Doug I also feel your pain many times over. I have had very similar experiences across most WA extensions and solution packs. Unfortunately I invested quite a bit before realizing what I was getting into and I can't just walk away, or give up hope things will improve dramatically in some key areas, particularly the support documentation. Still the WA marketing promotes the extensions as pretty much out of the box up and running and that is routinely not my experience time and again. To be honest, I am on the lower end of the experience spectrum in terms of being able to troubleshoot code when things go wrong. However, I continue to work on that, have some experience, and not dumb either.
Yes Jason and the others are there to answer questions (during the week anyway but forget about weekend support which is usually when I really need it). That does not excuse the disconnect between the marketing campaign and the reality, though. Nor should one have to rely on the forums as a substitute for inadequate documentation. The forums do have an important role for more immediate and individual help and because the user guides can't possibly cover everything. What I don't see is WA even using the wealth of real-world feedback from the users in these forums to regularly update and improve the user guides (especially) and Q&As, so more newer customers for the extension don't run into the same things or will know how to start working in on a resolution. Getting the supporting documentation right in the beginning and periodically updating them as THE central reference for users I think is so critical to the value of these products to the customer and reflecting a credible company. Surely WA is big enough to have people focused only on this aspect of quality control. The alternative is frustration and disillusionment in the customer base when things repeatedly go wrong and the user simply can't get it fixed in some timely way. I mean timely in my perception, even though yes the forums are here and tech support reasonably good at getting back. I just don't want to have to use the forums at all if often unnecessary should the documentation be more robust. Despite some nice improvements by WA in 2010 in the area of support documentation, videos, and website organization, I believe the user guides and related docs are still by and large the most important thing for me and terribly behind and out of touch with anyone except the most experienced web designers. Again my experience level anyway which is modest, but I wouldn't characterize as newbie either. Heck, I've even offered in the past to help with this no strings attached simply out of desperation if nothing else, and in hopes WA started 'getting' it from a more basic user experience and need.
Right now despite owning many WA DW extensions and solutions, the disappointing truth is I have come to rarely use them due to the difficulties and time involved trying to get them to play nicely. The REAL sad truth is that occasionally I still buy something (usually an upgrade) hoping things have improved with the products and their user-friendliness, like some weird toxic relationship. Or every once in awhile I take another run at one I already have, only to run into yet another unresolvable issue. At that point I drop my attempt yet again (usually), or end up back at the forums, or both. Too much time and energy expended either way. At some point I won't keep coming back.
I think there are many relevant and valuable products, which is why I have invested in them. But only if they are working as marketed, and if they're not that I'm at least reasonably confident I can go to a detailed and helpful user guide to troubleshoot things with the forum as primarily a last-resort backup. Sorry Jason et al., I'm not a very vindictive person by nature or targeting any one individual personally. My monetary investment and level of frustration on this topic has simply prompted me to speak up occasionally. I continue to have great hopes for WA, and this is a relatively straightforward fix with the right commitment and focus.
I apologize for going so on about this before I knew it, and hijacking your thread Doug! I happened to make yet another go at Form Builder and ran into a problem and checked some of the latest posts including yours, which along with Sally's reply clearly struck a chord. Obviously I'm pretty passionate in my frustration and in my hopes yet for WA and continued improvements in this area. I am jaded though seeing attempts at improvements that still fall so woefully short. I realize this is my experience and many others may feel differently. By all means provide a counterpoint and more balanced message for the readers and in fairness to WA. This is from the heart and I am trying to be constructive. Hopefully it wasn't more time ill-spent!