How to re-write and release a replacement product.

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Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 6:07 PM

Wink

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Halo Hound | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 6:11 PM

Ray Timmermans:
Prioritizing in L4 is simply not as intuitive as L3. In L3 the user had more direct control over the outcome of searches from the context menu. Prioritizing doesn't have a method for doing this, nor is the documentation all that helpful. In fact I have to ask:  what documentation? I have never received a manual of the quality of BibleWorks, for example..a complaint I first made in beta testing of L3 in 2005!!!

I would argue that L4 Prioritizing is more intuitive then L3, but not as useful. Dragging a resource to a list is pretty simple and pretty intuitive. It works just the way Logos wants it to. Its just not as functional. this is one area I think Logos over simplified things. I truly was asking simply to see if he knew about prioritizing...no agenda beyond that.

As far as Biblework's documentation, no doubt about it, Bibleworks rocks in this department. They also have a completely different philosophy that makes documentation much easier. They have never, nor do I think they ever will, revalutionalize their user interface in the way Logos has. This means that while the do need to review their manuals they do not need to re-write them every time. They also do not have to coordinate with multiple departments the way Logos does. Bibleworks is a great program. Logos is a great program. each does things differently and each have different goals in mind.

Certainly the documentation for L4 has much improvement to go. I would actually be curious though to know the number of people that use the documentation. Not that a low percentage would be an excuse for inadequate documentation, but I'm sure it would inform their priorities.

Posts 1972
Damian McGrath | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 6:15 PM

Philip Spitzer:
As far as Biblework's documentation, no doubt about it, Bibleworks rocks in this department.

Except that BW7 did not have a manual (and the UI changed substantially between BW6 and BW7)

They made the decision to no longer print manuals because of constant changes to the program.

In many ways this was a shame. I became quite a power user with BW6 because of the excellent manual. 

BUT, the helpfile is excellent and complete and constantly being updated.

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Halo Hound | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 6:16 PM

Damian McGrath:
BUT, the helpfile is excellent and complete and constantly being updated.

the help file is the documentation I was referring to. I will take it to a book any day :-)

Posts 1972
Damian McGrath | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 6:21 PM

Philip Spitzer:
I will take it to a book any day :-)

Really? I found working through the book in the BW6 days much easier than reading a chm file... Horses for courses of course....

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Halo Hound | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 6:24 PM

Damian McGrath:

Philip Spitzer:
I will take it to a book any day :-)

Really? I found working through the book in the BW6 days much easier than reading a chm file... Horses for courses of course....

I found clicking icons and drop down menus for hours and resorting to the help file as a last resort more beneficial :-)

Posts 260
D Bouey | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 6:54 PM

Philip Spitzer:

I found clicking icons and drop down menus for hours and resorting to the help file as a last resort more beneficial :-)

This is "vaguely" reminiscent of my spouse of three-and-a-half decades. Last resorting anything instructional is the norm, be it software help files, road trip maps or various and sundry directions of any kind. Wink

Desktop: Win7/64, i7-860, 16GB, Nvidia GeForce GTX 460

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 7:20 PM

Ken Avery:

Let me get you caught up on what I have been saying in layman terms; I believe the core engine functionality of Logos has changed in a way that does not support keylinking the way it use to, it is basically broke in comparison to Logos 3, apperantly this is not a big issue for some.

It appears the architecture has changed and also the requirements when it comes to keylinking.

If you want a SW discussion I'm happy to oblige. But did you read my post on p4?

 

Dave
===

Windows PC, Android phone

Posts 1940
Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 7:21 PM

Damian McGrath:

Except that BW7 did not have a manual (and the UI changed substantially between BW6 and BW7)

They made the decision to no longer print manuals because of constant changes to the program.

But the in program help was EXCELLENT!! I think Logos in program help is also very good. I just don't like the default way it opens in that little window along the side. But that easy to fix. Just pop up the window.

 

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Damian McGrath | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 7:34 PM

Kevin A. Purcell:
But the in program help was EXCELLENT!!

Which is exactly what I said...

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 7:43 PM

Ken Avery:

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.

I use both for hours each day.  I like the floating panel and the automatic saving of one's place in the text which makes reading very pleasant, but, if I want to do some morphological searching or make notes on anything, I use L3.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 268
Ken Avery | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 7:48 PM

Dave Hooton:

Ken Avery:

Let me get you caught up on what I have been saying in layman terms; I believe the core engine functionality of Logos has changed in a way that does not support keylinking the way it use to, it is basically broke in comparison to Logos 3, apperantly this is not a big issue for some.

It appears the architecture has changed and also the requirements when it comes to keylinking.

If you want a SW discussion I'm happy to oblige. But did you read my post on p4?

 

Yes, I am really wondering how keylinking will be replaced, I hope proritization is not the answer.

Posts 448
Mike S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 8:02 PM

Ken Avery:

JackCaviness:

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!

Ken

Your multiple posts make me wonder if you have ever heard of these companies: Microsoft, Apple? They don't seem to think that your absolutes are so absolute.

 

Time for SW school again Geeked

What changes and what does not change depends on what type of SW you are writing;

...

You can maintain this information and provide many ways to view it; the base data fields can stay the same while the ways to view and edit the data can change in several ways and not affect the base design.

The point is, if the program is only providing user interface presentation stuff then there is more opportunity for change without changing the underlying architecture, kind of like changing clothes, you still have the same body functioning underneath.

Before all you non-sw people start linking pages that confirm your own prejudices you might want to spend a little time understanding what you are talking about; what type of program Logos is and should we expect it to be randomly changing because that is what some software does? 

Let me get you caught up on what I have been saying in layman terms; I believe the core engine functionality of Logos has changed in a way that does not support keylinking the way it use to, it is basically broke in comparison to Logos 3, apperantly this is not a big issue for some.

It appears the architecture has changed and also the requirements when it comes to keylinking.

As someone who works in software, and has worked in software for many (many) years in various positions (including developer of all the kinds of software you mention), I must say that I find your application of the "Laws of Upgrading" to be quite personal, and not in any way absolutes in the business of software. Don't get me wrong... good axioms... good approaches, but never what makes a "good upgrade." 

Your arguments actually remind me quite a lot of the arguments made by users (and developers) of text-based interfaces that were being replaced by "Windows versions" that were very much less productive, lacked the kinds of shortcuts that made greens screen users so darn fast. Frankly, they were right; and so are you. And they were wrong... and so are you Smile

They (and you) were right to raise cain about their frustrations. Many of them quite simply refused to "upgrade" for many years and learned to live with bugs that some would find amazingly unproductive. I actually know of one case where someone spent huge amounts of cash to buy Alpha-based machines, to continue running a particular version of VMS, that would run a particular version of the software that they felt gave them what they wanted... they didn't want any of those new fangled things like unicode. They didn't care about connecting to that crazy internet thing to interact with partners. They wanted the UI and functionality to remain as it was on the version they liked and wanted to stay on. They could customize and build other software around it to work with partners! Just leave my software alone! In the mean time, the software developer (OK, a couple hundred of them) had to focus on a marketplace that was moving, on tech stacks that were changing as fast as they were, to open up to new customers using many different currencies, languages and had new needs for security and compliance with laws. 

You may be that customer, but I don't think so. Logos isn't that ISV.

Logos is taking us onto the bleeding edge instead of being pulled there. They're playing the role of market leader instead of follower, and they're gaining new customers with their new direction that never would have come without it. I definitely see Logos in the upper left of the gartner magic quad.

As one of those new customers, who doesn't have much of a clue about the fantastic nature of the "old", I desperately want you to raise your voice, and loudly. But not so that you can get your specific feature back the way it was, and not based on some set of rules that you claim to know that Logos should be following, do it so that you can help make it a better product.

Please do it in a way that Logos do more with your feedback then "go back to the old way", don't just try to take them (or us) to "Software School." I've been there and done it, including making the (very hard) decisions to remove, yes, remove, features to replace them with features that we knew would frustrate our current users for a while, but that we knew was a step in the right direction. OK, so we didn't know, we hoped. In some cases I was wrong. In other cases, I was right. Smack-dead-spot-on right, and I've had old customers thank me for opposing them and frustrating them. I would hope we can avoid being dogmatic about feature implementation or supposed "rules" of the software business, and instead be evangelistic about what we want to accomplish, and how and why we don't like the new and we did like the old. I see some of that in your posts, but you just keep going back to your dogma about the software business that you don't represent quite so accurately. 

Please take my words as constructive criticism. I'm not trying to shut you up by any means, but I would like to better understand what you really care about and how it is different in a substantive way. 

Blessings, 

Mike

p.s. I have always worked for ISVs and consulting firms that focused on software for businesses, nothing direct to individual consumers. 

Posts 1940
Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 8:07 PM

Mike S.

Kudos to you. You took an opposing view but were not belligerent about it. Thanks for helping to keep the discourse high. I found your insight as both a new user and software coder insightful and helpful.

Posts 73
Bill Bougie | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 8:44 PM

This discussion reminds me of when Logos went from LLS 2.0 to Series X.

 

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 8:49 PM

Ken Avery:

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.

The fun stuff always blows up on the forums when I'm on the road. :-)

i apologize for not re-naming the software, In the past, we went from Logos Bible Software v1.6 to Logos Library System to Libronix Digital Library System/Logos Bible Software Series X. Each of these transitions was intended to make it clear that we'd rewritten, not just updated.

We considered this for Logos 4 -- everything from a completely new name to a new platform name. But we didn't have the energy to re-educate the market, and didn't want to give up the brand equity in Logos Bible Software, which is what people end up calling it no matter what. (Or Libronix, which added to the confusion.)

I totally understand and appreciate your software principles. It's what Microsoft followed for years, and it's why my 1986 DOS programs run today. Very cool. None of my Apple IIe code runs anywhere except in emulators.

On the other hand, Microsoft takes a pretty thorough beating for lack of innovation and bloat, and there's an ENORMOUS cost in testing and maintaining that backwards compatibility. (It must be awful to be on that testing team. Or worse, to be assigned to fix one of the bugs the team finds!)

Logos 4 is to Logos 3 what the Mac was to the Apple IIe. 

(Actually, we're a little nicer. Logos 4 reads your old books. The Apple IIe software -- 10,000+ packages at the time, as I recall -- was all useless.)

As an Apple IIe user who got an original Mac, I can tell you it was in some ways a step back. (One disk drive!) But in other ways? It was the coolest thing on earth.

It's funny to me to read all the outside guesses about how we make decisions at Logos. (I'm not criticizing; I'm just amused.) Some are dead on (we do like to earn some revenue after years of R&D!) and others way off base. I particularly like the idea that "development" sold "management" a bill of goods on the re-write. Since I'm a lead instigator of the re-write (with the help of a brilliant team!), the development manager, and the guy who decided it was time to ship it. :-)

Ken Avery:
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.

I'm glad you think it's salvageable. :-) But I don't share your goals.

My goal isn't to maintain a particular set of features, data formats, and user interface for decades. My goal is to more people do more and better Bible study.

I believe that Logos 3 had reached the limits of its design. We had found the people who would invest in learning its UI in order to do what it could do. But it wasn't accessible and easy enough for the next group of people.

For good business reasons, among many others, we're describing Logos 4 as an upgrade, and working to ensure that your notes, highlights, resource purchases, etc. transition into the future. We do value and appreciate our existing users. But our mission is to reach even more people, and that's what drives us to innovate and experiment. Because after 8 years of the Libronix DLS engine, even with tremendous growth, it was clear it wasn't going to get double or triple as many people engaged in Bible study. Maybe a nice 10% growth each year. And we want more.

I'm a bit nervous being so direct -- please don't read this as our not caring about our existing users! We do, and we want your feedback, and to build a product you're happy to keep using and upgrading. But I hope you can appreciate and share our goal of engaging even more users. And if we're going to get 2x, 3x, 4x more people doing better Bible study, that's going to take some bold new ideas. Just tweaking the old thing gets you just tweaked results.

I feel like I said some of this before... "Throwing it all away and starting over is incredibly rare in the software world. It is considered a dangerous business decision." It's like I anticipated this forum thread! :-)

 http://blog.logos.com/archives/2009/11/introducing_logos_bible_software_4.html

-- Bob

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Richard DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 8:55 PM

Thanks for that Mike. And for the other thoughtful posts in this thread on all sides. I especially appreciate hearing from 'experts' even when they disagree. I don't consider myself one, at least not about software, or the marketplace, but I'm genuinely interested in the discussion and have refrained from commenting until now. [I'll also admit that there were a few posts I didn't like very much at all. But I'll say no more about that.]

I can say that as a long time user of Logos software, I am very encouraged by the steps Logos is taking in Logos4. It tells me that Logos is leading the pack here in Bible research software development, breaking new ground as they go. Logos4 is already addressing much of the frustration with Libronix, and in my view, it is doing so marvelously. I'll grant a couple of things have to come up to speed yet, but it is already a much better product incomplete than Libronix is now -- at least for me. And while there was a re-learning curve for me, I actually find the transition from Logos3 to Logos4 easier than the one from Logos2 to Logos3.

Another bit of encouragement is Logos' deal with Zondervan. Not only did Zondervan realize it couldn't compete with Logos, it made a deal with them, recognizing them as the industry leader. This bodes well for the future of Logos, and will, I hope, start a trend among other Christian publishers (Eerdmans, please!).

That being said, the difficulties many are facing are quite real, and not at all limited to people being set in their ways. There are some genuine issues with Logos4 on some systems on which it runs very, very slowly. This is mystifying, and can't be attributed to inadequate system spec's. I wish there were a place where users with both a good and bad experience with Logos speed issues could upload a standard, in depth, system spec data sheet. Such issues as background tasks, services, and driver conflicts with WPF, or even chipset incompatibility could be explored and the speed problem at least narrowed down a bit, or at least certain theories excluded. Since WPF operates so close to the hardware (bypassing and creating it's own virtual OS - if I understand it right), and since it's so new, incompatibility issues, that show up as degraded usability, can't be completely unexpected.

There seems to be some hints that Logos is aware of these issues and is working on them, but it's hard to see anything definite in these forums. It would go a long way for a lot of people (me included) to hear Logos say something as vague as "We know there's a problem with poor performance for some who's systems that meet or exceed our minimum and even our recommended system spec's. We are still trying to determine what the cause of this is. We're working on the problem, but don't have a working solution yet."

I have read that the current beta (2) and the next (3) are addressing some performance issues. I am on the beta2 for 4.0a and find it stable, with some cool and helpful new features. But I can't speak to performance issues, since I didn't have a problem before.

To those weighing in on this thread, I'm quite certain it would be more productive to speak specifically about what you find frustrating, and ask if there's a better way, or an easier way. If you don't like a solution, make a suggestion. If there are speed issues, offer to help decipher the issues. Expressing frustration, angst, etc,. has it's place, but finding solutions to the problems and addressing the issues in a constructive atmosphere goes farther in making Logos4 as good as it can be.

EDIT: I wrote this before I saw Bob's post. Thanks Bob. Your perspective is so valueable and encouraging for those of us who have thousands of dollars already invested in Logos. I agree with you: go after more people! The bigger Logos becomes, the more stable my investment becomes as well. And Logos4 is a definite winner in my book. Thanks for taking the risk.

 Help links: WIKI;   Videos; Logos 5 FAQ (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 1 2009 10:40 PM

Ken Avery:
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.

Er ...a... I'm not a guy but I live on the planet third from some sun/star - never knew it's formal name - in a non-descript region of a non-descript galaxy. Here, when we write replacement software, we sometimes engage in an activity known as process re-engineering. In this process one looks at what each process is intended to achieve. Then you look for ways to achieve it that may take fewer steps, decrease error rate, decrease training requirements etc. As a general practice, one does not allow for all logically possible cases ... and ocassionally, cases that users said they didn't use/need are in fact necessary so you add them back in. I'm very glad to know that it is done differently in your world. I think this means that Logos has truly gone beyond international!

Logos4catholics Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 42
Edward hyndman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 2 2009 2:20 AM

Thank you Bob for this reply and the directness. I have been a user and customer for many years now, and will probably continue to be, though I admit working with Logos 4 has caused me to look around at competitors for the first time. I am not a power-user of 3 or 4, but I do a lot of Bible study for myself and on behalf of others. Very important to me within the 3 program were verse-lists, notes you could paste web page info into, the ability to create documents within the program like notes and so on, add in information from elsewhere or my own and then print them, the ability to cut and paste into and out of the program windows, all of them, so easily, and what I found to be an easy "UI".

Trying to get my head round 4 as some kind of "upgrade" has been difficult. Indeed, for my own purposes if 3 were released as an upgrade to 4, Id accept it more easily :)

The UI of 4 is ok. I use enough programs to not worry about changes that way too much, and I think 4 is "clean" and the print looks nice on screen. The graphs for the various analysis is prettier too. If the searching capability is better it is better in a way I don't see - never look under the bonnet/hood, don't care what the engines doing as long as it is doing it.

So I like 4, in lots of ways its nicer to look at. But today, when im doing my work, I'll have to use 3. Maybe in a 6 months I shall be able to use 4 for my work? Or maybe I won't. I don't really know, but it is helpful to read your thoughts and especially your purpose behind 4. I wish I had read more posts and wikis and details about this earlier, but, cest la vie. This brings me to my point at last though. I have been trying to work out what has bothered me so much about the 3 to 4 move. People have said its a beta, and its not an upgrade, it should be renamed, but none of this is quite it. I think it is rooted in the fact that the relationship with Logos has been extraordinarily good in the past. That is why criticism is citiqued on here too I think. I quite quickly clicked upgrade and did not do due diligence because, well, its Logos. I trust Logos. We have the same aims; its the Bible!

So it was thought time for  "Throwing it all away and starting over.." - that's fine. Good thing. There is a time for everything. But I had gotten used to the abilites 3 gave me and finding them gone in 4 and not knowing if 4 will be able even in the future to do what I have been able to do means a kind of uncertain future for me with Logos. I love your purpose

"My goal isn't to maintain a particular set of features, data formats, and user interface for decades. My goal is to more people do more and better Bible study."

I hope its realised many times over. It's just this; Logos 4's future might not be for me, and I guess I don't know yet wether to invest more notes and work and book buying into Logos or not.

Thanks again for the clarity of your post on this.

Eddie

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Halo Hound | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 2 2009 3:50 AM

Edward hyndman:
Very important to me within the 3 program were verse-lists,

The thing I miss the most...its coming though.

Edward hyndman:
notes you could paste web page info into

If you mean adding a Web address to text in notes you can do that. Highlight the text you want to hyperlink, and type the address into the "hyperlink" box. You have to use the full address so include http://www when you create the link.

Edward hyndman:
the ability to create documents within the program like notes and so on

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this.

Edward hyndman:
add in information from elsewhere or my own and then print them

A lot of people miss the printing.

Edward hyndman:
the ability to cut and paste into and out of the program windows

I'm taking it you mean search windows and Passage Guide type of stuff. I don't know about the guides, but I'm pretty sure Bob has said we will be able to that from the search windows with an upcoming feature he's calling "search analysis"

 

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