Hi All,

This question is for the FS community at large...

Who out there thinks that one of the things FS lacks is proper documentation?

What documentation there is (tutorials, API docs...etc) is useful but I personally find it lacking; I for one would like to see more documentation such as a comprehensive Developers Guide, expanded API documentation with workable examples, Deployment/Implementation documentation...etc.

I appreciate the fact FS is built and maintained by a small team and as such setting aside time to put together documentation is tricky but since FS is a development tool, it suffers from a lack of documentation; all other tools I've used like this in the past and currently all offer an abundance of documentation (probably too much in some cases) and in fact the main tool that FS competes with has a whole truck load of available documentation.

So, I'm just trying to get a feel for what other users of FS think on the subject; should the user community as a whole want more documentation then perhaps it will slide up the list of priorities for the FS team to work on.

Thanks,

Craig.

asked 09 Sep '14, 07:05

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Craig
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Hi there

I think the prerequisite for using FS is to know a lot of pl/sql, css, etc. Even tho I do have some experience, I've found 1 mnth trail license not really enough to even start thinking how to build something. For sure the online FS might help, if rather reliable connection is available. Which leads to buying a developer's license. And that is a quite steep expense just to study how the things work. Without many applications and a source code for download (as you said, tons are there), it is really hard to make commitment and buy. For that money a lot more should be available, particularly docos and finished and polished applications (think open source). I do respect the work done. It is an awesome product and it will just get better! Is this company listed on Tur. Stock Exchange? :) Let me know and I'll buy some shares!

Dean

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answered 10 Sep '14, 02:10

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downunder
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1

Hi Dean,

Thank you your kind words. We truly appreciate it. Thank you for the feedback on trial license duration. We'll think about extending it. For what it is worth, once your trial expires you can reinstall Formspider for another 30 days in perpetuity. You can even export and import your applications from your previous trial.

We are doing the best we can for documentation. We are a small team and this has a negative effect on documentation. We'll try harder. Is there a particular tutorial you'd like to see?

I agree that we need to do more but I'd like to remind future readers of this thread ( :-) ) that there are 50+ tutorials, a reference application, 20+ demo apps with source code. Most importantly, we respond to questions in Q&A faster than any other forum I've been to.

Kind Regards,
Yalim

(10 Sep '14, 03:42) Yalim Gerger ♦♦

Hi Yalim,

with all due respect I don't think re installing FS after 30 days to get another 30 will work :) I just tried it with the same old 1.6 executable into a different FS schema. No go. Trial expired. I would expect to have a DB snapshot in place and revert any SYS changes. Or re installing the DB:) Or the OS (or the VM snapshoot?).

For example, why not having something like a restricted version to fetch only 100 rows, but for free? Than unlock it with a license? This would build a heaps of demo applications for download. Fully finished and polished applications. I hope.

About the documentation, having ability to reuse the production applications, not demos, is a great way of learning for me. As mentioned before, only one production application is available here but it is outdated (SABRS from here link text).

All the best

Dean

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answered 30 Sep '14, 02:15

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downunder
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edited 30 Sep '14, 02:22

Hi Dean,

To be able to reinstall Formspider for the 30 day trial you should redownload it and run the new installer. Each installer has an expiration date.

Regarding limiting the trial in a way other than number of ways: We'll think about it. 30 day trial was easy to implement. If we can find an easy way to limit the trial in a way to you recommend, we'll look into it. Thank you for the feedback.

Thank you also for the suggestion to make more applications with source code available. It's really about having the time to do it. Most of the time we are either building an application for a customer or working on Formspider. We should find a way to set some time aside to build open source FS apps that you can make use of.

For now we only have one reference application with source code available (Link: http://theformspider.com/learningcenter/formspider-reference-application/). Not enough, I know but better than nothing.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Kind Regards, Yalim

(30 Sep '14, 09:20) Yalim Gerger ♦♦

Hi all,

I have been working/experimenting with Formspider now for a week and studied all documentation at least two times. It is all clear to me, except for four subjects:

A) The concept 1) Window (frame) 2) Cell and 3) Panel. I am going to redevelop an application from Oracle Forms in Formspider and there will be many frames, cells and panels. But to be honest, i have no clue where to start. I think the Forms Modules are implemented by Windows, the Forms Blocks by Cells and the Forms table-usages by Panels. But i am not sure. I have to figure it out and that will take much time. So what i really miss is a good example about redeveloping a real Forms module.

B) The menu structure. Do menu's call Windows? Or Cells? Or Frames? The coherence between these objects is not clear for me. A good example about one application with for example four seperate (Oracle Forms) modules, would help a lot.

C) There is a huge amount of API's. In the tutorials many API-calls are demonstrated, but with more than 50 tutorials, i can not remember exactly where i have seen for example the api_dialog.addpanel. It would help if the API's would be linked to the tutorials.

D) I would like to have more examples about the styling of the application. For example, i want to create a special menu at the top or at the left of the application. It must be possible, but how? Perhaps i can even manage this within the main Window.

I know Yalim has a small team. Perhaps it would be an option that customers help them with examples.

Alltogether i think the 30 days is more than enough to decide about a real project in Formspider. Without Formspider i have to figure out all by myself how concepts like AJAX, Jquery, Angular JS and Bootstrap work. That takes months, maybe a year or more. So what's 599 dollars? For that price i can hire one specialist for one day! With Formspider i get this all out of the box, even don't have to learn about it and can continue working with PLSQL.

Also, what are the alternatives? With Oracle Forms and PLSQL in mind, i can only think of Oracle APEX. But i have noticed functionality in Formspider that APEX can only dream about. Also, APEX is for free and in the Oracle world nothing lives for free long. One day Oracle will buy some company like Formspider and that will be the end of APEX.

Kind regards, Jan Willem Vermeer

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answered 30 Sep '14, 03:11

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Jan Willem V...
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Hi Jan,

I'd be happy to answer these questions. I think having a separate thread for each one of them is a good idea though so that they are easy to discover for other community members. Do you mind creating separate questions on the Q&A site for them?

Kind Regards,

Yalim

(30 Sep '14, 09:30) Yalim Gerger ♦♦

Hi Yalim, they are all about documentation :) I only miss more info about these four important items A - D. Most of it i have to find out by trial and error and that's a waste of time. KR Jan Willem

(30 Sep '14, 10:23) Jan Willem V...

Hi Jan,

I mentioned this in the comments below but I also recommend you to check out the Formspider Reference Application. You can download it, install it and learn a lot from its source code. Here is the link: http://theformspider.com/learningcenter/formspider-reference-application/

One caveat though" The reference application is built before we had a security repository. So the way it implements security is not how we would do it today using Formspider Security Repository. It is however still a good example for showing how you can integrate Formspider to an external security repository.

Kind Regards,
Yalim

(30 Sep '14, 10:32) Yalim Gerger ♦♦

Well,

I do not agree. This is the license per seat. Add a production license per server on top. I think any license that high will not attract ppl to use it in general. This days we talking paying for a software in two digits number. Or even one. Think smart phones. What's the ROI if not having a customer? As mentioned, for the skilled plsql developer this tool is attractive. For an average Joe, there are a lot of other tools on a market. One can build a forms with drag/drop, no problem. No cost either. But the vast majority of appl's are coming from the Joe's, would be developers. Hence, the FS appls won't come from this ppl and the Client will prohibit publishing any intellectual property.

Dean

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answered 30 Sep '14, 04:18

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downunder
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Hi Dean, I don't understand what you mean by a production license per server on top. Do you mean the Oracle Database license you need to purchase? Formspider has no other license other than the per seat license.

(30 Sep '14, 09:22) Yalim Gerger ♦♦

Hi Yalim,

yes, the DB license. Thanks for clarifying the trail for me.

Cheers

Dean

(30 Sep '14, 23:30) downunder

Hi Dean,

Are you located in Australia (concluding this from your alias Downunder :-) ) ? We've got a Formspider customer there who is building a pretty cool SaaS application. I am sure he'd love to talk to you about his experiences. Would you like me to introduce you?

(01 Oct '14, 00:32) Yalim Gerger ♦♦

Yes I am, from WA. Interesting. Yes please, if you could that would be great. Thanks Dean

(01 Oct '14, 02:11) downunder

Hi Dean,

Great. I just sent the introduction email both to you and Raymond.

Kind Regards,
Yalim

(03 Oct '14, 02:30) Yalim Gerger ♦♦
1

Personally i find 600$ per developer a real bargain. The free runtimes is among my top assets of formspider vs. forms/reports. Forms+Reports is 23.000$ per server (e.g. >= 50 named users)!

Maybe developing cell phone apps will not be the prime field of deployment, one has to sell quite some apps till ROI, but looking at the number of inhouse clientPCs and the associated AppServer licenses, 600$/developer extremely fair, like in the golden days of Developer6i client-server.

(12 Nov '14, 11:31) dipr
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

Hi Dean,

the website shows that formspider "runtime" is free. So, besides the developer licence for 599 dollars for the first year and 199 for next years, there are no additional licences for production. Or do i understand this wrong? Yalim - please confirm. Currently i need an Oracle Middletier Enterprise Edition licence in order to run Forms and Reports. After replacing Forms and Reports, the Standard Edition will be sufficient. For the difference in licence i can take a few hundred developer licences for Formspider per year.

You mention alternatives for "Joe". I am looking for a tool to replace Forms, Reports and PLSQL (mod_plsql) modules. What alternatives do i have besides APEX, JDeveloper (or other Java tools) and Formspider? I don't believe in a future for APEX and Java is too time consuming to develop. I have visited a few seminars about new tools and Formspider was the only tool using modern technologies like jquery, AJAX etc.

Indeed the Formspider IDE would work much better and efficient if i could create datasources, windows and panels with wizards and WYSIWYG editors. The editing in XML makes it very complex because i can not see what i am doing. It looks like AFI, the predecessor of Oracle Forms, 25 years ago :)

Don't understand me wrong. I am not a Formspider salesman :) I just want the best tool for the challenges i have today. If you have better alternatives, please let me know because i am really interested. Also, that gives Yalim the chance to make a comparison.

Kind regards, Jan Willem

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answered 30 Sep '14, 05:46

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Jan Willem V...
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Hi Jan,

Your understanding of our license model is correct. No worries :-)

Regarding WYSIWYG: The XML Editor has a Preview tab. You can click that and see the screen you are building immediately. Formspider is going to have a WYSIWYG editor with drag and drop etc... We are currently working on it.

Kind Regards, Yalim

(30 Sep '14, 09:25) Yalim Gerger ♦♦

Hi Yalim, perhaps very stupid, but i can not find the Preview tab... KD Jan Willem

(30 Sep '14, 10:27) Jan Willem V...

Aha, found it. At the bottom :)

(30 Sep '14, 10:29) Jan Willem V...

Hi All,

Just to add my 2c.. When i started development with Formspider in early 2012, i found that i had the most issues understanding all widgets and their properties in XML editor. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what all widgets and properties were doing.

I think having documentation explaining all widgets and their attributes will make it much easier for new developers to get familiar with the widgets and how to use them.

Best regards, Michiel A

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answered 03 Oct '14, 07:53

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Michiel A
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I concur with Michiel, that took me some time too. I found that some of the lesser used API's probably lacking some better explanation too. But alas you can take a guess and hope for the best. I think I also experienced the same problems in the beginning like Jan Willem Vermeer, about some of the concepts, and relationship between panels etc. Maybe this is just a Dutch thing ;-) What I found also was that the demo application took me a lot of time to unravel and figuring out what was and from where it was called etc. I think there should be two demo applications. One which is simpler and does not cover multi language features etc, but a simple one which shows the concepts and how things hang together. Then have a second one showing the more advanced features. Maybe one other idea is to have a "developer wiki" where people can submit solutions for certain problems and maybe add explanations to more complex api calls and widgets and explain how you can use them. Of course this can be moderated by the FS Team. The Q&A has a lot of good things in it, but there is outdated stuff and somethings are hard to find as the standard search is not very good. We can all point the finger to the FS team to do things, but the FS community should try to help too. But we need something better the the Q&A. My 1.5 cent (the australian dollar dropped in value again, so 2c is now maybe 1.5 cent)

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answered 07 Oct '14, 03:44

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Raymond
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Hi Everyone,

There has been some feedback on this thread that the trial period of Formspider is too short. The Formspider 1.8.1 trial we just uploaded to our website runs through March 29th. So if you want a longer trial period, this is a good time to download Formspider. :-)

Kind Regards,
Yalim

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answered 08 Dec '14, 08:38

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Yalim ♦♦
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Asked: 09 Sep '14, 07:05

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