't paint by the numbers.

Trying to develop a relational database without understanding the basics of relational theory is possible, but it is ultimate a futile endeavor because you will reach a point where your lack of understanding becomes a significant hindrance. We've seen that over and over and over again and tried to tell people that quick fixes don't work.

All that aside, there is still room in the market for a RAD tool being used by people who don't understand what a RAD tool or a RDBMS is. They will be ultimately limited in what they can do with it and may, in fact, create something that is poorly designed and self-limiting, but that's not to say it won't be of any use to them.

__________
*We even brought in Fabian Pascal (look him up) for a seminar we did in Wash DC in the 90's. He was talking over the heads of 90% of the people there but they listened and learned what they could. Interestingly, he considered DataEase (and by extension Ffenics) to be the one database tool on the market that best embodied relational theory. That was saying something because this was a the height of the desktop DBMS market.
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Re: Permissions to read topics within the 2.0-section

Postby Pete Tabord » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:32 pm

It's not a problem confined to Ffenics either. a Harley Sportster forum I frequent is drying up because the youngsters mostly don't fix or tweak their bikes themselves. The most they do is bolt on some accessories.

We had a discussion on this sort of subject just last week and discovered that virtually everyone that still posts there is in their 60's or even 70's.
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Re: Permissions to read topics within the 2.0-section

Postby Gil Fleming » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:52 pm

Trying to develop a relational database without understanding the basics of relational theory is possible, but it is ultimate a futile endeavor because you will reach a point where your lack of understanding becomes a significant hindrance. We've seen that over and over and over again and tried to tell people that quick fixes don't work.


If you try to get people to use your product by coming at it from the point of Relational Theory, you'll certainly never grow the product. Business users won't buy ffenics because they want to become familiar with relational theory - they WILL buy it because they can ultimately run more efficiently and save money, whether that is through the elimination of errors (ff is great for automatically generating unique serialised numbers - perfect for just about every aspect of an ISO9001 or ISO14001 system.), traceability (ditto), personnel reduction (a well written app can de-skill parts of an operation, enabling one person to fulfil multiple functions), speed (ff can generate fully formatted, consistent documents as print or PDF and can email the latter automatically to customers/suppliers etc) and image (modern companies don't want to be seen as still using carbon paper, card index files and such like). Large and small business alike can benefit from a large app or a whole series of small apps or modules which may or may not be relational. The key is selling the concept that ffenics produces solutions. The half-hearted apps on the ff website do the exact opposite. They are not intuitive, they are dull to look at and they are more likely to kill off anyone who looks at them than convince them that ffenics is for them. The lack of a manual puts ff down in the basement in terms of product image (saying it's a big job and we don't have time simply doesn't wash) Sometimes, a quick fix can convince a decision maker that the software is capable of bigger and more mission critical work.
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Re: Permissions to read topics within the 2.0-section

Postby Graham Smith » Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:48 pm

Gil Fleming wrote:The lack of a manual puts ff down in the basement in terms of product image

I'm assuming you mean an online manual that covers more than the help files - that's not a new debate and I tend to agree. BUT... Online manuals tend to be a lot like that manual that comes with your car. It tells you where the steering wheel and brakes are, things like that, but doesn't teach you to drive.

This discussion is at least15 years old. I spent a hell of a lot of (unpaid) time working on a series of "Understanding DfW" papers that covered some of the basics and some not so basic things. We offered them for free, just email and ask. Very few people were interested. Several people have done things like this, including printed books, PDF's, video tutorials, but the reception has been tepid. There were some resources like this for Ffenics but I'm not sure if they are still there.

Yes, there are a lot of things that could be written up. So many that trying to find a starting place is a job in itself. The basic stuff is easy - building forms, relating tables, doing lookups, etc. But that's usually not what people come looking for. They come in and ask a question like, "Which is better for taking out an appendix, a can opener or a cork screw?" The first response is going to be, "Ummmm... could you give a bit more information? Just exactly what are you trying to do?"

That's a bit over the top, but I've seen numerous posts in numerous forums where people asked a how-to question that indicated they were probably in way over their head and going down a dangerous path. As a responsible individual, I have to decide if I am going to just say, "A can opener usually works best." or if I am going to try and get some more information and maybe find that a better answer is, "Call 911!"
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