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#1 Simon Edmondson

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 02:40 AM

Thriving discussion going on about the desirability of a more comprehensive and well organised help system following some discussion as to the usefulness of the Tech ref book Personally, I didn't know that there was a Wiki for AM until it was mentioned in the other thread. I prefer physical books to reading off screen but thats possibly my age. A wiki that could link to already established help files and tutorials, from within the program interface would be ideal and make life much easier and productive. Two pennies simon
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#2 Darkwing

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:31 AM

In the last thread someone mentioned about the moment a book is printed, it's already out of date. This is true to a degree, but AM has pretty much remained the same at the core since V13 at least. Sure we get some new features, but most of it remains relatively the same. Thus why I can still use Dave Roger's book even though it's like 6 years old. The benefit of having a book (or at least the option of having one) is that while you're working, you can have it open next to your computer and reference from there. Online stuff or anything on the computer you have to switch over from AM and read your source there. Benefit of online though is quick search and reference and it can always be kept up to date. Personally I'd be in favour of having the choice of either or, but then again, books are pricey to print.

#3 Rodney

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 07:26 AM

Thanks for starting the new topic Simon.

I won't try to restate what others have brought to the fore with one exception. David Simmons stated that he's done stating his case so I'll put what I think to be his desire here in this post. (David, correct me where I go wrong)

David (itsjustme) Simmons, rigger, modeler and soon to be animator extraordinaire, requests all A:M Users utilize the A:M wiki.
Please do as he suggests so all may enjoy full documentation of Animation:Master.


Personally, I didn't know that there was a Wiki for AM until it was mentioned in the other thread.


One problem with that may be where we've got the wiki identified as "The A:M FAQ". I understand it to be both.
Perhaps it may not be immediately clear that the FAQ is a wiki?
Perhaps you didn't realize there was a FAQ?
(A partial fix may be to adjust the name of link to the A:M Wiki/FAQ.
You have perused all the subforum links on the front page of thi forum right?

http://www.hash.com/...dex.php?act=idx
http://www.hash.com/...php?showforum=1

I know you must not have used the FAQ because you've stated you didn't even know the wiki existed.



A few questions out the gate for this discussion (based on your post):

the desirability of a more comprehensive and well organised help system


How will the creators and maintainers of A/W/M (W/A/M?) determine the level of desirability?
How do they keep a finger on its pulse to periodically make sure they are on course?
What criteria should we follow in comprehensiveness and organization (should we just 'go with the flow)?

Discussion as to the usefulness of the Tech ref book


It's funny you should mention user usefulness... Rightly or wrongly I equate that with the user experience (UX).

One problem may be that we've got the wiki identified here in the forum as the "A:M FAQ".
It may not be immediately clear that this is a wiki?

But there are two usage cases I wish you would consider:

1) Usability (The availability and thoroughness of the reference)
2) Use (Whether or not, and how the reference will be used)

Usage Cases are exactly what drove Martin Hash and his crew to produce the current references.
They worked as well as they do because they were produced after examining the use driven facts.
These should be reestablished in order to better inform the creators and maintainers of new references.
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#4 Darkwing

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:06 AM

Perhaps the link could also be added at the top of the forum as a button? Also, I had a doozy of a time logging into the wiki (always do I find). It worked eventually though! Does the wiki support images?

#5 Rodney

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:16 AM

In the last thread someone mentioned about the moment a book is printed, it's already out of date. This is true to a degree, but


This is a fact. While not all information is out of date the reference itself is considered out of date the moment anything changes or becomes obsolete in that reference.

AM has pretty much remained the same at the core since V13 at least.


I'm trying to work the qualifiers out of my responses and perhaps we can work on yours too.
'Pretty much remained the sam' is not very useful to us.

It is interesting to note that a core complain of the references (TaoA:M video primarily because they are perhaps the most used) has been that the video has slight difference from the current interface in A:M. Folks get stuck with those because they see the reference and get confused.

I submit this is a case for having fewer references rather than more. (I don't like that and wish it weren't true but recognize the truth in it)
The irony being that if the student hadn't seen the graphic they would likely have found the right place in the interface and moved on.
Having seen an image of what the interface looks like in the (outdated) reference they get stuck trying to find that exact correlation in the interface in the real world.

we get some new features


Some... there is the qualitative term.
No one knows how many features A:M has and I suspect we may never fully know.
This is especially true as we can, as users, create our own feature sets that derive from the features the programmers produced.

Herein lies another issues. What to do with the documentation of plugins?
Someone may have the time to create a nifty new plugin but not the time to document it.
Should that programmer wait to release the plugin until documentation is in hand? I'll answer for everyone with an emphatic, "No!"
So who will document the plugin? Volunteers raise your hand high please.
Thank you!

We are very fortunate to have Steffen extending A:M through his programming prowess but what should he devote his time to? I can answer that for everyone by saying, "Anything Steffen wants to set his mind to."

but most of (A:M) remains relatively the same. Thus why I can still use Dave Roger's book even though it's like 6 years old. The benefit of having a book (or at least the option of having one) is that while you're working, you can have it open next to your computer and reference from there. Online stuff or anything on the computer you have to switch over from AM and read your source there. Benefit of online though is quick search and reference and it can always be kept up to date. Personally I'd be in favour of having the choice of either or, but then again, books are pricey to print.


Regarding the pros and cons of digital versus physical books, this discussion has been done to death and we can't even get A:M Users to agree on that.
Regardless of whether a user prefers a printed or an electronic reference the only solution that will even pretend to satisfy all customers is to produce both. Early in my time here in the forum a wise man said to me during a similar conversation "We (meaning me and you) want everything." There is no end to the things that statement can and will include. Contentment is to be found only within the individual. This doesn't mean there should be no reference but it does hopefully illustrate that unrealistic expectations never bring lasting contentment but serve to satisfy the moment.

This is one of the reasons there is now a Self Assessment and Goals (Short/Mid Range/Long Term) that can be filled in when folks register in the forum. Few fill this out however because... they themselves do.not.know. Remind me to start a topic on Goal Setting as that one is long overdue.

If you've actually read what I've written you should see that the AMA/Wiki/Manual all seek to answer questions that the questioners themselves cannot fully form. It's a paradox where those who want everything have no idea what they want.

But we do know.

Why did we buy A:M?
What did we want to do with it?
What do we still want to do with it?
Do we want to just learn the program or was there something more to it?
Surely we aren't here just because we want a better reference, wiki, manual.

I'll end with a plea to consider Use Cases.
Who uses the AMA? How do they use it?
Who uses the wiki? How do they use it?
Who uses the manual? How do they use it?

Where there is insufficient interest there will be minimal usage.
And as Nancy stated in another topic, "Use it or Lose it."

There is a saying that was often used in the USAF, "If it isn't documented it didn't happen."
Similarly, I see the prime directive (from my POV) as this:

Use A:M for all it is worth.
Document how we use it (in every way possible but I think screen capture is one of the best and least intrusive)
Share how we use A:M with others in an open forum where others can comment and share their own experience.

My 4082 cents.
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See my effort to think about the art of animation at: My Blog
Want to learn A:M? Start TaoA:M

#6 Rodney

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:28 AM

Perhaps the link could also be added at the top of the forum as a button?


This is a matter of preference and priority. That can be worked out.

If I'm going to dig deep down into the code to find where to change the top of the forum then we should also identify what other links should go at the top of the forum. My own preference for the top of the forum would be to have a showcase video playing all the time with interactive links on the screen that launch you to the subject of interest. Then forum frequenters could park their browsers on that spot, get back to work and where interested just watch the show. It'd be nice to mirror the website and key links would be found just belong the video.

(Note: A:M Still and A:M Films were both at the top of the forum a long time ago but we all complained because the images never changed so eventually it was removed. Personally, I think an interactive SWF movie/menu would be cool. Maybe our 'monthy contest' could be to produce that and the best of the best (winners) getting spotlighted at the top of the forum.)

Understand that change tends to piss people off royally. They (usually) get over it but getting through the aftermath can be rough.

The images in for the Work In Progress section were an initial test to see if we could make some links more prominent (and graphical) given this is a high speed computer animation forum. But it's important to keep the look and feel optimal and page loading times minimal.

Also, I had a doozy of a time logging into the wiki (always do I find). It worked eventually though! Does the wiki support images?


I have no control over the wiki so I'll pass the buck on that one.
I'll help wherever I can but my days are full enough here in the forum.

Aside: Almost no one will get this reference but I find it ironic that we don't even get past the first third of the acronym in the topic title of this thread before we've already stumbled on two issues; one minor and one utterly divisive.
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#7 Darkwing

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:39 AM

In the last thread someone mentioned about the moment a book is printed, it's already out of date. This is true to a degree, but


This is a fact. While not all information is out of date the reference itself is considered out of date the moment anything changes or becomes obsolete in that reference.

AM has pretty much remained the same at the core since V13 at least.


I'm trying to work the qualifiers out of my responses and perhaps we can work on yours too.
'Pretty much remained the sam' is not very useful to us.

It is interesting to note that a core complain of the references (TaoA:M video primarily because they are perhaps the most used) has been that the video has slight difference from the current interface in A:M. Folks get stuck with those because they see the reference and get confused.

I submit this is a case for having fewer references rather than more. (I don't like that and wish it weren't true but recognize the truth in it)
The irony being that if the student hadn't seen the graphic they would likely have found the right place in the interface and moved on.
Having seen an image of what the interface looks like in the (outdated) reference they get stuck trying to find that exact correlation in the interface in the real world.

we get some new features


Some... there is the qualitative term.
No one knows how many features A:M has and I suspect we may never fully know.
This is especially true as we can, as users, create our own feature sets that derive from the features the programmers produced.

Herein lies another issues. What to do with the documentation of plugins?
Someone may have the time to create a nifty new plugin but not the time to document it.
Should that programmer wait to release the plugin until documentation is in hand? I'll answer for everyone with an emphatic, "No!"
So who will document the plugin? Volunteers raise your hand high please.
Thank you!

We are very fortunate to have Steffen extending A:M through his programming prowess but what should he devote his time to? I can answer that for everyone by saying, "Anything Steffen wants to set his mind to."

but most of (A:M) remains relatively the same. Thus why I can still use Dave Roger's book even though it's like 6 years old. The benefit of having a book (or at least the option of having one) is that while you're working, you can have it open next to your computer and reference from there. Online stuff or anything on the computer you have to switch over from AM and read your source there. Benefit of online though is quick search and reference and it can always be kept up to date. Personally I'd be in favour of having the choice of either or, but then again, books are pricey to print.


Regarding the pros and cons of digital versus physical books, this discussion has been done to death and we can't even get A:M Users to agree on that.
Regardless of whether a user prefers a printed or an electronic reference the only solution that will even pretend to satisfy all customers is to produce both. Early in my time here in the forum a wise man said to me during a similar conversation "We (meaning me and you) want everything." There is no end to the things that statement can and will include. Contentment is to be found only within the individual. This doesn't mean there should be no reference but it does hopefully illustrate that unrealistic expectations never bring lasting contentment but serve to satisfy the moment.

This is one of the reasons there is now a Self Assessment and Goals (Short/Mid Range/Long Term) that can be filled in when folks register in the forum. Few fill this out however because... they themselves do.not.know. Remind me to start a topic on Goal Setting as that one is long overdue.

If you've actually read what I've written you should see that the AMA/Wiki/Manual all seek to answer questions that the questioners themselves cannot fully form. It's a paradox where those who want everything have no idea what they want.

But we do know.

Why did we buy A:M?
What did we want to do with it?
What do we still want to do with it?
Do we want to just learn the program or was there something more to it?
Surely we aren't here just because we want a better reference, wiki, manual.

I'll end with a plea to consider Use Cases.
Who uses the AMA? How do they use it?
Who uses the wiki? How do they use it?
Who uses the manual? How do they use it?

Where there is insufficient interest there will be minimal usage.
And as Nancy stated in another topic, "Use it or Lose it."

There is a saying that was often used in the USAF, "If it isn't documented it didn't happen."
Similarly, I see the prime directive (from my POV) as this:

Use A:M for all it is worth.
Document how we use it (in every way possible but I think screen capture is one of the best and least intrusive)
Share how we use A:M with others in an open forum where others can comment and share their own experience.

My 4082 cents.


I stand corrected.

So. I'm getting confused now. First we wanted a better organized techref/wiki/something then we don't, then we do, then we don't? Which is it? Straight up yes or no.

#8 Simon Edmondson

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:19 AM

[
So. I'm getting confused now. First we wanted a better organized techref/wiki/something then we don't, then we do, then we don't? Which is it? Straight up yes or no.



I certainly DO.
The Wiki/FAQ name change goes back to my original point about not knowing what questions to ask. If I'd seen it as WIKI I would have tried to explore it motre.

Hey ho...
simon
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Daniel C Dennett philosopher

#9 Rodney

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:37 AM

For awhile FAQ were passe.
Wikis were the 'in' thing.

I don't think we were sure if FAQs had made a full comeback so the two were married/merged.

To do: Change the title of the forum link to the wiki/FAQ but not quite sure what to call it. I'll go with A:M Wiki/FAQ until the Office of Primary Responsbility (OPR) says otherwise.

Edit: Done.


I certainly DO.
The Wiki/FAQ name change goes back to my original point about not knowing what questions to ask. If I'd seen it as WIKI I would have tried to explore it motre.

Hey ho...
simon


To Chris:
I believe that might have been a 'Yes'.
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#10 NancyGormezano

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:39 AM

[
So. I'm getting confused now. First we wanted a better organized techref/wiki/something then we don't, then we do, then we don't? Which is it? Straight up yes or no.



I certainly DO.
The Wiki/FAQ name change goes back to my original point about not knowing what questions to ask. If I'd seen it as WIKI I would have tried to explore it motre.

Hey ho...
simon


I think the wiki is a great place to add info. And if anyone wants perhaps, it is possible to download and print? (tho you loose the linking).

And as I've been informed, the new ver 17, A:M Answers feature (great concept, I love it, but currently incomplete) can link to the wiki, tuts, forum.

Sounds great...until you get to the part about...Who updates the wiki? Who checks the facts for accuracy, who decides what's clear? Who updates A:M answers, the wiki to be current? Who keeps Rodney from moving threads in the forum and breaking the links referenced in the wiki, A:M answers...?

A hoard of cats does not insure Robert's cat gets his shiny bell.

In times past, someone would have been paid to do this. As far as I can tell, that ain't gonna happen.

Now it's UGWUGWUGI time. U get what U get when U get it.

#11 robcat2075

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:46 AM

So. I'm getting confused now. First we wanted a better organized techref/wiki/something then we don't, then we do, then we don't? Which is it? Straight up yes or no.



We want something better. We don't know what we want yet.

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#12 Simon Edmondson

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:32 AM

We want something better. We don't know what we want yet.


I'd qualify that slightly if I may.
We want something better and we're hoping it might turn out to be an improvement on what we have ?

I went to the FAQ/Wiki and asked about Toon Renders ( a particular interest ).
It came up with three results. Non of them about Toon renders.
Two of three were about net renders and one was about cartoon eyes.
Thats a bit frustrating ...
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#13 markw

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:34 AM

I would like to see AMA grow and expand but there still seems much that needs to be determined as to who collates and updates it.
For the moment the Wiki seems to offer the best way to add to/update the TechRef that we already have but we have to let users know that its there and what it is.

...To do: Change the title of the forum link to the wiki/FAQ but not quite sure what to call it. I'll go with A:M Wiki/FAQ until the Office of Primary Responsbility (OPR) says otherwise...

Well for me 'A:M Wiki/FAQ' doesn't really say anything about what it might contain.
If the Wiki is meant as an adjunct to the TechRef then why not make that clearer in its title. I would suggest something like 'Technical Reference Wiki & FAQs'.
On a Mac? Not used Netrender before?
Then have a read of this...

#14 Darkwing

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 12:28 PM

So. I'm getting confused now. First we wanted a better organized techref/wiki/something then we don't, then we do, then we don't? Which is it? Straight up yes or no.



We want something better. We don't know what we want yet.



Does such a thing as "better" exist? Isn't that also based on each person's individual perspective?

#15 Darkwing

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 12:36 PM

Thought this might be of interest to people. This is from Wikipedia: Role of documentation in software development Documentation is an important part of software engineering. Types of documentation include: Requirements - Statements that identify attributes, capabilities, characteristics, or qualities of a system. This is the foundation for what shall be or has been implemented. Architecture/Design - Overview of software. Includes relations to an environment and construction principles to be used in design of software components. Technical - Documentation of code, algorithms, interfaces, and APIs. End User - Manuals for the end-user, system administrators and support staff. Marketing - How to market the product and analysis of the market demand. User documentation Unlike code documents, user documents simply describe how a program is used. In the case of a software library, the code documents and user documents could be effectively equivalent and are worth conjoining, but for a general application this is not often true. Typically, the user documentation describes each feature of the program, and assists the user in realizing these features. A good user document can also go so far as to provide thorough troubleshooting assistance. It is very important for user documents to not be confusing, and for them to be up to date. User documents need not be organized in any particular way, but it is very important for them to have a through index. Consistency and simplicity are also very valuable. User documentation is considered to constitute a contract specifying what the software will do. API Writers are very well accomplished towards writing good user documents as they would be well aware of the software architecture and programming techniques used. See also Technical Writing. There are three broad ways in which user documentation can be organized. Tutorial: A tutorial approach is considered the most useful for a new user, in which they are guided through each step of accomplishing particular tasks.[1] Thematic: A thematic approach, where chapters or sections concentrate on one particular area of interest, is of more general use to an intermediate user. Some authors prefer to convey their ideas through a knowledge based article to facilitating the user needs. This approach is usually practiced by a dynamic industry, such as Information technology, where the user population is largely correlated with the troubleshooting demands [2] List or Reference: The final type of organizing principle is one in which commands or tasks are simply listed alphabetically or logically grouped, often via cross-referenced indexes. This latter approach is of greater use to advanced users who know exactly what sort of information they are looking for. A common complaint among users regarding software documentation is that only one of these three approaches was taken to the near-exclusion of the other two. It is common to limit provided software documentation for personal computers to online help that give only reference information on commands or menu items. The job of tutoring new users or helping more experienced users get the most out of a program is left to private publishers, who are often given significant assistance by the software developer. EDIT: Just ran a quick test, the Wiki doesn't appear to support images or any formatting really.

#16 itsjustme

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 05:20 PM

EDIT: Just ran a quick test, the Wiki doesn't appear to support images or any formatting really.


The Wiki isn't currently up...(at least that's what I get) and it does support images. If it were working, you would see images on this entry.

I'll do my best to remain out of this from now on...sorry for the slip.

#17 Darkwing

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:02 PM

This is the wiki, no? http://www.hash.com/faq/ Cause this one runs fine for me

#18 Rodney

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 07:08 PM

Who keeps Rodney from moving threads in the forum and breaking the links referenced in the wiki, A:M answers...?


Woah. Woah. WOAH!

Me moving threads has not once broken a link in the forum. (Okay, maybe once)
The way the forum works moving threads does not break links.
Other errors might break links.
Moving servers and sites might break links.
People linking to outside sources that dissappear breaks links. (Why do you think we have all those acceptable extension for uploading these days?)
Forum links simply do not work that same way.
Just soze ya nose. ;)

Wherever he finds them, Rodney fixes broken links in the forum.
It's five full time jobs I tell ya.


I will gladly share this responsibility in fixing broken links and organizing the forum but... no one wants it. We can't even get dedicated 'fix all those broken links' moderators these days.

For the moment the Wiki seems to offer the best way to add to/update the TechRef that we already have


<me shakes head not vigorously but then more slowly and quietly>

A team working in the forum could update the Tech Ref in 1/100th the time as one could in the wiki.
Don't believe it? Sign on to the Tech Ref Update Team and you'll be a believer.
With only a few exceptions it's even better that uploading to an FTP site and (I hesitate to say it because it's almost...almost... almost not true) SVN.
Need proofszes?

Can you upload zips, and images and materials, and projects and such in the wiki?
Nope.

Is the data already in the wiki for the forum?
I'm gonna say... forum.

Can we crunch (merge) multiple forum posts into one huge post to save editing time?
Yes.

What about video? Can you upload video to the wiki?
No? You say those have to be linked in?
And you say those get linked in from the forum and/or A:M Films?
Oh. Okay.

But I'm not trying to convince anybody here.
My point is that the forum should be used to edit everything together and then it can be formatted into anything we want (wikis, pdfs, videos... whatever format is required)

The forum is ready for the tasking should anyone require it.
I already communicated with Jason about a year ago regarding duplicating the forum so that we could work on a copy and not destroy the forum's 'live' data. Kidda important I think. ;)

If every forum member that stops by every day or so were to create one single page of information for the new manual I figure we'd have (roughly) a 300 page manual. When you consider that it would not take very long for each to complete their page (yes... only in theory) then the manual could be ready in one month. If the average page rate is two per we are looking at a 600 page manual still within that same (or similar) timeframe. Add to that the fact that many pages are already finished in the Tech Ref and we are approaching 1000 pages. If we look to the wiki, short of a programmer stepping in to save the day with impressive automation, it'll take closer (conservatively) to five or six years and we'll have 100 to 200 pages give or take.

Having been involved in creating the Extra CD and DVD I've seen the importance of file management and how that impacts the editors ability to put the product together. Wikis by themselves are not good for such things. The most successful wikis have a database to maintain their entries and then a manager simply imports that data to the wiki.

If you are going to go the route of (more directly) populating the wiki my suggestion would be to parse the A:M Answers data and import it to the wiki. That would at least give you a framework of entries to edit and add graphics into.

I'm here to help so I'll support the effort to the very best of my ability. :)
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#19 NancyGormezano

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:10 PM

Who keeps Rodney from moving threads in the forum and breaking the links referenced in the wiki, A:M answers...?


Woah. Woah. WOAH!

Me moving threads has not once broken a link in the forum. (Okay, maybe once)
The way the forum works moving threads does not break links.
Other errors might break links.
Moving servers and sites might break links.
People linking to outside sources that dissappear breaks links.


I was sorta kidding...but I was more thinking about: if the wiki or A:M Answers (or any external document) links to a thread or post in the forum, and the topic in the forum gets moved by...um...someone...doesn't that break the link in the wiki (to the forum) or from A:M answers to the forum?

After taking a peek at the wiki, and seeing what state it's in currently, I'd have to agree, it needs some serious top-down structure imposed, and is very very sparse with respect to information, solely because no one but Mouseman has been trying to add to it (as far as I can tell).

On the other hand, the current techref has way more complete, valid information, but would still & also need some top down structure (ie Table of Contents, index, consolidating topics in the contents) and as a start, it would be good if A:MA could link to sections in the techref.

The process for getting and keeping the A:MA up-to-date, accurate in the least burdensome way (ie people resources) is still TBD, as far as I can tell. And it is not clear (to me) who/where is the gate keeper.

#20 Rodney

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:35 PM

if the wiki or A:M Answers (or any external document) links to a thread or post in the forum, and the topic in the forum gets moved by...um...someone...doesn't that break the link in the wiki (to the forum) or from A:M answers to the forum?


No. That is one of the beautiful things about forum topics and posts.
They never* move. The pointer to them simply moves to another place.

As an example, consider this link to the 'Rear View Project'

http://www.hash.com/...showtopic=42008

It is pinned in the Animation:Master forum.

If I were to move it to the WIP forum the link will be:

http://www.hash.com/...showtopic=42008

Exactly the same.

How is that you say?
The magic of forums says it shall be that way.
Once the post is submitted, once the attachment is uploaded, once anything is put in place it stays put and the pointers can change.

Not only does this save links from breaking it keep all those files on the server from changing places.

But that changing of places is exactly what happens when we link to an unreliable place.
Forum posts that link outside the forum are subject to broken links for a great number of reasons.

There have been times when links got broken in the forum but that is when servers where changed or local hosts and domain names are changed.
In such cases the links in the forum must all be renamed (hopefully by a global search and replace rather than manually!).

Now, having said all that, we can force URL/Link sources to move if we have to but we have little reason to ever do that.
We wouldn't want to because then EVERY LINK would break!


*Forum files on the server only physically move if someone purposefully moves them from their place.
I cannot do that easily so that keeps me safe. You are right that if they physically move on the server that will break the link.
Similarly, the same will happen if the server changes and the paths and namespaces are not returned to the correct paths and names.
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#21 robcat2075

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:23 AM

After taking a peek at the wiki, and seeing what state it's in currently, I'd have to agree, it needs some serious top-down structure imposed, and is very very sparse with respect to information, solely because no one but Mouseman has been trying to add to it (as far as I can tell).



We should find some way to unify these various sources... AMA, TechRef and Wiki... so that we're not maintaining three different references.

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#22 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:12 AM

We should find some way to unify these various sources... AMA, TechRef and Wiki... so that we're not maintaining three different references.


This is an insightful statement as it betrays the underlying order of things. (or 'the proper flow' if you prefer)
You apparently know this by the way in which you've ordered them.

A:MA is integrated with the core property descriptions of A:M.
That core documentation was the source for the original Technical Reference.
That information could be extended/exported/transferred into the Wiki (should such a thing be programmed).

Now lets try that in reverse:

We can do without the Wiki.
We could do without the Tech Ref.
We cannot do without the A:MA core because it is intrinsic to the program.

Sourcing. Gotta love it.
Always consider the source.
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#23 Darkwing

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:17 AM

After taking a peek at the wiki, and seeing what state it's in currently, I'd have to agree, it needs some serious top-down structure imposed, and is very very sparse with respect to information, solely because no one but Mouseman has been trying to add to it (as far as I can tell).



We should find some way to unify these various sources... AMA, TechRef and Wiki... so that we're not maintaining three different references.


I concur, I'm beginning to see there's some confusion due to the fact we have 2 alleged wikis, a book, AMA, the forum (am I forgetting any?)

I kinda like Rodney's idea of using the forum though. Create a board (well there already is one) and then create subboards (modelling, interface, materials etc) and then in each one have specialized threads (that aren't ambiguously named like "modelling tutorial"). In the main techref board, perhaps a Table of Contents that links to each thread as well, so one doesn't even need to traverse the subboards to find something. Something like that, once structure and content has been composed, could in theory also convert to a PDF book (with some work of course) but then there'd be a downloadable version so that when the internet breaks (which it does do from time to time) people can still have a copy on their HDD.

#24 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:44 AM

I don't want to suggest that there aren't a lot of benefits to a wiki. Having worked the TWO wiki I learned to like them. I also learned that it can be tough going. A major benefit to wikis is that of formatting. There is formatting that can be done in a wiki that simply cannot be done in a forum (well it can be done... but it would have to be extended to do such and I'm not qualified to do it). I'm not trying to advocate forum usage (for this project) so much as trying to let people know that it is an available resource. In a similar vein as my last post, consider the source of information that cannot be found at/in the A:MA core. Where does that information source from? That right, A:M Users. Where do A:M Users publicly source and re-source from? Right again. The A:M Forums. This doesn't mean that there aren't other sources but the forum is the primary pubic source; a gathering place for (accurate) information. To go deeper we'd have to expand out to each node in the network which is logically and exponentially more difficult. I've made several attempts to further the use of HTML here in the forum but there are obstacles to that which I haven't been able to fully control. Still, HTML can be posted where specifically permitted within the forum.
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#25 Darkwing

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:51 AM

Yeah. I had been toying earlier with various ideas, such as using something like Wordpress, but I would (personally) rather use the forum over yet another external source to muddle the waters. And i think you kinda hit the nail on the head regarding AMA. I love AMA, tried it out the other day and it was really great! However the problem arises in that you have to find the property, right click on it to find the info. What if one doesn't know exactly what property they're looking for? Or interface buttons? Or how to model something? And so on and so forth and like you said, when that happens, they come here. I know I do! I think for the most part the information is already here, it's really a matter of collating it and making it concise and comprehensive. And hopefully somewhat easier to find :P

#26 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:58 AM

Chris, Since you've already volunteered perhaps you'd like to head up a forum area devoted to exploring the options? I do not ask this lightly because it will take you away from other projects. But as long as priorities are kept it won't prevent you from 'working your day job' too. And you won't be alone in the effort. Everyone who wants a new manual will be more than happy to assist you. On the plus side you will learn more by being exposed to more than other A:M Users in the forum. Yes, it'll be thankless work... but lots of fun... and will certainly help you in other endeavors. And when you are done you'll be especially proud of that new 'manual'. Don't answer now. Think about it. Sleep on it. Pray about it if that is something you are apt to do. Then let me know.
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#27 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:24 AM

There is something else worth noting about A:M's core data (already been mentioned but well worth foot stomping)

That data is almost entirely (upward to 99%) accurate.
Think about the importance of that for a moment.

The Tech Ref is similarly accurate but only for the version it references.
While accurate from the perspective of the applicable version the data looks less accurate the more we move away from that reference point.


We may need a slight paradigm change (or simply a new data field) that reveals which version a tech entry applies to in the manual... a confirmation of where it has been tested and where it can be seen as being most accurate. This is how A:M Reports works but somewhat in reverse (and A:M Reports is yet another great source for information... it lets us know how some things don't, didn't work or have never been there to begin with). We'd be wrong to think for a moment that there is not a cyclic and iterative process going on between the core data in A:M (and by extension A:MA) and A:M Reports data. That process... current genius in residence... is (primarily) Steffen! :)

The end goal would be to have only one 'version' of A:M in an always on status. But given that, it is therefore all the more important to have all subversions that remain in usage flow together with complete compatibility. (This is foot stompingly important... it'll be on a later test... are you still following me here?) There is a shelf life applicable to all things but that does not necessitate an ending in all those things. As long as they remain useful they can be extended. (Hows that for a Usage Case?) This is even more important now that all subscription subversions of A:M can be launched and used (if installed and activated).

For those that have eyes to see and ears to hear, this is why subscribing to the current version is so important. As long as there are subversions out there they must also be (extensively) maintained. The core purpose of this forum is to support and maintain.
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#28 Darkwing

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:49 AM

Well in each tech ref entry, there could be a sort of template used that includes which version(s) the entry is applicable to. So for instance rotopolgy would currently only be applicable to V17 and that would be stated in the tech ref entry for Rotopology

#29 robcat2075

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:54 AM

Here's a proposal...

-The wiki becomes the main document. It is given a broad linear organization like a manual that all the entries fit into:

---Modeling
---texturing
---rigging
---animation
---rendering

-AMA draws its content from wiki entries that are tagged as AMA-appropriate. Currently , that would just be wiki entries that explain a parameter. Every time Steffen compiles a new A:M, the AMA index file is automatically built from the current info in the wiki.

-The Techref is a book version (pdf) of the wiki. The wiki is formatted in such a way that a print-ready pdf can be generated from it for anyone who wants such a thing.

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#30 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:02 AM

Well in each tech ref entry, there could be a sort of template used that includes which version(s) the entry is applicable to. So for instance rotopolgy would currently only be applicable to V17 and that would be stated in the tech ref entry for Rotopology


I don't mean to imply that the Tech Ref or A:M data does not track versioning. It does but I'm not currently able to confirm the extent of that. As smart as the Hash boy are I already know they thought of that. My memory recalls many instances of version specific dialogue in the Tech Ref that outlined what aspect of a given feature set was or was not applicable. (In other words... there is a marker that gives the programmer a view on the context applied to the reference and it is designed to quickly let them know the currency of the data referenced... I just don't know at this moment what form that marker takes. I simply assume it to be a version number.)
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#31 Darkwing

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:06 AM

I would assume version number would be the most universally translatable, especially where this would be geared towards users more than coders

#32 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:12 AM

Here's a proposal...

-The wiki becomes the main document. It is given a broad linear organization like a manual that all the entries fit into:

---Modeling
---texturing
---rigging
---animation
---rendering

-AMA draws its content from wiki entries that are tagged as AMA-appropriate. Currently , that would just be wiki entries that explain a parameter. Every time Steffen compiles a new A:M, the AMA index file is automatically built from the current info in the wiki.

-The Techref is a book version (pdf) of the wiki. The wiki is formatted in such a way that a print-ready pdf can be generated from it for anyone who wants such a thing.


Edit: I've gone back in and highlighted the area in your proposal that is the deal breaker in my estimation. While I'd have to break the proposal completely down too determine the full merit of the rest I don't immediately see any issues elsewhere. They appear to be logical based and implementable.

He don't get it. :blink:
Where that heck is that bangshead emoticon when you need it.

But.. But... But A:MA doesn't draw it's content from the wiki.
A:MA draws it's data (primarily) from A:M itself and (secondarily) from A:M Users input into the A:M interface (but note that because the textfile is stored locally on the users machine it is not automatically integrated). Please read my post above that explains that or ask for further clarification.

To propose that A:MA draw it's data from the wiki... I'm not following your logic here.
You are proposing the creation of a completely different (and in my opinion terminally fated to be obsolete) A:MA.

Sorry. I can't support the proposal 'as is'. I'm just telling you like I see it.
But please say on... perhaps it is me that needs to experience a paradigm change. :)
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#33 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:21 AM

I would assume version number would be the most universally translatable, especially where this would be geared towards users more than coders


The only problem with versioning is that in an ideal situation versions would not be published publicly. At their optimal condition versions are only of real interest to those operating behind the scenes. To the end user they should (yes, in theory) disappear.

This was why Martin initially offered A:M subscriptions for $49 a year.
So that everyone set aside the old and move to the current version where all users would thrive together.
Alas, it was not to be.

(And no, I do not expect the lightbulb to come on for everybody. I've accepted that. :) )
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#34 robcat2075

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:23 AM

To propose that A:MA draw it's data from the wiki... I'm not following your logic here.
You are proposing the creation of a completely different (and in my opinion terminally fated to be obsolete) A:MA.


User additions and edits to the AMA (we still haven't ascertained how that happens, of course) would get funneled to the wiki. Editing the AMA is one way of editing the wiki.

As I see it the wiki needs to be source because it would be the most complete collection of knowledge and the AMA is only a subset of it.

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#35 robcat2075

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:40 AM

If you can find a way to synchronize the two it becomes a distinction without a difference.

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#36 mouseman

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:57 AM

[Since I started writing this, Robcat made a proposal, which I think is entirely in line with what I've written below.]

I am coming late to this discussion because I've been busy outside of A:M and I've been busy with the Rear Window project.

There are the following sources of A:M reference documentation:
Help file (ftp://ftp.hash.com/pub/docs/help.zip or ftp://ftp.hash.com/pub/docs/masterchm.zip) - .chm file installed separately for Windows
Tech Ref (ftp://ftp.hash.com/pub/docs/TECHREF.pdf) - PDF and printed book, based on the help file, I believe compiled/formatted by Will Sutton
Wiki (http://wiki.hash.com...x.php/Main_Page) - off line for a number of weeks now (though some talk of it as though it's available)
FAQ (http://www.hash.com/faq/) - To be honest, I haven't used it and the format is insufficient for a reference manual
TiddlyWiki - (http://www.hash.com/...showtopic=37782) created by Holmes
A:M Answers (v17) - I haven't upgraded to v17 yet due to the Rear Window project, so I don't know a lot about it.

The big thing about the Tech Ref is (as Nancy pointed out) it's organization, which results in difficulty in finding things, although searching through the PDF helps. One thing that has been pointed out is that when one finds a problem, they can't fix it. Another thing is that the login should if at all possible be common with the forum.

As Nancy pointed out, I have been the main user of the wiki. Basically any time I came across anything that was mentioned in the forums that I wanted to remember, I typed either a summary or a more detailed description of it in the wiki, and placed a reference back to the original forum post in the wiki. I was tempted to try to add the TiddlyWiki info into it, but it seemed a large task, especially since the MediaWiki and TiddlyWiki syntax are different. MediaWiki is able to add image attachments (including inserting them into the page), and I think you can add file attachments, as well.

The existing Tech Ref has lots of good information, which should be preserved and used as the basis for reference. Multiple people (drawn from Hash fellows & other invitees) should have the ability to update it. A few people (3?) should be in charge of its overall organization.

Because I don't know a lot about A:M Answers, I can't make a meaningful suggestion or recommendation. I have a gut feel that a wiki would in theory be the best thing, and it could be linked from the A:M Answers. Other solutions don't seem as well suited to search and collaborative editing. If we could find a meaningful way of importing all of the Help file / Tech Ref information into it (here's one two-stage method of doing so), I believe that may be a huge benefit; however, that is likely easier said than done. Also, some other big questions deal with how to effectively create categories, templates, etc., which is an art in and of itself. I don't think it would be a big loss if the current wiki were either archived or erased to make way for the new wiki if that would make it easier to do.

The big thing is that whatever is decided has to be relatively easy to put in place, and relatively easy to make incremental improvements. No one (either paid or volunteer) has time for efforts of long duration. There shouldn't be a lot of overhead for people that know what needs to be done (and are trusted to do so) to make improvements to the content; otherwise things will decay and people will feel helpless to make it better.

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#37 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 09:03 AM

Thanks for the additional information. Thinking through the options available we may be able to break through to daylight.
Much of the problem here is with the general terminology and organization (i.e. as it is the terms are not precise enough to get the proposal initiated).

As I see it the wiki needs to be source because it would be the most complete collection of knowledge and the AMA is only a subset of it.


The source of A:M User input. But unless something has changed... and I hope it has not because that would break the link to the real source... the wiki cannot be the primary source. That will always be inside of A:M (i.e. that data is drawn from A:M itself and recompiles/reintegrates with it at later stages).

If you were to propose a cyclic process I think your proposal would work but otherwise it's fate is set.

This is me trying to make the secondary sourcing fit so I'm sure to make some mistakes along the way (bear with me):

First, let us restate the case:

A:MA's primary source is within A:M (that is the data and structure that the geniuses at Hash Inc put in place back in v9 timeframe... Steffen tapped into it for A:MA to save everyone thousands of years of manually entering/copying text into A:MA... which was pure genius by the way)

A:MA's secondary source is user feedback/input.

While there are more we should establish that those are the current facts in this case.
Where the case begins to diverge is at that secondary sourcing becaue there are many ways that can be used to gain user input.
Therefore, let it be known that this whole case resides in the secondary sourcing arena and so excludes that of altering the primary sourcing of A:MA data. The primary source cannot be replaced.

Now that we have securely framed the case to be within the boundaries of secondary sourcing it is important to say that there is nothing preventing more than one input method with regard to that secondary sourcing. Indeed, there could be.

However, let it be noted for the record that there is currently (as of this date) only one primary means of getting information from the user into A:MA.
This is known as the feature released in v17, wherein users can open any of A:M's properties and edit the entries therein.

Moving to an 'all sources' approach in secondary sourcing is optimal but will not be in all cases.
Rather than pursue this idea of 'all sourcing' at this time I'll recommend and refer you to a study of how intelligence operations use sourcing and classification to ensure delivery of timely, accurate, reliable and authentic information.

So, at this point we have one confirmed secondary source that is currently extant and a proposal for the addition to (or replacement of) that existing sourcing. I'll note that the proposal's wording is indicative of replacement but that isn't explicitly stated.

With these facts established and all pertinent clarifications made I'll be more than willing to move on to the merits of the proposal's actual case.
Within an 'all sources' framework there is no reason why the wiki could not be a node in the sourcing chain.
Should the wiki become the sole sourcing of A:MA we will of a certainty regret that day.

Your honors, this is my stated case.
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#38 robcat2075

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:08 AM

AMA is imperfect as a main source because it only covers Property Parameters and there's much more about A:M that users will want documented.

A wiki that contains all A:M knowledge is a better source. The text file that contains the info that pops up when you RMB for an AMA answer can be harvested from relevant wiki material.


A:MA's primary source is within A:M (that is the data and structure that the geniuses at Hash Inc put in place back in v9 timeframe... Steffen tapped into it for A:MA to save everyone thousands of years of manually entering/copying text into A:MA... which was pure genius by the way)


I don't think that is entirely the case. The descriptive text, the really useful stuff, is mostly copied from the techref, most of it is verbatim.

If the techref is inadequate now, then surely an AMA that only quotes the techref is inadequate.

I presume that somehow we will collect better answers from the users over time and incorporate those into a master source


Here is a typical AMA entry in the AMA index file

<ama_entry>
   <index_name>
	  Material|TextureNode|AttrProperty|Roughness Scale
   </index_name>
   <property_name>
	  Roughness Scale
   </property_name>
   <auto_doc>
	  Not documented yet<br><br><i>Default: 100%, Min: 0%, Percentage</i><br>
   </auto_doc>
   <data_link>
	  http://amfilms.hash.com/video/2682/AM-Answers-Surface--Roughness-Details
   </data_link>
</ama_entry>

All the info that appears to the user including the possible parameter values is within those <auto_doc> tags

I hope that "not Documented" will be replaced with something more useful, it will take a human entry into something to change that and we should find a way to make one thing, not three, be the thing that receives those human entries.

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#39 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:12 AM

AMA is imperfect as a main source


I agree.
It is a secondary source that gets its data from A:M and can also get it from other sources.

If the wiki can integrate in the same way as AMA does with the source in A:M then this part of the discussion could terminate.
The trick then is to loop that information from the wiki back to the source in A:M.
The (loose) loop already exists and you are simply trying to bring the wiki into that loop as well.

I see no issues there beyond the whos and hows of programmatically getting from here to there.
But here... you are talking in terms of new utilities/features and not about what is currently there.
I am talking about what is currently there.
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#40 robcat2075

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:23 AM

Looking at the code from the AMA file... I'm not sure what it DOES get from A:M? But digressing some more.... I'd like to see AMA expanded to cover anything that appears in the interface. For example, currently there is no AMA explanation of the "Materials" folder, nor of "Material" in the folder, nor of an "Attribute" in a material.

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#41 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:23 AM

The descriptive text, the really useful stuff, is mostly copied from the techref, most of it is verbatim.


In all the words that have been typed you may have missed where I state that:

The Technical Reference's primary source is the internal documentation found within A:M.
(I'll Add) Images and such were then added to that documentation from secondary resources (primarily A:M Users who had real world experience).

I'd like to see AMA expanded to cover anything that appears in the interface.

For example, currently there is no AMA explanation of the "Materials" folder, nor of "Material" in the folder, nor of an "Attribute" in a material.


A noble goal for someone to seek. It's also the driving force behind the whole AMA/Wiki/Manual affair.
Covering 'anything that appears in the interface' is where the feature would (ideally) be heading v18 and thereafter but I'm not privy any longer term plans concerning A:MA. A:MA is an initial foray toward that day but that further underscores why it is so important to get it right while we are here.

currently there is no AMA explanation of the "Materials" folder, nor of "Material" in the folder, nor of an "Attribute" in a material


This is likely because it was (relatively) easy to program A:MA with properties because the property data was already there.
The structure for allowing users to access that information was already there.
Outside of those properties the new structures you are proposing would have to be created.
And that's just the facts of where A:MA currently is.
I don't know what the desired end state is except to say 'everything documented'.
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#42 Fuchur

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:35 AM

I don't think that is entirely the case. The descriptive text, the really useful stuff, is mostly copied from the techref, most of it is verbatim.

If the techref is inadequate now, then surely an AMA that only quotes the techref is inadequate.

I presume that somehow we will collect better answers from the users over time and incorporate those into a master source


A:M:A was getting its informations from a source directly which the tech reference MAY reference too. I am not sure about the last part.

Steffen explained it like this: There is a documentation-feature built into A:M, which holds many informations about these properties in it.
It is quite nicely documenting the properties in A:M and was filled by the programmers who programmed the property in.

The problem with that is, that this documentation-engine costs much money and Steffen doesnt have a current version of that which would be needed to document it in that way anymore. I am not sure when the infos were updated the last time, but I think it stopped around v11-v14.

Like that the infos there will be as they are. Because of that, A:M Answer is receiving its informations from the txt-file in the installation-folder which is an export of the infos hosted by this documentation-engine from within A:M itself.
By saving the informations into an XML-like text-file, everybody can edit it and make its own little additions, etc. directly in A:M.

The biggest plus of A:M:A is, that you dont have to search anything... just right-click and hit the display help file and the info is right there without ever leaving A:M. I see the appeal in that.
Anyway a wiki is much easier to maintain and it has more possibilities... but it has to be built up to the point where A:M:A already is...
The biggest problem is: Who will do that?

But since A:M:A can link to external sources, it may be a solution to link to the wiki directly when you think it is good to do so and if not, will the infos into A:M:A itself.

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#43 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:41 AM

The problem with that is, that this documentation-engine costs much money and Steffen doesnt have a current version of that which would be needed to document it in that way anymore. I am not sure when the infos were updated the last time, but I think it stopped around v11-v14.


I'd like to know more about Steffen's needs here as this is something I am sure A:M Users who desire documentation would be willing to pay for.
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#44 Darkwing

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:48 AM

I should also throw out in all this discussion that for whatever reason, not all AM users will want to upgrade to V17. So anyone pre V17 will not be privvy to even having AMA. Now if this were Apple, that would be an easy situation to resolve because we would simply ignore/not care about those users! but this isn't Apple (at least I hope not!) And to answer the who aspect of this, Simon and I have already volunteered, at least when it comes to collating the data. I personally have no ability to integrate anything with the program itself, but forum, wiki, book or whatever else we choose to collect all of this information is something I can (given oodles of time) do. (And I'm sure Simon can too, though I can't speak for him as maybe he does have the ability to do some of these things discussed)

#45 Fuchur

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:55 AM

The problem with that is, that this documentation-engine costs much money and Steffen doesnt have a current version of that which would be needed to document it in that way anymore. I am not sure when the infos were updated the last time, but I think it stopped around v11-v14.


I'd like to know more about Steffen's needs here as this is something I am sure A:M Users who desire documentation would be willing to pay for.


I may throw in something else here: Steffens time is limited and the question is, if it is wise to spend it on documentation... (which is really something no programmer does like to do... at least I dont like to do that very much for stuff I wrote till now...)

See you
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See my projects, tutorials, reviews and join the German Animation:Master-Community at
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Exporter Page

And how can I export to *.FBX-files or other 3d- / game-engines?
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Need more converters? *.obj OBJ), *.lwo , *.act or *.dxf ?
Arthur Walaseks' Exporters

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You are searching for tutorials? More video- and text-tutorials can be found here:
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You want to make your own video tutorial?
Recommended Tools and Step By Step Instructions

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#46 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:00 AM

I should also throw out in all this discussion that for whatever reason, not all AM users will want to upgrade to V17. So anyone pre V17 will not be privvy to even having AMA. Now if this were Apple, that would be an easy situation to resolve because we would simply ignore/not care about those users! but this isn't Apple (at least I hope not!)


A subject near and dear to my heart but also a subject for another topic. I support all A:M Users everywhere but not all A:M Users can be supported equally. (Some extract themselves from the support chain)

I don't think anyone could fault Hash Inc for focusing on the current release and on the subscribers who financially support future releases (at least I hope that is the case).
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#47 Rodney

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:04 AM

Reposting Fuchur's question so it remains in view after my last response. It's a critical question:

Steffens time is limited and the question is, if it is wise to spend it on documentation...


I'll add this as well:

Is documentation considered a matter of stability?
If it is then we are back to an older cycle than I thought we were in.
Perhaps Steffen should stop implementing new features until the current ones can be fully documented?

I'm going to try to extract myself from the discussion so that others may reach conclusions.
Suggestion: Where necessary please start new threads to focus on specific topics.
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#48 NancyGormezano

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:05 AM

If the techref is inadequate now, then surely an AMA that only quotes the techref is inadequate.


The techref is NOT entirely inadequate in it's contents. In majority of cases it has excellent content. You just can't find it. But it's there.

The A:MA can help in organizing it. A good goal would be to get this info into the A:MA textfile.

But digressing some more.... I'd like to see AMA expanded to cover anything that appears in the interface.
For example, currently there is no AMA explanation of the "Materials" folder, nor of "Material" in the folder, nor of an "Attribute" in a material.


Yes indeedy-doo, that's what AMA should do.

The techref already contains excellent descriptions of Materials, Material Folder, etc (look it up, starting on p14). Unfortunately this great information (with pictures, examples) on materials is scattered about in some manner.

The problem is 1) either one has to going thru the tech ref, manually copy/pasting into the A:MAtextfile or 2) there is some copy of the techref that has been indexed (in a meaningful manner) that could be used to automate getting that info into the A:MA textfile or 3) pasting just the link into (ONE and only, not 3) MASTER WIKI that was created from the techref.

So as an example:

<ama_entry>
<index_name>
Material Folder??
</index_name>
<property_name>
???
</property_name>
<auto_doc>
some copy/pasted text from techref, or wiki or new ???
</auto_doc>
<data_link>
link to wiki? techref? forum? video? porn site?
</data_link>
</ama_entry>


1)Not sure how you create the index name so that one can right click in A:M to get the description (or link), even manually.

2) Must it only be a property that gets described?

3) Do not know how one would either index into techref pdf (or does it exist in some other form?) or would we have to wait for a MASTER wiki that was generated from the techref first? And if this master wiki can be automatically generated from current incantation of techref, then can the ama textfile also be automatically generated at the same time? Not asking if someone can program it, because we know that is obviously possible if someone wanted to, I'm just asking what currently is possible?

Edited by NancyGormezano, 15 September 2012 - 11:43 AM.


#49 Darkwing

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:16 AM

I can't entirely tell if we're making progress or not, because now we're back to where we started in that the tech ref is inadequate due to its lack of organization (not content so much, though it is out of date in some regards) EDIT: Just got to thinking, maybe we haven't truly asked the question. We're really kind of debating a vague "what's better" concept without really identifying what we should be asking. So correct me if I'm wrong or feel free to change or add anything, but I think these are the questions we should be asking/articulating: What is the best way to re-organize the Technical Reference? Which tool will let us do this the best? (this is where the wiki vs forum vs book stuff comes in) What is the best way to make this accessible to the general user of AM? (this is where stuff like AMA comes in and linking wikis with the program and stuff)

#50 NancyGormezano

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:39 AM

I can't entirely tell if we're making progress or not, because now we're back to where we started in that the tech ref is inadequate due to its lack of organization (not content so much, though it is out of date in some regards)


IMO, techref is mostly, mainly inadequate only in it's organization. And yes, it is not up to date 100%. It is relevant for I'm guessing, 80-90% (maybe more?) of the data, and is missing just new features, minor changes. It is the place to start as a baseline, imo.

And I would venture that the AMA in ver 17 currently contains less than 50% of what is in the techref (and yes, it looks like it was taken from the techref, which looks like it was taken from the code documentation). And any of the 3 wikis that I've browsed, contain less than the AMA and are organized just as strangely as the techref, but each wiki is even stranger than the techref, each in its own way.

And it looks to me like even when people get paid to do documentation, write user manuals (eg autodesk, adobe) that the results are not always perfect, and in many cases just as scattered.