How to re-write and release a replacement product.

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This post has 174 Replies | 4 Followers

Posts 268
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Dec 1 2009 7:37 AM

Having worked on SW for years developing SW for very large customers, here are a couple things I have learned:

  1. The ideal replacement SW does everything the original SW does.
  2. The settings for the original product are migrated to the new product.
  3. If the presentation changes the new product must have equivalency.

Even before starting the re-write these goals should be first on the radar.

From what I have seen Logos 4 does not meet these goals; thus it fails as a replacement product for Logos 3, not trying to be mean, just stating what my customers would tell me.

I do believe Logos 4 is salvageable and should be considered "beta" at best, the product still needs a lot of work to meet the goals specified above.

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Halo Hound | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 7:46 AM

Ken Avery:
From what I have seen Logos 4 does not meet these goals; thus it fails as a replacement product for Logos 3, not trying to be mean, just stating what my customers would tell me.

I suppose it could technically not be called a replacement. Libronix 3 runs parallel to Logos 4, and Libronix was the technical term for 3 whereas Logos is the technical term for version 4.

Personally I am glad they did buck the trend here. I do recognize that I am not the majority of users here as most want something more familiar to the previous, but I don't want the to be a slave to version 3. Microsoft office is different. They come out with new versions more frequently. But most likely whatever UI structure we will have today we have to live with for years with Logos. I would rather them focus on getting it to be the right UI for Bible software then be a slave to programs that are not geared at studying, or keep us to a UI that was used 10 years ago. I do not want to be using a 2000 UI in 2020.

Just my personal 2 cents.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 8:25 AM

Ken Avery:
The ideal replacement SW does everything the original SW does.

Whilst I agree that Logos4 lacks some important features were present in Logos, your statement simply isn't true. There always comes a time when a software developer has to remove features for the sake of progress. These two posts from programmer Nick Bradbury give an insight into that process:

http://nick.typepad.com/blog/2008/07/killing-feature.html

http://nick.typepad.com/blog/2008/07/how-to-kill-a-b.html

Power-users may hate it, but sometimes simpler is better.

Posts 268
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 8:49 AM

Not sure what world you guys live in; the world I live in, you do not take features away when you re-write your SW. If I understand the development process being used to develop Logos 4, the replacement for Logos 3, the features are being introduced gradually.

I am OK with this process; what I would really like to see is the documentation that states what features are being dropped, implemented and the equivalent features being developed and the progress; in other words, a side-by-side list of Logos 3 features, Logos 4 feature replacements and the progress. 

If what you folks are saying is true; of which, I am not convinced (I give the Logos developers more credit to do a professional job and not a shotty job as you are implying) I will not be using Logos 4 because I am a power user and if Logos 4 is not going to be written for the power user then I will keep using the old Logos 3 that was written for power users.

I must disagree strongly that the new product is not required to function as the old product; I have maintained SW that has to be backwords compatable for decades, you don't remove features that breaks your customer base!

If you are going to depricate features it needs to be communicated; btw, these features will no longer work in the new product ... etc.

What I am saying is the professional way to handle this type of development is to be upfront with your customers telling them what is implemented, what is being implemented, what replaces what feature, the schedule for feature release and what features will not be implemented.

PS: I do not put a lot of weigth into Nick Bradbury - he works on web development tools and has a much different target application than programs like Logos and the types of SW I have been writing for decades - Brad's approach would fail in the development space I work in.

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Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 8:52 AM

Ken Avery:
the replacement for Logos 3,

Ken,

thats' the thing. This is a false expectation.

Logos 4 is not the 'upgrade" or replacement for V3; Logos has stated as much.

So any conclusion that stems from this particular bit of misinformation is going to be flawed....

Robert Pavich

For help go to the Wiki: http://wiki.logos.com/Table_of_Contents__

Posts 268
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 9:03 AM

Thank you for that information; it looks like I purchased Logos 4 (Logos lite) and did not need to because Logos 3 is the real product!

How misleading, the logos front page asked me if I wanted to upgrade; it did not ask if I wanted to tryout "Logos 4 Lite" as a suplement to Logos 3!

However you spin this, it is not a good story; my impression is that the developers convinced Logos management to re-write Logos and this is what we have now, Logos 4.

To call this misinformation is an understatment!

Posts 569
J. Morris | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 9:06 AM

There are times when SW needs to take a BIGGER leap than just upgrading the current version.

I kind of wish they would have called it something different than Logos 4.  

The title, I believe, leads people to expect it to be related (if not closely related) to V3.  

I know that IS what I expected.  I WAS NOT pleasantly surprised the first week I must admit. However, I also believe that just about (can't please everyone) anyone who will spend the time going through the videos (Logos AND user made) and patiently tries to discover more within L4 they will see it for what I believe it is.  A great product that (amazingly enough) is ONLY going to get better.  (and from what I have seen in the forums about the current L4 beta it is going to get MUCH better)

You can call me a die-hard ranting Logos fan, (or what ever other labels have been floating around), but FOR ME L4 is really a great product.

Posts 268
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 9:15 AM

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Logos and use it daily for hours on end (not so much with L4 because I spend most of my time trying to make L4 do what L3 does); I have been thru the videos and press every button I can find, I purchased L4 a day or so after the release.

I just downloaded the newly complied files for L3 and will be going back to using L3; I have spent weeks trying to get the same productivity out of L4 as I am accustom to with L3, it is not happening.

This is why I would like to see a chart depicting a side-by-side comparisson of L3/L4 features, replacements, dropped features and a schedule of anticipated feature implimentation dates, I want to know what and when it will be baked.

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Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 9:16 AM

Jeremiah Daniel Morris:

I kind of wish they would have called it something different than Logos 4.  

The title, I believe, leads people to expect it to be related (if not closely related) to V3.  

No argument there Jeremiah...that would have stemmed a lot of what is said about V4

Robert Pavich

For help go to the Wiki: http://wiki.logos.com/Table_of_Contents__

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Forum MVP
Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 9:17 AM

Ken Avery:
This is why I would like to see a chart depicting a side-by-side comparisson of L3/L4 features, replacements, dropped features and a schedule of anticipated feature implimentation dates, I want to know what and when it will be baked.

 

I beleive that exact chart is on the wiki site...

Robert Pavich

For help go to the Wiki: http://wiki.logos.com/Table_of_Contents__

Posts 569
J. Morris | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 9:24 AM

Robert Pavich:

Ken Avery:
This is why I would like to see a chart depicting a side-by-side comparisson of L3/L4 features, replacements, dropped features and a schedule of anticipated feature implimentation dates, I want to know what and when it will be baked.

 

I beleive that exact chart is on the wiki site...

I know this info was on Logos main, but I've been trying to find it for the last 10 mins, and can not locate it.  :(

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Halo Hound | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 9:26 AM

Ken Avery:
what I would really like to see is the documentation that states what features are being dropped, implemented and the equivalent features being developed and the progress; in other words, a side-by-side list of Logos 3 features, Logos 4 feature replacements and the progress. 

Bob has gone on record in the forums as saying the only two features being dropped with no equivalent future replacement are the remote library and Graphical Queries. Remote libraries because what it did in L3 can be done easily in Google and Graphical Queries because the new methods of L4 are viewed as superior.

Ken Avery:
What I am saying is the professional way to handle this type of development is to be upfront with your customers telling them what is implemented, what is being implemented, what replaces what feature, the schedule for feature release and what features will not be implemented.

The placement of their notices may be up for debate, but they have been very open here, one of the primary places people seeking a feature will turn to, and on their website through http://www.logos.com/4/missingfeatures

Ken Avery:
PS: I do not put a lot of weigth into Nick Bradbury - he works on web development tools and has a much different target application than programs like Logos and the types of SW I have been writing for decades - Brad's approach would fail in the development space I work in.

Well, I'm no programmer, but I hope they don't tie Logos down to the limitations of decades old hardware but instead write the program to take advantage of today and tomorrow's hardware advantages.

Ken Avery:
I must disagree strongly that the new product is not required to function as the old product; I have maintained SW that has to be backwords compatable for decades, you don't remove features that breaks your customer base!

The progress of time does make some features obsolete and not worth supporting. For instance, if your stats show that only .5 percent of users utilize a feature such as Remote Library searching you have to ask the questions 1)will more people us it if we do a better job implementing it? e.g. is the reason people are not using it because we have made it unusable?  2) If it is removed are we taking away the .5 percent's ability to do what we have offered? 3) Is continued availability worth what it costs us to implement? I'm sure there are a ton of other questions to ask.

Software, and electronics in general, are very new. To say "I've worked with software for decades" is to say I was there pretty much from the start. At least until now a break with the past was not necessary but eventually there will need to be that break and Logos believes to a degree that time is now. Functionally the L4 product we will see next year will have very few things it will not do better then L3, or at least that is what we have been promised.

Posts 268
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 10:04 AM

Philip Spitzer:

Well, I'm no programmer,

Enough said Geeked

Posts 268
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 10:24 AM

Philip,

I understand your concerns with technology moving forward and I am not advocating that progress stops or we keep using old technology; I am being critical of how it is being accomplished.

My guess is that the Logos developers are so behind the curve maintaining L3 that they are using an old version of development tools that are not supported anymore and the big changes are to take advantage of the new features afforded in the new development tools and the new versions of the operating System.

Do not confuse upgrading your developemnt envirionment and take advantage of new Operating System features with the Logos feature requirements; the new development environment is capable of developing the new set of requirements for Logos 4 and re-writing the Logos 3 feature set.

As you can see, in Logos 4, the implementation looks and feels much different; this does not mean the core feature requirements changed, when you re-write a program you have a great set of requirements to start form; and yes, you can replace features with better features as the oportunity arises.

The goal should be to provide the same functionality that the user purchased in the first place with the ability to enhance and add new features; it is not obvious that this is how the priorities are being set.

To say "I've worked with software for decades" is to say I was there pretty much from the start.
  I would prefer not to divulge my age Wink

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Halo Hound | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 10:34 AM

Ken Avery:

Philip Spitzer:

Well, I'm no programmer,

Enough said Geeked

hehe...I figured you'd like that :-)

Posts 210
LogosEmployee
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 12:09 PM

Ken Avery:
This is why I would like to see a chart depicting a side-by-side comparisson of L3/L4 features, replacements, dropped features and a schedule of anticipated feature implimentation dates, I want to know what and when it will be baked.

Ken:

While it's possible (in theory) to construct a chart like this, i'm not convinced it would address your objections, because many of these features might well be ones that don't matter to you.

Instead, i'd like to respectfully turn this around and invite you to supply your chart or list indicating what L3 does that you can't get L4 to do. Then we can constructively address those items (what's there but different; what's actively under development or planned for future release; what's still uncertain or what will be dropped). I expect such a list would be much more manageable, and also targeted to your experience as a Logos user. 

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Halo Hound | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 12:12 PM

Sean Boisen:
i'd like to respectfully turn this around and invite you to supply your chart or list indicating what L3 does that you can't get L4 to do.

Great idea.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 12:20 PM

Ken,

I want to agree with you, but I'm afraid I can't. Look, like you, I'm frustrated that some features are missing. I've even written software to allow me to produce a bibliographic report from Logos4, something that Logos3 could do. But you seem to be under the mistaken impression that design and functionality descions made in the late 1980s must all be adhered to today.

Logos 1, for example, allowed users to install the software using floppy discs. That functionality was removed in Logos 3. A poor decision? No, of course, not. It was an old requirement that was getting in the way of progress. If you like Logos 3, it's because Logos through away the book when they designed Logos 2, and did it again when they designed Logos 3. That's how Logos works, and partly what makes it great.

To take a parallel example, in the early 1990s, it was possible to do an OR search on internet search engines. Try doing that now. Google came in, defaulted to AND, and blew away the competition. Why? Because people were willing to sacrifice the OR search, to enjoy the greater accuracy and scope of Google's searches.

I wish Logos 4 did more. I wish I could uninstall Logos 3. But I am not so much a Luddite* that I believe that progress never requires taking the occassional step backwards to set off in a better direction.

<edit>*Luddite is British slang. Sorry if it doesn't translate well internationally!</edit>

Posts 268
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 12:32 PM

Sean Boisen:

Instead, i'd like to respectfully turn this around and invite you to supply your chart or list indicating what L3 does that you can't get L4 to do. Then we can constructively address those items (what's there but different; what's actively under development or planned for future release; what's still uncertain or what will be dropped). I expect such a list would be much more manageable, and also targeted to your experience as a Logos user. 

The fact that this list does not exist raises a big question in my mind about the competency of the Logos 4 project; this list should have been made and addressed before the though of writing any code.

Sending the customer on a scavenger hunt to find what has, has not and will not be implemented is not the correct answer; in other words if no one finds the mistakes then they must not be mistakes?

Lets say Logos decides to be upfront with their customers and tell us the facts surrounding this "New Product"; it is possible that people reading the list might see a feature that they would like to use and did not realize it existed.

The approach being suggested is that if the person is not smart enough or does not know every detail of the product and does not know of or use a particular feature then the feature can be dropped and we can pretend that it never existed.

The bottom line is the best person to make this list is Logos!

Posts 24
David Oxtoby | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 12:42 PM

Mark Barnes:

... I believe that progress never requires taking the occassional step backwards to set off in a better direction.

spot on, i'm surprised as to how negative a lot of the comments are on these forums, L3 is still available and L4 is coming on leaps and bounds,  no-one is forcing anyone to upgrade and Logos have made it clear what stage L4 is at, so i think a bit less moaning and a lot more praise.

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