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Do we have to wait for a shooting star?!

Thread began 1/20/2010 5:11 am by tone397472 | Last modified 9/11/2011 7:09 pm by tone397472 | 7952 views | 49 replies


Hi Tone,

I contributed to the thread you started because I did think you had a very important point to make, and I agreed with it in principle. But I think that there is one very important difference between us. Also, I do think it happens to be true that the WebAssist documentation team is observing this thread, but they are only likely to do anything constructive if it becomes apparent that there is something they can actually do that they have not already done. And ... when you say this ...

Originally Said By: tone397472
  Thanks for pointing that out! I will look in to that.  

I think it just gives an excuse to the WebAssist people who don't actually want to do anything further, or who say that they are doing enough.

Originally Said By: carlene
  Here's a specific that might be helpful. With the Contact form Solution Pack you get some very, very helpful how-tos. I was able to use these to integrate Universal email and the contact form solution pack as well as the Validation Toolkit into my site.  

I completely agree with Carlene about the usefulness of that particular set of how-tos, and I really do think that the criticisms you are making lose some of their bite when you then turn around and admit that you haven't actually worked through them or tried them. I do think Carlene's point is valid, which is that they start to give you the idea of what you are asking for, which is some knowledge of how these different products integrate with each other.

Originally Said By: carlene
  Why aren't there such in-depth documents with PowerStore 3 with specifics on customization and perhaps an explaination of the database structure? There also is a great database map with the Database Starter Kit. Couldn't we get one for PowerStore3?  

And here is where I think that Carlene is also missing a little bit of the point, which is that the true usefulness of these tools comes from the fact that ... they are a toolkit.

PowerStore is a bunch of different tools brought together to achieve a particular purpose, as is the Contact Form Solution pack. So what is first required is an ability to envision a particular purpose you have in mind, and then to use the tools to achieve them.

Which is exactly where things become circular. You can't imagine what the tools can do if you don't use them, and you can't use them if you can't imagine what they can do. Which is again where I found the Contact Solution in particular so helpful. There, you had a very specific purpose you were trying to achieve, and on the way to achieving that, you had to do quite a few things which improved your skills in both PHP and Dreamweaver.

Originally Said By: carlene
  What's odd is the PowerStore 3 is such a more complicated product, and yet the documentation seems to be much less specific than with the other products. Could we have a document on how to use eCart to customize the shopping cart with PowerStore - or how to customize the automatic emails that are sent with Universal Email - or how to change the PowerStore template code with Dreamweaver, etc...  

And ... what you are in fact asking for here, Carlene, is to improve your skills in PHP and Dreamweaver. Whatever kind of customization you want in PowerStore, it is going to involve the use of some very basic PHP and Dreamweaver skills.

That is why I am taking the approach that I am. I believe that it would greatly profit WebAssist to look at their products, examine the code that it is outputting, and come up with a series of "ROADMAPS" that have the overall intent of giving people the skill set they need to make the best use of these products, in that the skill set is very basic things like how to query and create a recordset. I have for example seen a thread in which someone is asking how to implement a series of Add To Cart buttons dynamically from a database of his products. I have not answered that thread because I do now know that I can do it if I have to by kludging around, but I don't have the descriptive skill set to describe it for that individual accurately. However, I have now learned enough from messing around -- in a completely unstructured way -- with these products to be able to do that if I have to. I have for example just set up a shopping cart page that allows people to come to my web site and enroll as partners which then allows them to offer a 10% discount on my products, or else a 5% discount with freebies that they get at specific breakpoints. Their customers then also have two options to get those discounts. They can click a link in which case I use a 'GET' and compare the ID to my database of partners and then apply the discount ... or else they can just put the relevant code in in an instantiate box on my product pages, and get the discount that way. It may not be particularly exciting as a use of PHP, but 18 months ago I simply COULD NOT have done that, and the fact that I can now do it is a testament to the learning potential of these products.

I do completely agree, however, with both Tone and Carlene about one important thing. These products are extremely opaque and hard to grasp both individually and together, and WebAssist would considerably increase its bottom line, and also the mystique in its clientele, if it did something constructive in this improved documentation line, even though we are all differing on exactly how that should be implemented.

My position is simply that the key lies in trying to familiariaze people not so much with these products, as in the background PHP and so forth skills that they draw on, but explicitly using these products to get those messages across.

I keep on beating the same old drum, but that's life, isn't it!!!

You all stay well, now.

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