Documentation & Books

C List c.list at fiberworld.nl
Fri Jul 9 06:22:28 CDT 2004


Great things, some true, some usefull, some to the point and some less 
to the point, have been said in his thread, and I have been reading it 
with interest.

My interest stems also from the fact that I am currently working on a 
project which deals with the organising, sorting and presenting of 
information. A personal, well I hate the word assistend in this 
context, but it will serve you well. It should even learn from the way 
you interact with the program and the way you organise information in 
yor head, the way you think.
The funny thing is even if you have all the facts, this doesn't mean 
you understand or are able to use, the information. If your internal 
representation of the facts isn't in the right way for YOU, then the 
facts mean didtly to you. In that case your not able to combine the 
facts in a way that makes sense to YOU. This is something I find very 
often amiss in manuals and teaching books.

While I was still in school I very quickly became aware that not so 
much learning was important but understanding. Most people "learned" 
algebra, mathematics, physics or chemestry. Well guess what, the moment 
you understand a certain principle you don't need to memorize and 
"learn" a lot. Since you understand what's going on you can always 
deduce the facts again when you need them.
More over it doesn't matter that much if you forget the facts, which 
you tend to to over time, you can recreate them again and again.
Teachers and manuals, which act as a sort of teacher, don't they, 
should be keenly aware of this fact.
It's about understanding and the CONNEXION between the different pieces 
of information is the vihicul and the means to do this. Facts in itself 
have very little informational value. This is one of the "flaws" of the 
documantation. I know there is a popUp with related topics in the 
documentation but that's not quite the same as what I am saying.  The 
what's related feature, is just a list of simular topics. It doesn't 
explicitly try to make a broader understanding available to the reader.
People tend to learn in many different ways and use different 
strategies to do it. Some people learn by what's different from  what 
they know, others by what is the same, the likeness. Some are very 
visual and without explicit pictures they have a hard time to learn, 
others like step by step instrucions. Manuals should be made to exploit 
all these different features people use to learn. Unfortunatly this is 
very exeptional. (I hope I'll do it right)

There is yet another very important aspect about information and facts. 
The meaning of everything, litteraly everything, depends on the 
context. Change the context and you change the meaning. This means that 
the cross conexions between information are at least as important as 
the information itself, since information without context is no 
information at all. Those very small very specific exampless, have not 
much informational value. Examples should be "real world" working 
demonstrations of a principle. Since it's more than just a specific 
fact it wil automaticly show, and 'teach' other principles as well 
along the way. Personaly I learn best from "real live" examples and I 
believe this works for a lot of people.

Having said all this, I am putting the last hand on a I believe a much 
needed tutorial about scrolling. For the project I am working on I 
needed a huge "virtual" space where liturally hundreds  of different 
objects can be moved around and interacted upon. (I sure hope 
revolution can handle this) So I needed a scrolling card and a lot of 
features for the scrolling.(automatic expanding in 3 directions and 
blocking in the fourth) It took me an awfull lot of time to get this 
working. (no examples that I found about this kind of scrolling Simply 
scrolling a picture is no problem, in fact it's trivial,  but if you 
need more complex possibility's and features, well take a deep breath 
'cause you're in for quite a journy or . . . . . . . wait a couple of 
days and read my tutorial as I will make my discovery's available to 
all. I think these kind of things should be standart examples 'cause a 
lot of programs could benefit from it or indeed tare dependend on this 
feature. Like it is now we all have to invent the wheel by ourself, 
wich seems to me a kind of waist of time.
I have a couple of other ideas for tutorials, namly hings I stumble on 
myself while developing my app and learning revolution. (tricks with 
groups, selecting multiple objects by clicking or drawing a marquee 
around them and my adventure with trying to take a OOP apraoch to 
creating objects even with inheritance and all. I don't know wether it 
will work but I certainly gonna try this, 'cause I could use it.)
As soon as this first tutorial is presentable I'll post the link on 
this list, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel again, when you need 
somemore complex scrolling done.

In the mean time happy programming
Claudi



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