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v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updated (Read 17821 times)
Mark Anderson
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v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updated
Mar 12th, 2008, 12:13pm
 
The web sites for aTbRef and the TB-manual-as-HTML are now correct as to v4.2.0. Although generally the PDF is only updated on major releases, the v4.2.0 manual included a number of additions corrections from v4.1.0.

The associated TBX source files of the above projects won't be available for download until some issues with the new (v4.2.0) feature allowing notes to be templates are ironed out. Incidentally this is nothing major, just things specific to internal template use that might confuse the less experienced TB user (for whom I made the sites) and certainly not to be misinterpreted as a reason to delay updating your TB installation to v4.2.0!
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Mark Anderson
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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updat
Reply #1 - Mar 19th, 2008, 8:00pm
 
aTbRef updated for v4.2.1.  TBXs for both this and the v4.2.0 TBX version of the manual are now available for download from my .mac pages. Both TBX projects now use internal templates so everything bar graphics is in the TBX itself.
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« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2008, 4:41am by Mark Anderson »  

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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updat
Reply #2 - Mar 21st, 2008, 4:38pm
 
But … what is the easiest way to print out the User Manual, which counts 277 small pages, without using 277 sheets of paper? The layout of the present manual is excellent for use on the screen, but certainly not very suited for printing out. Or am I missing something?
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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updat
Reply #3 - Mar 21st, 2008, 7:10pm
 
Have you tried printing out my HTML 'version' of the manual?  For instance, the Actions section of the actual PDF manual is 19 pages.  I just 'printed' the same section from the web site as a PDF and it's 9 pages (of A4). The web version is 37 web pages of varying length, each corresponding to a major section or appendix of the manual.
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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updat
Reply #4 - Mar 21st, 2008, 7:35pm
 
About 3 years ago, I was giving a lot of business to a local Kinko's and they did a favor for me. I gave them the manual as a PDF on a disk and they were able to print the pages two to a sheet (double sided, so actually 4), cut them, and bind them with a cover. Beautiful!

I have no idea how much this would cost if I actually had to pay for it. Smiley

I think I read  Mark B say somewhere he couldn't understand why people want a printed manual. It's nice to be able to read away from the computer. It helps one see the overall structure, as opposed to looking things up. And it's nice to have something beside you while working in the application.
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« Last Edit: Mar 21st, 2008, 7:39pm by RobertW »  
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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updat
Reply #5 - Mar 26th, 2008, 2:46am
 
Yes; and perhaps Mark B., who must know everything by heart, isn't exactly the best person to judge about the usefulness of a printable user guide.

A User Guide on screen is good for a quick look at something, but not for extensive reading. And given the fact that Tinderbox has a rather steep learning curve, a printable user guide is practically a must.

Devon Technologies (from Devonthink etc.) ship their products both with a User Guide for use on screen and with a printable User Guide. Excellent initiative; I hope it will be followed by Tinderbox.

In the meantime I have printed the Tinderbox User Manual chapter after chapter from www.acrobatfaq.com. I presume, Mark A., that is the version you are referring to.
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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updat
Reply #6 - Mar 26th, 2008, 10:08am
 
@Timotheus, yes.

My HTML manual experiment has only really come of age since v4 changes to make it easier to mark up code samples.  I've also reduced the number of output (HTML) pages as I use no cross linking.  If I did want such links, the project gets more complex (like aTbRef) as TB doesn't export TB links if a link will terminate in a page included within another pages. IOW, it doesn't make <a name=""> anchors (and I'm not suggesting it would be trivial to 'just' add them - TB isn't a web page authoring tool after all). One interesting aspect of the recent change (exporting fewer HTML pages) is the project's size on disk has got smaller while the PDF's grown bigger and is now the larger of the two. It was the other way round before - something a saw as a demerit to using a TBX 'master'.

In fairness to Mark B., an issue here that we users don't see is that tinkering with the (PDF) manual is none too trivial as it's currently laid out in DTP format that doesn't (I believe) have automatic page re-flow. This means regular small edits aren't simple.

I maintain the HTML help by differencing each new release of the PDF manual with its predecessor in Adobe Acrobat and then editing my TBX accordingly and republishing.

Various people have suggested using a TBX master doc and using HTML export -> import to Word -> Word placed in Quark as a route to serving both formats (HTML & PDF) as straight HTML -> PDF tends to give lack of control on page breaks and awkward results. I've tinkered around enough with the TBX -> HTML end to see that HTML/Word/Quark is a less instant and seamless process than one might imagine. For instance, although the <code> detection works nicely for export, if you look at the TBX source of my HTML Help you'll see the source text now has to include visible mark-up that's not part of the text proper. It also means the author/proofer working in TBX needs to understand HTML.

Changing the page size of the PDF manual, e.g. to US letter, is another possibility that's been floated by users but if the current master doc doesn't reflow text, it's a long manual task to 'resize' the pages. In which case, what size do most users want? ('Both' is not the ideal answer!)

I note all this to make the point that 'simply' having 2 help formats is a bit more work that we users might envisage and the time comes out of the same resource used to fix and improve Tinderbox itself. Given that, should a change be needed I think a key point to establish clearly is what layout (PDF and/or HTML) users actually want, if not the current one.
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« Last Edit: Mar 26th, 2008, 11:03am by Mark Anderson »  

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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updat
Reply #7 - Mar 26th, 2008, 3:08pm
 
Thanks, Mark, for your thorough explanation!
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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updat
Reply #8 - Mar 26th, 2008, 5:24pm
 
aTbRef is now updated to v4.2.3.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updated
Reply #9 - Jul 19th, 2008, 7:56am
 
aTbRef updated to reflect v4.2.5. Also available as a TBX from here.
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Re: v4.2.0 - aTbRef and TB HTML manual sites updated
Reply #10 - Aug 28th, 2008, 1:43pm
 
aTbRef isn't being updated for v4.5 as I'm busy doing a new version based on v4.5 as a baseline.  I'll leave the old site in place so links won't break.

The prosaic task is to zero the change log and removes all the "Added in v.X " type of references. I'm also making a section listing action code operators as a total list and split out by function as with Export codes and System attributes.

I've other ideas but would welcome input from anyone who uses aTbRef as a reference to their ongoing TB use. Ideally make input direct to me rather than in the thread, unless things really warrant discussion.
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