PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Discussions about our next-generation scoring application, Dorico.
lbuckley
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PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by lbuckley » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:17 pm

I strongly urge creating a manual. I agree that hard copy is a bad idea—doesn't support changes—but a manual that can be accessed from within Dorico, or even posted online for regular access is, in my view, absolutely necessary.

I have been a Sibelius user for ten years, and I work with it every week, meaning I'm very familiar with how to do the stuff I need to do. And yet I STILL constantly look stuff up in the excellent pdf manual available in Sibelius' Help menu.

There need to be set-by-step directions on how to do things. One of my biggest frustrations with the Dorico Help system is that all too often it tells you what a given area will allow you to do without telling you how to do it. There are way too few of what Dorico calls Procedures (step-by-step instructions.)

A particular example is that in a brass quintet I've just scored, I have both Bb and C trumpet parts. I know from the Help system that I can create a score that doesn't include the Bb parts, but I haven't been able to figure out how to do it—there's no Procedure page for that one.

I certainly realize creating a new app like Dorico is a massive amount of work with finite resources; but it really seems to me that telling us how to use it is a very high priority. It's not in anyone's best interests, least of all Steinberg's, to have a bunch of frustrated users out there, and these forums make it clear that that's the case.

I personally am way more frustrated about that than about missing features or bugs. My focus right now is not using it for my daily work—I'm still using Sibelius for that for the moment—it's learning how to use Dorico so I can make the switch once the application is more complete.

Please give us a detailed, step-by-step manual ASAP.
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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Douwe Eisenga » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:06 pm

Agree !!!!!
Please forget about the updates and write this manual first. I keep trying Dorico, but it is so frustrating not knowing how to do even basic things. Today I couldn't figure out how to input a dotted eight note in the tempo-text pop-up.
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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by András at Steinberg » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:20 pm

Hi Douwe, you can enter dotted eight note into the tempo pop-up as 'e.'

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Derrek » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:52 pm

Dorico 1.1, Finale (v25.4), GPO, JABB3, GWI
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Michael Aves
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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Michael Aves » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:13 pm

Yes, please give us a manual! And please let there be a pdf version. I'm a simple soul and tend to think in lines, so I can get to grips with a book - even a digital one. With the sort of http. (or whatever it is) tree-type structure Help that Dorico has at the moment, I find that I waste a lot of time running up and down the branches (rather barren at present) like a deranged squirrel.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by cantilena » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:44 pm

Here's a thought. At this point we all probably know more about specific parts of Dorico than other parts, right? It all depends on what kind of music we're working on.

Why don't we each post topics like "How to use metre popover" or "How to enter lyrics", and include everything we know about that subject? Pretty soon there would be a mini manual right here on the forums!

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by thefilmscore » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:39 pm

I agree, a detailed manual that covers all functions would be much more helpful and time saving than going through hundreds of forum topics.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by dhbailey52 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:03 am

I second the request for a PDF version of the manual when it becomes available -- that way we can have a copy of it on a tablet and read it wherever we are, working with Dorico or for reading even if not in front of the computer. I learn new software products best if I can use the manual while working at the computer with the program, but then also reading it while not at the computer, at which time I learn much more than the tiny segment which affects only my current needs when I have a problem working with the computer.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by BCov » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:33 pm

If I may add my voice to those calling for a pdf manual. Dorico may well be striving to be intuitive, but it will never become instinctive i.e. habitual, as Sibelius is to some of us, until we have found out how to use it. We need more than statements of what the software can do - we need a detailed "how to". Sibelius 5 came with a handy booklet detailing functions and "how to", along with some simple projects to get you started. It got me started. Not everyone, after all, has the mindset of a programmer.

I remain enthusiastic, but we really do need a "way in" to many of this program's potentially excellent functions. I accept that some of the apparent opacity is due to not fully operative functionality (i.e. things that are there, but do, or seem, not to work). No doubt these will be resolved in time.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Terry Dwyer » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:30 pm

What they said.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Robert Enns » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:14 pm

I too have found the current help file less than helpful. What you can do but not how to do it is what I have mostly found when I searched a topic. And that when I could even find a reference.
I imagine the team is well aware of this.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Hartmut » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:43 pm

And if you do a Manual PLEASE let it be searchable for terms which are near by the right theme - I usually don't know, how a certain function is named - so I can't search for it.... (hope you understand what I mean, my english is not so fantastic ;-) )
If you do it like the Cubase PDF it is useless often... 'cause I don't know the term I have to search for...

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Vaughan Schlepp » Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:15 pm

That's always a problem, especially since all of us come from different worlds, both qua software as native language. I've had that problem several times on this forum simply because I'm mostly a Finale user and most of the Dorico users and its makers come from Sibelius. I even got gently chastised for not perusing this forum well enough, but I'd looked for the term Independent Time Signatures, as they're called in Finale. How was I to guess that here they're referred to as Multiple Time Signatures? Perhaps someone who has lots of time on their hands (!) could make a kind of searchable glossary with the equivalent terms used in the different notation software.
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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Derrek » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:17 pm

They could also offer something like the old Finale Visual Index: a page or two of music annotated with the terms used by the Finale program. I used to keep a copy clipped above my MIDI keyboard so I'd know what to search for if I ran into trouble. Finale first digitized it and has since abandoned it (perhaps because the program grew too complex), but I still miss it on occasion and recommend it as one way for the Dorico Team to help us learn its terminology.
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Michael Aves
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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Michael Aves » Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:07 pm

Derrek
Spot on! Sibelius has had something similar since Sibelius 6 (I don't know about Sibelius 8). It covers 10 pages.
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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by jsummerskvi » Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:12 pm

Yes, PLEASE! The online help is useless for many terms that appear in the program. For example, one gets no results for these search terms: beaming, macro, script, fanned, offset, cancellation, consolidation. I'm sure there are more. This is completely untenable. I feel like I've paid a lot of money for a virtual doorstop.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by wconable » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:33 pm

I strongly agree! I don't use Dorico nearly as much as I want to, because it takes me so long to find the existing switches to do very simple things.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Jim Druckenmiller » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:01 pm

Yes there have been a some pretty good reasons for adding in a detailed manual mentioned here. But there's also a valued tradition to consider as well, concerning how online forums work.

How can a cranky forum member chew out some newbie when they can't even post up the acronym RTFM on this very forum?

It's simply too much for a lot of us to handle, so I hope we get one soon.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Alberto Maria » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:44 pm

I fear something is going to change about Steinberg manuals, to save costs and to follow sudden changes and improvements. And Dorico is so refined that it needs a real quick access to its documentation. I hope this will go better as soon as possible. :?

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Mats Frendahl » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:30 pm

In the late 90ies I used to work with "online help" at major companies. The estimated cost for documentation was then (I don't know today) 20% of the development budget. Times may have improved on the ratio with the introduction of more modern and efficient tools. Given the ratio in late 90ies, with a staff of 10, the team would then need approx. 2 full time technical authors. One company I worked at found the in-house documentation team so expensive to run that they tried a "community based" help-system where the users were to supply the knowledge and the writing. I don't know how it worked out.

The doc. team is always far behind the dev. team (see it as water skiing where the programmers drive the speed boat... and far behind is the doc. team... wait for the next 90 or 180-degree turn...). Given time they will improve, but they will hardly be in synch with the software, it's in the nature of software development and documentation. Marketing department cries "Release the software, we need to get it out now!". Documentation department cries "Wait, we are not ready yet!". Guess who always win? It's nothing new under the sun, it's been like this for decades.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by emasters » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:36 pm

Another Sibelius user here - with high-hopes for Dorico long-term. Off to a slow start though, given the lack of detailed information. I don't think the team should trade software coding and test with technical documentation. Both are required for users to get value from the product. Hiring writers (in-house or third-party), seems like a reasonable expectation for a new product launch. Not trying to be negative -- just pointing out that a complex product benefits from detailed information for users to get the most from it (in whatever form works best - written, videos, etc.)
Ed

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Rob Tuley » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:03 am

Mats Frendahl wrote:Given the ratio in late 90ies, with a staff of 10, the team would then need approx. 2 full time technical authors.
Plus the time it takes for the technical authors to learn how to use the product - in my experience "tech authors" tend to be experts at writing, but not experts at knowing what to write.
Mats Frendahl wrote: One company I worked at found the in-house documentation team so expensive to run that they tried a "community based" help-system where the users were to supply the knowledge and the writing. I don't know how it worked out.
We have been doing that for a long time, but you still need a dedicated team of people to (1) keep control of the overall structure, otherwise you finish up with a disorganized heap of material which only its authors can navigate, and (2) to weed out the inevitable unintentional errors and omissions - for example when somebody feels good about having figured out how to do something, writes a 5-page description to share the method they invented with the rest of the community, but didn't realize there was already an option in the system do to it with one mouse-click ... :oops:

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by madsv » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:46 am

wconable wrote:I strongly agree! I don't use Dorico nearly as much as I want to, because it takes me so long to find the existing switches to do very simple things.
'
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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by Mats Frendahl » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:28 am

Rob Tuley wrote:Plus the time it takes for the technical authors to learn how to use the product - in my experience "tech authors" tend to be experts at writing, but not experts at knowing what to write.
Assuming the tech. author is "in" from the start (and here the cost starts to build up...), attend development meetings, try development versions etc. the author should be pretty up to date, and certainly an expert after x number of years. The costs though... The Dorico team is pretty small, but for a large development team of say 30+ programmers actually the guys that knows the most about a software (from the user perspective) are the tech. writers. This does not apply to small teams though. I think I read somewhere (possibly from Daniel) that the doc. dept. came in rather late in the development of Dorico, and that is a challenge for any tech. writer.
Rob Tuley wrote:...but you still need a dedicated team of people to (1) keep control of the overall structure, otherwise you finish up with a disorganized heap of material which only its authors can navigate, and (2) to weed out the inevitable unintentional errors and omissions
True. And re-write texts to conform to some kind of standard/template, and redo images as we all know how experienced some are in that... IF the goal is to have something that correct and looks presentable, i.e. It is certainly not an easy task.

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Re: PLEASE give us a detailed Manual

Post by geoffD » Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:40 am

With the documentation we currently have, I'd like to know if and when it has been updated. One of the arguments for on-line documentation is that it can cope with frequent updates, and I think knowing if it had been updated would help. Or is this already easy?
Thanks.

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