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Shotgun PDF Manuals?

Are there any PDF manuals available for Shotgun? We've just started our eval and I've had multiple requests for manuals rather than YouTube video links. Yes, we are those rare people who try to RTFM :)

 

Cheers.

 

Peter.

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    KP

    Hey Peter,

    Thanks for the feedback. We really like the visual impact of focused screencasts for learning but you are right that there's a need for some additional good written documentation. We don't currently have a PDF manual but we've decided we need to provide at least equal written docs to our screencasts to supplement the videos that could then be printed, etc.

    We also recently rebuilt our docs site and still have more to add so please feel free to share any other thoughts you may have on how it is, what's missing, what's good, etc. We'll keep adding on to it.

    Curious... what is you main motivation for wanting PDFs?

    cheers,
    kp

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    Peter Devlin

    We will have around a dozen people taking part in the eval, from technophobe producers (who will find the video guides useful) to techie developers (who need more meat than is provided by the video guides). Different strokes.

    Integral part of software development is documenting your code and your resultant application feature set, no?

    Cheers.

    Peter.

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    Don Parker

    Hi Peter,

    <<
    Integral part of software development is documenting your code and your resultant application feature set, no?
    >>

    Definitely!  The issue here is that this is the second time we're documenting the application because the first doc site got overgrown and we had ideas of how to re-present the information in better ways.  So there are some holes here that we're hustling to fill.  In the near term, please feel free to shoot us requests on things you'd like to see documented and we'll give those items priority.

    A bit of background:  When we were talking about our approach to docs, we thought we'd experiment with a lot of videos because we were getting good feedback on how much information people were absorbing from a 3 minute video vs. reading a bunch of docs.  Last time we did very verbose docs on everything, but that became a lot to read and quite a lot of work to update each feature release.  Because the application is evolving so quickly, we thought the videos might be a good way to stay in sync.  However, your feedback generated a discussion here yesterday about going ahead and doing written docs along with any video documentation.  There are clear benefits to doing that (searching, for example), so we'll start doing that.  We figured online docs instead of an aggregated manual would be most efficient.  Assuming we add written docs to everything, do you think online docs are sufficient?  Or do you feel we need to organize them all together in a single document that can be used for offline browsing?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    cheers,
    dp

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    Peter Devlin

    Some history from our end: We've come to Shotgun having spent almost two years looking at and evaluating other production management tools. In certain cases a lack of adequate documentation has caused the evaluation to go poorly. In spite of expending man-months of resources we've had to conclude that those tools are not usable due to lack of support in this and other areas. Metaphorically call it one symptom of a larger problem, something that we look for as an indicator that all is not as advertised.

    Video docs are fine for getting over that initial hurdle of familiarity. However they are predicated on having decent available bandwidth, not always the case in a busy studio where many people compete for that resource. Psychologically they are great for that 40% to 60% of the population who learn by doing (I guess you could say  "monkey see, monkey do"). There are also those who learn by reading and investigating.

    For my £0.02 worth having some form of written documentation is desirable for those who need to look at an application in some depth. That description applies to five of us here at Axis who are responsible for determining the suitability of the app for integration into our pipeline. The capability to search for definitions of terms, to get a handle on what is meant by some of the terminology, to know what happens procedurally when data is added, amended, buttons pressed, et al. Without that we end up having to make decisions from a position lacking in knowledge.

    From our POV this raises two concerns (1) this introduces a time lag into the eval process (2) it gives the perception, rightly or wrongly, that we're again dealing with a partly-developed application. Don't worry, we'll still be pushing ahead with the eval and we probably will ask questions here.

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    KP

    Peter that's really good feedback. I think we'll need to end up with a good combination of thorough docs and the short videos to hopefully make 95% of everyone happy. We will get there. We will want to make sure we can build documentation that we can keep up to date that is thorough but not overly complex either. We have been developing the Shotgun application for several years and we ended up in a place where it was overly documented to the point that it was confusing for users and really difficult to maintain as Don mentioned. So we're taking a new approach and your thoughts are helping guide us as well. Please do use the forums for any and all questions you may have. We try and answer questions quickly and a're hoping they will also provide ideas help for other users who are exploring the support site.


    cheers
    kp

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    Stu Aitken

    Hi All

    just to add to Peters comments on this subject:

    in terms of being to evaluate a product (especially one that does DAM type stuff like shotgun) 2 things tend to make things grind to a halt once you get into any depth:

    • lack of clear documentation (there isn't enough or it isn't clear)
    • an obscure interface (its difficult to work it out yourself)


    The tour videos that we first looked at for shotgun were a HUGE plus point in terms of our initial interest as they very clearly showed an application that (in comparison) seemed mature and much better thought out from a UI point of view - given the nature of DAM type solutions and getting buy in from everyone who has to use them I cannot stress enough how much importance I would attach to this side of things

    now that we are using shotgun I would say that this positive feeling has continued and the comparison with other apps we have looked at, from the UI side at least, is very positive

    ie the fact that the UI is for the most part straightforwards and obvious (ie it mostly does what you expect it to do) is a huge plus point, and the videos help emphasize thi

    where more traditional documentation is vitally important though is where you have some kind of question about functionality or doing something that for some reason isn't obvious - in that situation video overviews don't tend to be that useful unless they happen to cover exactly what you are looking for and its usually much quicker to look  to some kind of reference docs to point you in the right direction

    a good example that I'm currently looking at is time logs and how these filter information to other aspects. whilst I can add a column to tell me how much time has been logged against tasks I can't see any way to summarise this information up into parent entities or look at this information from a people centric view (eg a time log breakdown for all modelers or whatever) -

    maybe its all clear and that functionality just isn't there :)

    but the fact that I am expecting it to be there and theres nothing I can check that against is a little frustrating :)

     

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    Jonathon Batson

    Just putting some more weight behind this discussion, inparticular for us is the bandwidth issue.  The docs site does seem very slow at times and it would seem that having a local copy would solve this quite simply.  This goes for the video tours as well of course.  Why download it x times when you can do it once and share on the local network. 


    We have raised this in the past and I am happy to see it getting further discussion.  With such a fast passed evolution I can see the challenge in making local docs available but it will certainly be a great advantage when it does happen.  

    cheers and thanks for the good work

    Jonathon

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    KP

    We will continue to improve and re-evaluate our documentation process. I think we've made some great improvements over the past several months but we'll always have more to do. Please continue to share your feedback on the issue. We can never be too good at documentation, though that's the goal we have.

    Thanks to everyone for your continual feedback!

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    KP

    Our support partner does plan to implement PDF functionality which will make this possible. Though we're not sure of an ETA or if you'll be able to "publish" a PDF of an entire forum at this point.

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