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jaclaz's RANTS about Winbuilder


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#1 was_jaclaz

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 12:23 PM

Thanks to the new availability of Winbuilder in a form that would run on Win2K :cheers:, I had some time to play with it.

There are a number of features that I find simply unreasonable or unuseful, I may be wrong of course, but I would like to know the reason of some of these "by design" features:
1) When you go to the Download tab, Winbuilder automagically connects to the internet and starts downloding stuff. WHY? :cheers:
Cannot I have a button to the effect of "Connect and check for updates" and decide myself when to connect?
The connection happens to the pre-checked servers:
updates.boot-land.net
livexp.boot-land.net
vistape.net/project

With a slow connection this is a nuisance, expecially for one that has no interest in one of the pre-checked servers contents.

2) Only AFTER the connection and updates have done whatever they are supposed to do, the "Welcome to Winbuilder" page appears.

It seems to me simply obvious that this page should appear BEFORE anything else.

3) The page also has a section about "Latest Forum posts".

First thing is that this access could be part of the "500 Server Error", this is simply crazy.
I want to build something, I need NO distraction, if and when I want to read the Forum, I know how to do that.

4) After what above described I find in top left of the windows:
"390 selected files and 336,39 Mb to download"
written in tiny letters

Since I bet that a large number of people will simply not read the above, and just press the "Download" button, this seems to me like an unneeded waste of time and bandwith, the amount to be downloaded should be displayed in LARGE, FRIENDLY LETTERS.

5) So, let's say I am NOT interested in optional, livexp or vistape, next thing I do is to uncheck these projects:
Now I should download 0 (zero) bytes, instead I get:
"255 selected files and 220,47 Mb to download"
:cheers:
By expanding the tree I see that a great number of files are still checked.

6) I try again, deselecting the pre-checked server and just selecting nativeex.boot-land.net and I get:
"189 selected files and 11,79 Mb to download"
unchecking the project I get:
"120 selected files and 7,32 Mb to download"
This is crazy.
I am sure a number of people interested in native_ex and that are not interested in VistaPE will download ANYWAY some 200 Mb of stuff they do not need, as they would simply uncheck the project without unchecking the server. :cheers:

7) I press the "Main" button and I am back to the "Welcome to winbuilder" page, I select nativeex and get the contents of this page:
http://nativeex.boot-land.net/
that helps me very little, if I try again with picoxp, I get this page:
http://picoxp.boot-land.net/
which is MUCH more helpful, as it lists the .scripts in a single page, with a minimal description for it.
I try again with mobileos.boot-land.net, and get this page:
http://mobileos.boot-land.net/
that DOES NOT help me AT ALL.

Moral of the story, the behaviour of Winbuilder is different between projects, even those made by the same developer (psc :) in this example of nativeex and picoxp).

I think we need a standard of some kind, the "default" page of picoxp in the example appeared to me the most useful, whilst the brief instructions of the nativeex page are useful but should not "hide" the list and description of .scripts.

8) the "available" web servers:
It seems to me like this is a "pre-configured" setting within Winbuilder.
The only useful thing of having online access would be to connect to an updated page listing ALL available servers, and it seems to me that this approach is not used. :cheers:

End of first part of RANT.

Sorry :cheers: if I put it down rather bluntly, but if I had used more a more diplomatic approach it wouldn't have been a good, liberatory, rant. :cheers:

The intention is however of constructive criticism, with the only aim to better the "winbuilder experience", I see enormous potentialities "ruined" by marginal problems, that I am sure can be fixed/bettered.

:cheers:

jaclaz

#2 pscEx

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 01:35 PM

#1 .. #4:
Nuno is the 'Chief Designer' and I do not want to discuss here, inspite I have similar ideas ...

#5, #6:
I already complained this and did a change some days before.
Maybe it is already in the latest 'nightly build' from Thursday, if not, it will be in the next one.

#7:
There is a conflict between
  • Inventory (picoXP)
  • 'Manual' (nativeEx)
Only one of them can be displayed on the page.
And because I in many cases explained how to do a successful 'One-Click-Build', with nativeEx I decided for the 'Manual'.

But you are right, there should be a WinBuilder unique solution.

#8:
Good idea! This assumes a 'well known' server containig a list of available servers.
You are the volunteer to maintain this list! (?)
If yes, I'll try to code in WinBuilder (#1: Local update on user decision only :cheers: )

Peter

#3 Nuno Brito

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 03:02 PM

Hi Jaclaz and Peter.

When you go to the Download tab, Winbuilder automagically connects to the internet and starts downloding stuff. WHY?


Because wb needs to know which valid servers are available to use instead of hard coding them inside the binary.


8) the "available" web servers:
It seems to me like this is a "pre-configured" setting within Winbuilder.
The only useful thing of having online access would be to connect to an updated page listing ALL available servers, and it seems to me that this approach is not used.


This is used and is related to the first topic.

When the user enters the download center for the first time it will download the updated list of servers from http://updates.boot-land.net

This is done to avoid static server locations that might change in the future, look here: http://updates.boot-...der_Updates.ini

Cannot I have a button to the effect of "Connect and check for updates" and decide myself when to connect?


You already have such button.

To remove automatic download use this on your WinBuilder.ini
[Main]

WebServer=

Then you will manually need to click on the "Refresh list of servers" button inside the tab that lists the available servers.

But by default I think it's preferable that new users change as little as possible on the default configuration to let things work "out of the box" rather than having to guess which servers do what and deselect afterwards they can browse the reported contents and read the introduction pages for each server.

A "Download Center" should be as simple to use as possible and people when visiting are expected to download "things" rather than needing to worry about configurations.

The contents of each server is handled by project managers, the overall size weather excessive or not is also their doing.

Peter noticed some bugs when deselecting scripts some days ago, let's hope they can be spotted.

2) Only AFTER the connection and updates have done whatever they are supposed to do, the "Welcome to Winbuilder" page appears.


This is a page that is listed on the "generic" server and is only read after getting the initial list of servers as any other server. This also allows to change this initial page with dynamic content as necessary.


3) The page also has a section about "Latest Forum posts".

First thing is that this access could be part of the "500 Server Error", this is simply crazy.
I want to build something, I need NO distraction, if and when I want to read the Forum, I know how to do that.


Many users don't and never heard about boot land our the support forums and this helps to let them know about what we do here.

Not related to Error 500 as the page is cached on disk and doesn't add much CPU overhead. We do however have some tough times with spam farms that hit hard the forum's software.



#4, #5 and #6 are UI issues that might be worked.
Can you post a screenshot of your download center as viewed from a Windows 2000 host?

Under Vista, XP and Ubuntu I notice font differences so this might also be case here.

:cheers:

#4 was_jaclaz

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 04:12 PM

@Nuno
Like it often happens :cheers: , I have to disagree :cheers: .

When you click on "Download", it would be "logical" to have a "Welcome to Winbuilder" page that tells the user:
1) that it is going to connect to the Internet to retrieve JUST a list of server
2) that waits for the user OK before doing so
3) the problem is not about connecting to the "central servers list", but that it also starts downloading from the pre-checked servers, last week, when the VistaPE server was down, it simply took forever before erroring out.
4) At least, NO server should be pre-selected, and a brief description of what is on each server should be viewable, i.e. imagine this WinBuilder_Updates.ini:
[Main] WebServer_Selected=updates.boot-land.net WebServer=updates.boot-land.net,vistape.net/project,livexp.boot-land.net,nativeex.boot-land.net,thuun.boot-land.net/WinBldr/XP-2K3/Projects,picoxp.boot-land.net,bartpe.boot-land.net/projects,mobileos.boot-land.net,unattended.boot-land.net,vistape.net/beta  [updates.boot-land.net] Description=Main server needed to locate other servers  [vistape.net/project] Description=A "live" PE build from Vista files  [livexp.boot-land.net] Description=A "live" PE build from Windows XP SP2+ files  [picoxp.boot-land.net] Description= The smallest possible build from XP (Command Line only)  .....
Moreover a "static" link to a page where an expanded list of servers is published may be useful.5) once, and only once the user has allowed connection and the dowload has begun, the welcome page should be changed to the "dynamic one".6) Still, knowing which are the latest posts on the board seems to me completely unneeded and unuseful, right now I am seeing this:No, I can't paste it here because the "select text, right click, copy" does not copy anything to the clipboardbesides, once you have selected a project, the page changes to that related of the project (right) but it seems like there is no way to get back to the "Welcome page" 7) Definitely, you cannot AFTER a number of pre-selected servers have been accessed, and a number of pre-checked projects are ready to download have something like this:

Welcome to Winbuilder!On this section you can download scripts and projects directly to your disk. In case of doubt you can read the quick guide or perhaps visit the tutorials section to learn more about wb. If you need help pleas post a message on the support section.

This is more appropriate to what happened:

Welcome to Winbuilder!Actually you have alredy runned Winbuilder for a couple of minutes, sorry for the delay in welcoming you.In the meantime, without you knowing, we connected to the Internet and downloaded from it whatever pleased us.Since we think you are a no-good-n00b, we already pre-selected a few hundreds of megabytes of files that you should download by pressing the Download button (the one in bottom left corner with a green arrow on it).Probably you are not interested in "x project" and only interested in "y project", but we do not care about bandwith, nor about your HD occupation, and not even about the time you will lose waiting for the downloading of a quantity of stuff you will probably NEVER use.On this section you can download scripts and projects directly to your disk. In case of doubt you can read the quick guide or perhaps visit the tutorials section to learn more about wb. If you need help please post a message on the support section.

This is what I would expect:

Welcome to Winbuilder!Winbuilder needs to connect to the Internet to retrieve a list of the servers currently active.You need not to worry, the only file that will be accessed is this one, that you can see in your normal browser:http://updates.boot-land.net/WinBuilder_Updates.iniAfter this file will have finished downloading, you will be taken to the Servers page, where you can choose one or more servers that you wish to access.Press the OK button to continue.

Followed by a page with:

Please select the server of servers that you wish to access, then press the "Access" button.

and by another one:

On this section you can download scripts and projects directly to your disk.The projects available on the selected servers are listed on the left tree view, they are all NOT selected by default.When you select any project, an information page about the highlighted project will be shown.If you press ESC or click anywhere but on the tree view you will come back to this page.
To select one or more projects to be downloaded, mark the relevant check box before pressing the Download button.
The amount of stuff that will be downloaded is displayed in top left corner.
In case of doubt you can read the quick guide or perhaps visit the tutorials section to learn more about wb. If you need help please post a message on the support section forum.


At least here in Italy a number of people have dial-up or slowish connections and, expecially mobile users in remote areas do have connections where the price paid is connected to the amount of Mb you download, I find this "Download all, use only what you need" philosophy not particularly friendly to them.

jaclaz

#5 Nuno Brito

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 06:02 PM

Please add less topics to discuss otherwise this can get way confusing.. :cheers:

1) that it is going to connect to the Internet to retrieve JUST a list of server
2) that waits for the user OK before doing so
3) the problem is not about connecting to the "central servers list", but that it also starts downloading from the pre-checked servers, last week, when the VistaPE server was down, it simply took forever before erroring out.
4) At least, NO server should be pre-selected, and a brief description of what is on each server should be viewable, i.e. imagine this WinBuilder_Updates.ini:


1 - The title "Download center" should be enough of a warning about getting files from the internet.

2 - Adds one too many buttons and was already used on version 074, turned out most members didn't even glimpsed the quick intro and jumped right on to the download section.

3 - If a server is down then it is a case of updating the active list of servers.
On this particular case I've sent a message about the server being offline but nightman never replied back nor gave any indication for the duration of this downtime. The "forever" wait takes a few seconds to timeout on my machine.

4 - The other way around, most users look forward to build either a Vista ou XP based boot disk and therefore both LiveXP and VistaPE are included as default to meet this demand.


5) once, and only once the user has allowed connection and the dowload has begun, the welcome page should be changed to the "dynamic one".


Hmm.. what do you mean by dynamic? The download progress and remaining files are displayed in real time, can you give more details about your suggestion? :cheers:


6) Still, knowing which are the latest posts on the board seems to me completely unneeded and unuseful, right now I am seeing this:
No, I can't paste it here because the "select text, right click, copy" does not copy anything to the clipboard
besides, once you have selected a project, the page changes to that related of the project (right) but it seems like there is no way to get back to the "Welcome page"


Each server has a default page and you're selecting another page therefore the welcome page from the default server is gone.

"select text, right click, copy" - if you click on the links it will open a new browser window, I could add the right click functionality but it involves removing win2000 support since it would rely on Bsalsa IE activeX implementation that we removed for wb 075.


7) Definitely, you cannot AFTER a number of pre-selected servers have been accessed, and a number of pre-checked projects are ready to download have something like this:


It's a matter of coding the page to accept cookies and remember that the user has already viewed. Maybe if someone with more web coding experience than myself can help on this task.



At least here in Italy a number of people have dial-up or slowish connections and, expecially mobile users in remote areas do have connections where the price paid is connected to the amount of Mb you download, I find this "Download all, use only what you need" philosophy not particularly friendly to them.


Well.. I do live in an island left alone in the middle of the ocean where my only contact with the online world outside my workplace is done using wireless telephony.

I try to ensure that the minimum download required to showcase each project is kept within reasonable size and talk with both Galapo and Nightman whenever the minimum size download profile gets a "heavier".

It's a task for the project manager to select which scripts should be marked on the minimum profile for web users like us.

:cheers:

#6 was_jaclaz

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 06:28 PM

1 - The title "Download center" should be enough of a warning about getting files from the internet.

Rename the button to "Download Now", it would be better. :cheers:
To me "Download Center" means that I can choose what to download.


The "minimum download" is 0 (ZERO) bytes:
UNTIL the user has confirmed that he wants to download, even a single byte is too much.

Automagically connecting to the Internet and starting downloading, even if done "in good faith" is, as I see it, a gratuitious prevarication of the user, more appropriate to malware than to a good application.

Later, a setting (that can be enabled or disabled), like a number of programs have, to "Check for updates" when starting could be suggested to the user, but on first run, the settings as they are are a BAD thing.

About the inability to select text on the displayed page and copying to the clipboard, if it does not work, remove it, it is not needed, but leaving there the possibility to select text, right click, have a menu display for copying and have the app instead of copying doing nothing is pointless.

jaclaz

#7 pscEx

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 06:55 PM

Allow me to be something like a referee in this discussion.

I think that most of Jaclaz's concerns are solved, if EVERY internet contact is made only on user's iteraction, never 'automagically' (I like Jaclaz's new word :cheers: )

Peter.

@Jaclaz: Please allow me that I changed your post #4 for topic looking 'nice' (one of your favorite tasks :cheers: ).

#8 was_jaclaz

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 12:33 PM

I think that most of Jaclaz's concerns are solved, if EVERY internet contact is made only on user's iteraction, never 'automagically' (I like Jaclaz's new word :cheers: )


Yep, actually all of them. :cheers:

Talking of "user prevarication", I am checking NativeEX.

I guess that something must be changed in the project.

I played "n00b" :cheers: and simply ran it with only changing the Source Path.

Result:
all went OK, but then Qemu "automagically" started, .ISO started booting, the mouse cursor appeared, I clicked in the Qemu window and the System freezed, CTRL+ALT did not free the mouse, CTRL+ALT+DEL did not invoke the Task Manager, I had to SWITCH OFF the PC and reboot :cheers: .

I suspect that the "pre-configured" setting of 384 Mb of memory given to Qemu (or some timing problem) are the cause or part of it. (yes, I have 512 Mb RAM total-32 Mb for Video Card)

Suggestion:
1) Disable by default "Run ISO in qEmu"
2) Use a more conservative amount of memory, the made .ISO ran OK manually in qemu with 256 Mb of memory assigned

Solution:
Insert a dialog prompting the user with something like:
"Winbuilder will now try to boot the built .iso in Qemu, please review memory settings, before going on, press Cancel to abort"

About:

3 - If a server is down then it is a case of updating the active list of servers.
On this particular case I've sent a message about the server being offline but nightman never replied back nor gave any indication for the duration of this downtime. The "forever" wait takes a few seconds to timeout on my machine.

You have a faster machine (or connection, or both) than I have, from when I push the "Download" button in the main page to when the "Download Server" list is updated (and the user gains control back) it takes 17 seconds (with all servers working) on my PC.
After, every time I switch from "main" to "Download" I have to wait between 10 to 14 seconds.

jaclaz

#9 paraglider

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 12:55 PM

Same here - 10 to 15 seconds to switch to the download page. I agree it should not automatically connect and refresh the server list - only the first time when the ini file does not exist.

#10 Nuno Brito

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 01:05 PM

Automagically connecting to the Internet and starting downloading, even if done "in good faith" is, as I see it, a gratuitious prevarication of the user, more appropriate to malware than to a good application.


It does need to get online on the first run to grab the list of available servers, we simply cannot rely on having static locations and links anywhere insice the binary.

The latest stable version before 074 had static locations bundled inside and then it was a serious matter when (for example) the VistaPE server moved to it's own domain.

Therefore we will need to get this updated file and I see no need for adding an interruption to allow this action since it would only bring constraints to the massive amount of users.

Project maintainers can modify completely the available server list by supplying their own winbuilder.exe and winbuilder.ini but the generic winbuilder.exe downloaded from the site should worry about simplicity and allowing the most common projects to be made available quickly.

This is the reason why I mentioned how one could do "force" a click on the button to refresh the server list but by default this action is not user friendly and would add some redundant complexity to this process.

Having a link to http://updates.boot-land.net might might pose a weak point but there is not better alternative at the moment since this allows for me or any other trusted .script developer to edit the above mentioned server list file and our boot land server has a good uptime reputation.

Even when the dreaded error 500 appears, this error only affects sites based on mySQL and everything else including simple php pages keep working the same.

---

About the inability to select text on the displayed page and copying to the clipboard, if it does not work, remove it, it is not needed, but leaving there the possibility to select text, right click, have a menu display for copying and have the app instead of copying doing nothing is pointless.


The startup page is informative for new and frequent users copy&paste can be included but is this is a priority when compared to other matters? :cheers:

For the moment I think that our download center should continue as simple as possible.

:cheers:

#11 was_jaclaz

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:18 PM

Maybe some communication problems are starting to creep up. :cheers:

There is no need, EVERY time one accesses the Download page to access the Internet.

I do understand the need to connect ONCE first time Winbuilder is started to fetch the updated WinBuilder_Updates.ini and NOTHING ELSE.

This can be done during startup of Winbuilder.exe with a dialog box to this effect:
"In order to run Winbuilder needs to connect to the Internet to download the list of currently active servers"
"OK/Cancel"

Winbuilder can save the file locally and check when starting that the file WinBuilder_Updates.ini is not older than, say, 1 day (selectable somewhere as well as an "update at every start without asking" user selectable preference) , if file is up-to-date, it uses local copy and doesn't ask anyway.

Then, when you access the "Download" page, there should be a button (NO automatical connection) for the user to update contents of server, this will save the said 10 to 15 seconds of time EVERY TIME one switches from one page to the other.

Moreover, how it is working (or not working :cheers:) right now, this is a typical session of your n00b friend jaclaz:
1) he goes to download page
2) he waits 17 seconds before being able to
3) deselect all downloads from VistaPE project
4) since 3) above DOES NOT WORK, he manually expands ALL the subtrees and deselects everything
5) starts deselecting .scripts he is not interested in (and that HE DOES NOT WANT TO DOWNLOAD since he has no use for them) from LiveXP
6) a doubt crosses his mind, he dowloads the bare minimum he chose, then shifts to main page
7) he checks the description and maybe even the .script code for a given .script, then decides that he needs just one more .script
8) he goes to the download page
9) he waits some 14 seconds
10) much to his bewilderment, ALL scripts in ALL pre-configured servers are checked, so he needs to loop to point 3) n times, until he, being a n00b, but a smart :cheers: one, is wise enough to
11) manually uncheck "updates.boot-land.net" and "VistaPE.net" from servers list, NOTWITHSTANDING this, he anyway needs to loop to point 5) another n times
12) at this points he is really fed up with the "friendliness" of Winbuilder and starts RANTing :cheers:

In all the above described procedure the required "Synchronize with checked servers content" would have been pressed ONCE, and would have saved yours truly AT LEAST 2 xn x 15 seconds, + all the time needed to manually unselect .scripts (I am not joking about this latter problem, it is a serious
BUG).

All the advantages of Winbuilder when compared to Pebuilder (too basic/difficult to expand) and to UBCD4WIN (very good, but with "pre-fixed" contents) is (or should be) the freedom for each user to relatively easily "build" his own PE with some "easy to assemble" modular units, not unlike LEGO building blocks.

As is this goal is not reached. :cheers:

One could as well have a few "monolithic" projects:
VistaPE
LiveXP
nativeEx
etc.
and use them like UBCD4WIN, with limited possibilities to customize it.

This Winbuilder behaviour is NOT friendly, which does not mean that anything is wrong on how Winbuilder it is currently setup, it's the claim that it is like it is in order to be more friendly that appears as a false statement.

And ONCE AGAIN, I am a dinosaur, I run 2K normally, I do not run Vista, I am not interested in downloading VistaPE, right now I am almost forced to download more than 200 Mbytes I won't use.

If, instead of being a Freeware project, managed by friends, Winbuilder would have been a Commercial Trial, I would have thrown it out of the HD instantly, on second loop, out of frustration.

:cheers:

jaclaz

#12 pscEx

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:46 PM

For the moment I think that our download center should continue as simple as possible.

OFFTOPIC: One of the properties I like at Billy the Door is: He usually knows my intentions better than me.
Therefore he acts and does not ask me.

INTOPIC:
I agree. But 'as simple as possible' has to be understood correctly:
It does not mean: Avoid user choices
It means: Give the user all necessary choices, but not more.

Peter

#13 was_jaclaz

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:54 PM

INTOPIC:
I agree. But 'as simple as possible' has to be understood correctly:
It does not mean: Avoid user choices
It means: Give the user all necessary choices, but not more.


:cheers:

As Albert Einstein put it:
http://en.wikiquote....Albert_Einstein

It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.
"On the Method of Theoretical Physics" The Herbert Spencer Lecture, delivered at Oxford (10 June 1933); also published in Philosophy of Science, Vol. 1, No. 2 (April 1934), pp. 163-169. [thanks to Dr. Techie @ www.wordorigins.org and JSTOR]

Variants: Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

This is very similar to "Occam's Razor", with the addition that it warns about too much simplicity. Dubbed ''Einstein's razor, it is used when an appeal to Occam's razor results in an over-simplified explanation insufficient to meet needs or goals. It is also similar to one expression of what has become known as the "KISS principle": Keep It Simple, Stupid — but never oversimplify.


jaclaz

#14 Nuno Brito

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 07:05 PM

There is no need, EVERY time one accesses the Download page to access the Internet.

I do understand the need to connect ONCE first time Winbuilder is started to fetch the updated WinBuilder_Updates.ini and NOTHING ELSE.


I'll try to explain why it keeps downloading some additional information.

wb needs to get the updated list of files from each of the previously selected servers to know exactly what has been upgraded or added or several errors could occur due to missing files, MD5 signature changes, etc.

It's not a communication matter but whenever I try to visualize a wb with your proposed changes I see no better benefit to the end user when compared to the current working method we have at the moment, sorry.

#15 pscEx

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 07:41 PM

I'll try to explain why it keeps downloading some additional information.

wb needs to get the updated list of files from each of the previously selected servers to know exactly what has been upgraded or added or several errors could occur due to missing files, MD5 signature changes, etc.

It's not a communication matter but whenever I try to visualize a wb with your proposed changes I see no better benefit to the end user when compared to the current working method we have at the moment, sorry.

There is only one 'break' between the current 'automagically' way and the way Jaclaz suggested:
The user clicks a 'YES'

Peter

#16 Nuno Brito

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 10:06 PM

I was also referring to the other mentioned changes.


This can be done during startup of Winbuilder.exe with a dialog box to this effect:
"In order to run Winbuilder needs to connect to the Internet to download the list of currently active servers"
"OK/Cancel"


Total:
+ 1 dialog box on startup.


It's called "Download Center", people know what it is supposed to do and only need to click on the "Download" which is also explicit enough.


Winbuilder can save the file locally and check when starting that the file WinBuilder_Updates.ini is not older than, say, 1 day (selectable somewhere as well as an "update at every start without asking" user selectable preference) , if file is up-to-date, it uses local copy and doesn't ask anyway.


Total:
+ 1 dialog box to get online on startup.
+ 1 day to wait for changes by default
+ 1 preference checkbox to "Update at every start without asking"


The contents of WinBuilder_Updates.ini are merged inside WinBuilder.ini

WinBuilder_Updates.ini is only downloaded when no WinBuilder.ini exists.

Then, when you access the "Download" page, there should be a button (NO automatical connection) for the user to update contents of server, this will save the said 10 to 15 seconds of time EVERY TIME one switches from one page to the other.


Total:
+ 1 dialog box to get online.
+ 1 day to wait for changes by default
+ 1 preference checkbox to "Update at every start without asking"
+ 1 button visible on main UI to get updated list of servers (or individual server)

Servers are completely independent and modifying a single file inside a server would leave everyone else either left to wait a day or come back to the forum complaining that file "nnn" was not found on the server.

This is the cost of getting a stable list using a slow dial up connection, it's preferable to wait 10 or 15 seconds and ensure we are using an updated list in a fully automated process than having to force everyone else to click another button to get a fresh list.

Each server has a unique file called updates.ini and keeping several updates.ini with several different leads to a lot of files to handle and lot of confusion if something doesn't work as expected (corrupted updates.ini) and leave a lot of files cluttering up the work folder.

In all the above described procedure the required "Synchronize with checked servers content" would have been pressed ONCE, and would have saved yours truly AT LEAST 2 xn x 15 seconds, + all the time needed to manually unselect .scripts (I am not joking about this latter problem, it is a serious
BUG).


Total:
+ 1 dialog box to get online.
+ 1 day to wait for changes by default
+ 1 preference checkbox to "Update at every start without asking"
+ 1 button visible on main UI to get updated list of servers (or individual server)
- Less time to wait when clicking on the Download tab (we're not downloading anything on start)

If the VistaPE server is disabled on your wb download tab then it surely does not take 15 seconds even on your slow dial up to get the new server list, besides the fact that nowadays one can assume that the average wb user uses a DSL with a minimum goodput of 128kps.

On my sluggy connection this wait interval barely passes 2~4 seconds.

074 should take even less time as it will keep each of this servers updates.ini in cache and won't download unless the file size differs from the copy on disk.

Since we're not using IE anymore on 075, my biggest worry on the Download Center is adding back the full proxy support as achieved before which is nowhere an easy task given the multiplicity of proxy configurations.


All the advantages of Winbuilder when compared to Pebuilder (too basic/difficult to expand) and to UBCD4WIN (very good, but with "pre-fixed" contents) is (or should be) the freedom for each user to relatively easily "build" his own PE with some "easy to assemble" modular units, not unlike LEGO building blocks.


And this continues to be true today.

Comparing to winbuilder to pebuilder is a bit unfair as the later is nowhere capable of imagining this level of complexity made so simple or modular.

One could as well have a few "monolithic" projects:
VistaPE
LiveXP
nativeEx
etc.
and use them like UBCD4WIN, with limited possibilities to customize it.


Total:
+ 1 dialog box to get online.
+ 1 day to wait for changes by default
+ 1 preference checkbox to "Update at every start without asking"
+ 1 button visible on main UI to get updated list of servers (or individual server)
+ Required language translations
- Less time to wait when clicking on the Download tab (we're not downloading anything on start)
- Less projects available on list


This has already been done with VistaPE and LiveXP that are default user orientated projects but we've gone much further than expected and the other projects are a reflection that boot disks shouldn't be so limited.


This Winbuilder behaviour is NOT friendly, which does not mean that anything is wrong on how Winbuilder it is currently setup, it's the claim that it is like it is in order to be more friendly that appears as a false statement.


You're testing the behavior of a beta state wb version on a windows 2000 host that only recently began early support using a slower than average download connection on a machine with very limited processing / memory conditions when compared to the average wb users.

It is "friendly" enough.



There is only one 'break' between the current 'automagically' way and the way Jaclaz suggested:
The user clicks a 'YES'


Grand Total of 'breaks':
+ 1 dialog box to get online.
+ 1 day to wait for changes by default
+ 1 preference checkbox to "Update at every start without asking"
+ 1 button visible on main UI to get updated list of servers (or individual server)
+ Required language translations
- Less time to wait when clicking on the Download tab (we're not downloading anything on start)
- Less projects available on list


This is why I said:

whenever I try to visualize a wb with your proposed changes I see no better benefit to the end user when compared to the current working method we have at the moment


I wanted to avoid a long reply like this because of two hours spent to properly write and expose all the reasons that led to my previous answer but hope at least this also explains my worries.

Still think that there is no overall benefit on these changes.

As you see from the 'breaks' list we'd surely be left without any magic on the currently automated approach used on the download center and lot more "un-KISS'ed" options.

Or am I wrong on these conclusions? :cheers:

#17 MedEvil

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 11:53 PM

To throw in my two cents.
Having no servers checked by default, should remove the annoyance of having to wait for servers, one is not even interested in, on the first start.
After that, the download tap will connect one automagicly anyway only to the server one is interested in.
Why should anyone click on the download tap if he/she doesnt intend to check for updates and new downloads? :cheers:

All the advantages of Winbuilder when compared to Pebuilder (too basic/difficult to expand) and to UBCD4WIN (very good, but with "pre-fixed" contents) is (or should be) the freedom for each user to relatively easily "build" his own PE with some "easy to assemble" modular units, not unlike LEGO building blocks.

Anyone can easily put Lego bricks together, but only as long as the end result does not matter!
If the end result matters, things get complicated, even with Lego.
The same hold true for WB. Adding to this the fact that most users don't really wanna learn about WB and projects, we're facing the situation of people bulding with Lego bricks with their eyes closed and still expect the end result to be what they wanted.
The Solution for that problem usually was bigger and fewer bricks. While today we have the much improved 'give them themes and no choices on the things that matter'. :cheers:

Making WB more user friendly would include imo to remove more choices that can break the PE.
Basicly let's put everything under the hood except for Apps and explorer settings and have WB automagicly save an error report for easy posting here.

:cheers:

#18 was_jaclaz

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 12:49 PM

@Nuno
Well, I tried to explain my point of view, I do understand all your concerns, and difficulties, you are the Author of the app, and it's up to you whether you judge what I say reasonable, feasible or even worth considering.

I played "n00b" partly because I am one :cheers:, and partly to give hands-on-impressions that would have hardly been exposed such vehemently by a real "n00b".

But I still do not like the basic "approach":

the fact you have a slow machine and connection it's your problem


As said, I have nonetheless found a workaround, that is good enough for me (deselecting all servers).

It seems to me that also psc, paraglider and Medevil do think that they could be de-selected by default, and most of what I lamented would be automatically solved.

Leaving things as they are, apart the 10 to 15 seconds lag, and you seem not to have considered this, an "average" user will ANYWAY download the entire VistaPE project even if only interested in LiveXP.

This is a waste, a waste of resources, a waste of bandwith for the server, a waste of bandwith for the user connection (I repeat, a lot of people using wireless GSM, at least here in Italy, pay a fee for each MB downloaded) a waste of space occupied on the local hard disk, and, as I see it, is an unneeded and arbitrary "decision" made INSTEAD of the user.

As I tried to highlight, and probably failed to, it's all a matter of respect towards the user, I do prefer an approach where actions that will be taken are reported in advance and submitted to the user approval, even if they are innocuous and needed.

You prefer to "target" the app to the "rich" (rich in hardware, connection) newbie and think that your pre-made decisions are the right ones (which may be true for a majority of people).

The only real "bug" among my RANT items are:
1) the selecting/deselecting of trees and subtrees, (points #5 and #6) and I take as granted that it has been or will be soon solved.
2) the fact that right clicking on the page a context menu appears, but that it does nothing (suggested solution is not to make the choices work, but to simply remove the context menu alltogether)

All the rest are just nuisances, I can and will live with them, no prob :cheers:.

About #7, what about a "standard" page, with the Winbuilder logo, the name of the project, a BRIEF description about it and TWO (or more) links:
1) to the "Inventory"
2) to the "Manual"
3) (optional) "FAQ's"
4) (optional) ....

End of jaclaz's RANTs (part 1).

....to be continued.... :cheers:

jaclaz

#19 Nuno Brito

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:04 PM

I played "n00b" partly because I am one wink.gif, and partly to give hands-on-impressions that would have hardly been exposed such vehemently by a real "n00b".


Yes, you're very right.

Thank you for the feedback, reading back my replies I understand that my words express too much skepticism about changes on the download center and I rarely write these thoughts on public but in private I do write pages and pages alone when pondering the reasons why and how something needs to be done.

Giving the fact I know you for so long and that Peter also interceded about the "break" I wrote a bit too much about my personal evaluation skipping the fact that some of these conclusions are obviously unfair for GPRS / 3G users such as yourself (and me included on this group).


As I tried to highlight, and probably failed to, it's all a matter of respect towards the user, I do prefer an approach where actions that will be taken are reported in advance and submitted to the user approval, even if they are innocuous and needed.


You didn't failed (at all), I spent the latest two days thinking about your comments and they were remarkably similar to something I've heard from a teacher of mine that spent 20 years working in computer industry at the US where he mentioned that european people often neglected the most basic warnings about the actions expected to perform by the software and then got into trouble when malicious action took place and no legal procedures could be made since there was no written warning disallowing such abusive use in the first place.

He gave as example the banner message displayed on the login menu when someone tries to remote connect onto a network's router (from a public ISP for example), if this banner message doesn't warn the user that access is restricted exclusively to Company staff authorized people then what are the arguments to prove that this given user who decided to brute force the machine knew it was illegal to hack it?

Very important matters indeed that can make things as crystal clear as possible.

----

Let's see what we can do about your suggestions after the current goals are somewhat solved.

At the moment the biggest headache is providing proxy support, adding raw reg support and finish cleaning up the code but I hope that once these matters are concluded we can move to your suggestions to implement them as appropriated before a stable release.

:cheers:

#20 pscEx

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:22 PM

Yes, you're very right.

Thank you for the feedback, reading back my replies I understand that my words express too much skepticism about changes on the download center and I rarely write these thoughts on public but in private I do write pages and pages alone when pondering the reasons why and how something needs to be done.

Giving the fact I know you for so long and that Peter also interceded about the "break" I wrote a bit too much about my personal evaluation skipping the fact that some of these conclusions are obviously unfair for GPRS / 3G users such as yourself (and me included on this group).




You didn't failed (at all), I spent the latest two days thinking about your comments and they were remarkably similar to something I've heard from a teacher of mine that spent 20 years working in computer industry at the US where he mentioned that european people often neglected the most basic warnings about the actions expected to perform by the software and then got into trouble when malicious action took place and no legal procedures could be made since there was no written warning disallowing such abusive use in the first place.

He gave as example the banner message displayed on the login menu when someone tries to remote connect onto a network's router (from a public ISP for example), if this banner message doesn't warn the user that access is restricted exclusively to Company staff authorized people then what are the arguments to prove that this given user who decided to brute force the machine knew it was illegal to hack it?

Very important matters indeed that can make things as crystal clear as possible.

----

Let's see what we can do about your suggestions after the current goals are somewhat solved.

At the moment the biggest headache is providing proxy support, adding raw reg support and finish cleaning up the code but I hope that once these matters are concluded we can move to your suggestions to implement them as appropriated before a stable release.

:cheers:

Thank you, Nuno, for 'reopening' this issue. :cheers:
Due to your 'proxy' concerns:

Usually, after I picked up such an issue, you can see it as 'solved' (after some German days and needing response of the forum).
And I picked up, as to be seen in some topics ...

Peter

#21 was_jaclaz

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 03:45 PM

@Nuno

What I find strange is that it took you two entire days :cheers: to understand I was at least partially (read absolutely) :) right.

... and I also had to play "Robin Hood" :cheers:, putting you in the role of either the greedy :cheers: Sheriff of Nottingham or of the coward :cheers: King John, in order to be able to convince you. :cheers:

Happy that the topic is still open to discussion. :cheers:

No problem about the "when" you and psc will have time to get back to this, proxy support is VERY important, I don't think we can have 076 without it.

Keep up the good work along the priorities list. :cheers:

:cheers:

jaclaz




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