Subject Re: OT: Help files help
--- In IBObjects@y..., Helen Borrie <helebor@w...> wrote:

> I would love to be in the position of being able to get this
> along. It will take 9 months' full-time writing to do it. I don't
> the means to stop other work and dedicate my time to the book. I
doubt I
> shall ever be in a position to do that.

> This is to say, I have a book plan (the combined work of many) and
> development plan. I have contributors, I have translators. What I
> not is money to pay the rent whilst I write it.

And therein lies the crunch! I, like Christian (and I imagine many
others), would be happy to pay in advance for your book (being fully
aware of your knowledge and commitment), but I fear you still may not
earn enough to make it worth your while, given the relatively small
size of the IBO community. Have you done the sums to determine the
breakeven point above which you could actually afford to eat again? ;)
Or have you considered inviting possible purchasers to pre-register
their interest with a deposit, to determine the real amount of

> >With regard to the IBO help files and their many brief/cryptic/non-
> >existent explanations, I wonder if we couldn't all be adding to
> >via a web-based (IB?) database, as we find and solve various
> >problems. This could relieve some of the pressure on the main
> >responders to this list, provide a single(?) point of reference for
> >many IBO queries, as well as let the rest of us feel we were able
> >contribute in some small way. Is this possible? (It's beyond me, I
> >might add :-) )
> That is already happening. The FAQ on the IBO website is one part
of it
> (only about a third of the current FAQ entries are there yet) and
> Geoff Worboys, others and I are steadily building up a library of
tech info
> sheets to address broader topics than can be handled in an FAQ
item. We
> would welcome (a) wish lists for specific topics and (b) new demo
> projects. We still have plenty of holes to fill but it would be
> if any of you believed Jason wasn't doing anything about

> It's on the Agenda to review the component help over the
> months. YOU can help us to prioritise this mammoth task by
> sections you most want clarified. I'm the one who is collating
stuff and
> writing it up; and I'm also developing "IBOBase" for storing all
> documentation, wish lists, etc.

But this is what I feel somewhat guilty about. This type of project
will always be limited by the amount of time that a small number of
people are able to devote to it. I believe there are about 600
members of this list, most of whom are probably keeping their own
personal help notations in some form or another, as I am. Is there
perhaps a way that this can be automated to allow the documentation
to grow as fast as people are willing to contribute? Contributions
could be automatically vetted by others who have a contrary view, so
that incorrect information shouldn't be in place for very long. Or do
you think I am under-estimating the role that human nature would play
in this?

I've fallen in love with this database rubbish, after years of
microcontroller assembler programming, but I can't help but be struck
by the apparent irony of hundreds (thousands?) of developers
producing programs designed to retrieve and present information
effectively, when our own internal information systems seem to be
possibly lacking (though I accept this could just be my ignorance
talking, hence the reason for this thread, to find out if there are
better ways).

As always Helen, I am amazed and grateful for the volume of your
replies (even if I can't always keep up with you) :-)

Steve Beames