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Re: saving a URL/newbie rant (libwww)

From: Gregory Holmberg <holmberg@frame.com>
Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 13:59:06 -0700
Message-Id: <9605221359.ZM3518@lotus>
To: Sacha <sacha@clip.dia.fi.upm.es>, www-lib@w3.org
On May 22,  7:25pm, Sacha wrote:
> Ok. It is clear that I haven't really understood what on earth is going
> on. I think the real problem is that I haven't really grasped most of
> what comes in the documentation, because it lacks a really good
> from-the-top intro for clueless-people-with-no-knowledge-of-anything.
>
> When I started using the lib I tried to read the documentation to figure
> out how to get going, but I found that basically it said "Play with the
> examples", then went off into the deep end describing bits of the
> architecture, then left me to pore through the code trying to figure out
> what the hell was going on.
>
> I don't know if I'm the only one who feels this way, ...

My experience has been similar.  I have found this software to be
very difficult to use.  It is missing the three most important things
needed for a usable system:

1. Accurate, complete, usable documentation.

2. Testing

3. Support

The documentation is only about half finished and what is there is
often inaccurate or out of date.  Plus, of course, HTML is a completely
inappropriate format for long documents--how about using a real
documentation system, guys?  You know--page numbers, running headers,
table of contents, and index, etc.  FrameMaker would be fine...

As for testing, it appears there is none at all.  And, by the way,
testing by the authors doesn't count.  I've tried that and it doesn't
work.  I'm talking about automated testing done by a separate department.

As for support, Henrik tries, but he is way overworked.  I have sent
in bug reports with complete Purify traces and never even gotten an
acknowledgement.  It is not an efficient use of time or money when
developers do support.

In summary, the WWW Consortium is run like a university research
project, not like a professional software organization.  This is a
very sad state of affairs, since they seem unable to properly
deliver and support their own code.  The root of the problem is
they are overworking expensive resources like Henrik when they
should be hiring doc, QA and tech support people.

Unfortunately, I can't really offer constructive suggestions for
this problem since I'm not privy to the internal workings and
budget of the Consortium.  All I can say is they are not serving
their customers very well.  Overall I'd have to give them a 'D'.
I only wish I had an alternative other than writing this stuff
from scratch myself.
Received on Wednesday, 22 May 1996 16:54:19 GMT

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