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Lack of Support for Links SQL

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Lack of Support for Links SQL
We purchased Links SQL in the fall of this year. We are a group of people who needed a directory for a web site that we were developing. Our experience is chiefly in HTML and Javascript. While this may be cause for amusement amongst CGI and SQL experts, we are at least conversant (hashes versus variables, etc...) in these technologies and we understood that persons with these skills would need to be hired at some point in our site development. Our strengths lie in conceptualization and "front ends" and we have discovered serious interest in our plans based on these skills alone.
We required Links SQL be moved from our former server to a new one. Gossamer Threads insisted that we would be charged (in American funds for a Canadian software firm)to do this. We accepted that cost.
Since that time, Links SQL has not worked properly.
Series of emails were sent, words exchanged, etc etc.
Our version of Links SQL does not work as it was supposed to.
It has been suggested in a number of posts that Gossamer Threads develop better documentation for their software. Forums and FAQ's are all well and good (and cheap "support"), but they do NOT excuse a software company from hiring a technical writer to outline the purpose and usage of their product. (eg: Microsoft Publisher was NOT intended for high end pre-press... but guess what? People still try to make it do that. Microsoft has since then revised its product and manual to reflect this) Gossamer Threads does not supply its customers with a software manual. While there are those who contend that this form of software is too mutable to be standardized like this, Gossamer sells a software PACKAGE called Links SQL. Thats what they sell. Why is there no documentation?
We continue to have issues with Links SQL working the way it did previously on another server. It has NEVER functioned properly since the staff at Gossamer moved it. I have tried to modify the tables and the data to a point that I am comfortable with. I dont touch what I am not comfortable or confident at. We are trying to cobble together a team of software providers and programmers that can help us develop an exceptionally promising idea of a web site into a profitable venture. We don't have any VC money or drive Jags (nor is that the intent behind developing this site); just a very good idea and our own valuable time.
Consider this as a call to programmers and Gossamer for help. We need solutions and explanations, not excuses and bank account numbers. While $75 U.S.(!) might be chump change to Gossamer, it is not to us.
I appreciate the assistance of persons like PugDog, AnthroRules and Eliot Lee within these forums, but they can only help so much.
I am personally tired of having to troubleshoot issues I know little about and frankly were not my responsibility in the first place.
Further details/suggestions/comments/rants/observations/offerings of services or assistance can be sent or asked of me at bushor@telus.net
Derisive comments not welcomed.

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Re: Lack of Support for Links SQL In reply to
I can't really speak for Gossamer Threads, however, they are improving documentation of LINKS SQL in the next generation version of the application. I believe that if you give them a chance to improve their applications, they will and have improved upon a wonderful product.

I would highly recommend looking at the NEXT GENERATION version of Links SQL since many of the bugs in earlier versions have been addressed, new features added, and also more documentation added to assist all levels of programmers and users.


Eliot Lee
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Re: Lack of Support for Links SQL In reply to
This has been addressed several times in the past, and the answers don't really change very much.

This forum is the best sort of documentation there is, since problems are documented and "fixed" in a wide range of situations. If you notice, even the most robust of software packages come with on-line help, and a manual that basically says stick the disk in the drive (and spends a great deal of time on that one manuever).

Your example of trying to make a software package do "high end" jobs is somewhat correct. But, I think this is more of the old Lotus 123 that was a "simple" spread sheet with advanced features, and people got it to walk their dog, make their coffee, and whole magazines and sections of magazines were devoted to making it do all sorts of things the authors _NEVER_ anticipated.

Same with Links SQL. Links 2.0 was used in so many ways, flat-file support just became a night mare. The only solution was to move it to SQL. Links 1.x was an attempt to migrate the program to SQL, and fix the problems that were manifest in the flat-file version. Once that was done, new problems -- mostly due to new expanded demands (uses) by the users -- became evident.

So, the second release of links was born. But, along the way, they decided to rewrite the whole program to do what users were really asking for, and what they might ask for in the future. This took a lot of time, and resources. Many of us have been in "limbo" due to this, but we are all hoping it has been worth it, since those of us in this for the long haul realize putting the time in on the front end, while not glamourous or "fun" pays off big-time down the road -- even one or two weeks later.

The new links has built in help, and the docs are growing -- and will grow -- over time. But with any new product, and even Links 1.x is "new" it takes time to get things in order, and worked out.

There are plenty of people here who can help, and GT has even opened a "Developers/Request" board for finding consultants and people to do jobs.

Most people don't have a lot of money, but still, support, problem fixes, add-ons, etc take a lot of time -- and cost. You need to understand that $400 is the first step to the process. I've put literally 100's of hours in my templates getting them simplified, and workable. In graphic design time, at a base of at least $35/hour, that would 10-20x the cost of the base program.

I've spent hundreds of hours studying the code, following it out, making fixes, finding/fixing bugs, and contributing insight into the next version so that we (the collective "user" community) doesn't find them, or have to work around them, in the next version.

But this all took _time_ that _I_ had to _INVEST_ in the company, and my partners don't understand it, and we are truly 6 months behind our time-table in many ways due to the delays of the current release. But I won't have to rewrite, rework or otherwise re-do my programs again. This base logic code will be able to carry things into the future, and whether I stay on the GT standard (for future upgrades) or veer off on my own, the base logic is now much more stable and maintainable.

If you have a need, post your request/problem/need in the Custom Modification Jobs forum, and see who bites. Many people find my rates high, but I can really only charge for my time, and that is what my time costs. But I have people to answer to, and invested a lot in my "experience." With my "free" time I put in a chunk here in the forums, and maintaining the FAQ to address what I can of the issues you bring up.

Most of them have been addressed in the next release, and I've been more quiet here in the 1.x forums recently since Eliot and Michael and others have taken on a good deal of "support" (showing there is a support community developing) and have been working with the 2.0 version. It really has addressed many of the problems, but it's a completely different way of thinking about "links".

Things work very, very differently, but over all, it's a much better program, with better logic, data flow, and the ability for GT (as well as 3rd party developers) to work on parts of the program, without affecting other parts.

PUGDOGŪ Enterprises, Inc.
FAQ: http://postcards.com/FAQ

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Re: Lack of Support for Links SQL In reply to
I just wanna add something that might not be in the right forum......

For Eliot and PUGDOG

I along of most of Links X.X users do appreciated all the time and effort that you put into helping others down here, We all are so ticky sometime about saying thanks ,but overall you guys do make a big deal of difference in here, and almost everyone who uses Links owe you something.

And everytime I see a post/replay by either one of you I know that it will be worth reading it.

You guys have a great holidays.

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Re: Lack of Support for Links SQL In reply to
Thank you, Christa...although pugdog is the real expert user of Links SQL...I have only mastered most of its core features in the past few weeks...that has enabled me to mod it the way I want it to work...I am only try to help out others like so many others have done for me with supporting technical issues I've experienced over the past few years using Links 2.0 and DBMAN.

Anyway...thanks for the compliments...I appreciate them.


Eliot Lee
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Re: Lack of Support for Links SQL In reply to
I think also that the new installation feature of Links SQL will help a lot.

There are step by step instructions and the script does the hard work for you , installing the necessary files in the correct location and chmodding them correctly too!

This forum has got to cover almost any query that Links users have and so by spending a bit of time searching the necessary forums, it is likely that an answer can be obtained.

Alex, Pugdog, Glennu and Anthrorules are always hanging around the forums to supply help if needed and so there is no real need to provide detailed support information for the products as this would probably end up confusing people more.

Paul Wilson.
(Dont blame me if I'm wrong!)
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Re: Lack of Support for Links SQL In reply to
Here's my 2 cents.

While I agree that a complete documentation of what Links SQL 'can do' would be impossible, I do agree that the basics should be addressed. While many who use this forum may argue that it is a great resource, (and it is) it is not a easy resource. Think about how many posts you find yourself reading to find a simple answer. How many times have you posted a question and received the response "this has been addressed before, search the forum"??
As to the Lotus reference above, I was one of those that had it 'walking the dog'. It was through knowing the basics of how Lotus worked that made that possible, and those basics were documented.


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Re: Lack of Support for Links SQL In reply to
hmmmm.. pugdog made the FAQ to help users.. the forum is here for users.. and lack of support from GS is due to (probably) constant developing of software.. well anyways.. if (like many users) you don't understand the faq by pugdog or find it hard to find topics in the forum that you need.. then maybe we should create a FAQ on how to do that?!#?

perhaps i can startup a 1-800 hotline just to teach you how to use the search function in this forum?

hehe.. anyways.. don't expect alot from GS.. try to use these forums and user maintained resources/references to get where you want to go..

Jerry Su
widgetz sucks