Update help (more) and new tutorials

Jul 5, 2018
1
0
#1
Hi,

this is my first post, here is my suggestion. For a long time I've been coming to see the site and hoping that new documentation in the form of help files and simple tutorials will be in place. I read in one of your documents that there would be new tutorials coming soon however that was some time ago and they don't appear to be any new ones. I'm not a geek so when I look at some of the documentation I find it somewhat perplexing. I can give you an example - most people have a lot of duplication of files and folders especially music folders but they may also have documents and so forth so I thought I would look at your new deDupe command the first thing I note is that it mentions a range I now have to go to another part of the documentation to find out what that is I assume it's a set of files or folders but I'm not sure how to input them, I then see that effectively I can just put in deDupe then a filename followed by a directory and I have an option if I want to change a duplicated file to be symlinked to the first file that it found. In the documentation it also mentions an option of /S being linked to a d setting which appears to be an option of /N I guess the capital N is substituted by a d but then only if /S is used.
I note that /S hasn't been defined I assume it means search what was defined was /Sn which is to search subdirectories there is mention of s/[n] so shouldn't it have been like that in the line above? I only want to be able to search through a given directory and find duplicates of anything, however it seems that I have to specify a particular file. Maybe I'm stupid I'm not a geek I believe that your product could be better if the documentation could be improved (I know it has had a recent make over) and in particular some simple video tutorials of using common commands hi-lighting their use and pointing out common scenarios where certain options may be helpful or necessary. It would also be nice for an explanation as to not just how to use particular option but why you should use it in this particular context over some other option. It needs to be written in a way a non geek can comprehend.
 
#2
I've always liked referencing the SS64.org site.

Detailed information is available for each command, along with examples, gotcha's, tips and tricks.

Example: For /F

Mind you, the TCMD help for FOR is quite extensive also.

I downloaded the site back in 2016, and made a .CHM help file. As the site is always being updated, I supposed I should download the site again, and make an updated .CHM file.

It would be great if the TCMD Help file was designed similar to SS64.

Joe
 

rconn

Administrator
Staff member
May 14, 2008
10,555
97
#3
The issue with (greatly) expanding the help is its poor cost/benefit ratio. The current help is already around 1,400 pages (!) - expanding that to the extent requested raises some concerns for me.

1) Writing this much new help would require a *lot* of time, which means forgoing at least one, probably two major updates.
2) Most of the users rarely look at the help -- except to look up an obscure feature and then grumble that there isn't a tutorial on how to use it.
3) Everybody says they want more help, but NOBODY is going to pay for an update with lots of new help & no new features.
4) So I'll be working for free for a year or two - which decreases the likelihood that there would ever be a new feature version.

But if enough users sign up for Extended Support solely so they can get an expanded help file, it's something I'd consider.
 
Oct 18, 2009
178
7
#4
How about something like this -- (just "something quick off the top of my head". I haven't thought this through in detail.)

Assign each help entry a reference number. Then have some way to link to an "Additional Help Information" forum based on the reference number. And there users could add information, such as sample code.

So let's say the DIR command is ref 04295. I click "Additional Help Info" and it links to the Additional Help forum and sets up a search for all entries where the topic begins with 04295. Entering a new post topic would require beginning with a reference number, just like the How To options are available.
 
Oct 18, 2009
178
7
#5
Related to that, if there is a way to track how many searches there are for the different reference numbers, that would help showing which ones do need the built-in Help expanded. Most likely there would be 20-50 commands, variables, etc., that get the vast majority of requests.
 
#6
Maybe instead of adding samples and tutorials to the help file, another option can be explored.

I use VbsEdit, which is a VBScript Editor with Debugger.

A menu option is Samples, from which you select a VBScript, it pastes into a new edit screen, which you can then run, compile to an .EXE, edit, etc.

These are all of the Sample Scripts that are included with VbsEdit.

Note also that VbsEdit has a Snippet menu, in which you can use existing snippets, and add your own snippets of code.

Maybe the TCC Debugger and CMDebug could be made to work like the VbsEdit program, and provide paste-and-go .BTM example code just like VbsEdit does.

Joe
 

rconn

Administrator
Staff member
May 14, 2008
10,555
97
#7
How about something like this -- (just "something quick off the top of my head". I haven't thought this through in detail.)

Assign each help entry a reference number. Then have some way to link to an "Additional Help Information" forum based on the reference number. And there users could add information, such as sample code.

So let's say the DIR command is ref 04295. I click "Additional Help Info" and it links to the Additional Help forum and sets up a search for all entries where the topic begins with 04295. Entering a new post topic would require beginning with a reference number, just like the How To options are available.
That cannot be done with the HTML help (TCMD.chm), which is a Microsoft app.

It can be done with the web help -- and several years ago I did that. But over the course of 3-4 years, there were only a handful (< 10) submissions from users with additional info / comments / corrections. So I dropped it.

I think the only way to make something like that work would be to make everybody use the same help file, which means forcing everyone to go to the web help (Take Command / TCC Help v. 23). I suspect that won't be a popular move.
 
#8
Speaking of the web help ...

I've been using it for about a week. If my browser is running (usually is) the web help is as fast as the CHM. But there are a couple of things I miss.

1. An automatic left-hand frame with TOC, Index (my fav), or Search (which, perhaps, remembered in a cookie)

2. A keyword text entry box to expedite going somewhere in the keyword index.
 
Oct 18, 2009
178
7
#9
It can be done with the web help -- and several years ago I did that. But over the course of 3-4 years, there were only a handful (< 10) submissions from users with additional info / comments / corrections. So I dropped it.

I think the only way to make something like that work would be to make everybody use the same help file, which means forcing everyone to go to the web help (Take Command / TCC Help v. 23). I suspect that won't be a popular move.
Okay, thanks. If it's not going to actually be used, it's a waste of everyone's time--not only yours programming, but also the customers' "Let's see if there's something on-line. ... Nope ... again ... I don't know why I even waste time looking on-line, since I never find anything additional."

Regarding "must go to the Web", I definitely hate that. It's one of my major complaints about MS Office.