www.rblibrary.com, and a fuller opinion on it…

One of the posters on the forums site recently through a mini-fit about RBLibrary, a site where you can purchase tutorials on how to do stuff in Real Basic. I proceeded to bitch about how both are in the wrong, but never went too far into details on what I find wrong or right about the site. There is a huge reason why I didn’t, but before I do, I wanted to address something first.

I’m used to getting told to Just Google It when I ask some of my questions. (Most of the time, it’s warranted – I’m just being too lazy at that time.) Most of the questions I ask, however, have already had the time put in beforehand to try to find a solution, and either I’m not understanding an aspect of what I have found, or have could not find what I was looking for. Those that have bitched, if they bothered to do a little research beforehand, didn’t find what they looked for; those who didn’t do their research need to start looking first. Many of the authors trying to rake in money are no worse for wear on the money side and have published tutorials for free on their own sites, if not someone else’s. The information, more often than not, is there, in the manual and online. You just need to look.

So why use RBLibrary, then, if it is out there? First, it should be easier to find what you are looking for by the authors who have already proven that they know what they are talking about. Some of the names on there post in the forums, and a few who don’t have been published both online and in print. (You can find a How-To by Erick Tejkoski, who used to do the RB tutorials on Resexcellence’s site, in the latest MacAddict, for example.) These guys know their stuff.

Second, while I feel that their prices are a little unreasonable, it’s not so unreasonable that I wouldn’t buy it, if I could. (Again, I’ll get to this in a second.) These guys put the blood, sweat and tears into putting in the research and implementation of RB and what they do that they shouldn’t have to put everything they write out without getting compensation. This is especially true if I want o profit off of their information: Why should I get what they had to work to get for free?

Third, you get the information you’re paying for at that moment, not the next day, week, or month when you need it sooner. The fact that it is online, available anytime, is a good enough reason, especially for us who do second/third shift programming.

As I said, though, there are a few things I’d like to see. First, I’d suggest creating a uniform presentation of the files – if what I am seeing from the outside covers of these files represent how it’s presented inside, they will have a hard sell, and will not help RB in the long run. Second, ditto for the site – most of us who need it won’t pass over it, but it may hurt their sales with potential customers of RB looking for resources to the program.

I’d also suggest that they make a print option and deal with a company like Lulu or Cafe Press. Order 4-5 books, have them all printed in 1 manual/magazine – like printing where you can have the articles, and a printed copy sent to you that you can easily store away for later use.

These things, however, are relatively minor, since most programmers (that I know) only care about what’s inside, and don’t need printed copies. (I prefer to have printed, in the event of not working with dual monitors, but I prefer dual monitors better.) That, and I think these will eventually fix itself, especially if it takes off.

The one thing preventing me from ordering anything is that they’re going through PayPal for everything. Right now, I don’t have myself set up with a bank yet, so I can’t order anything online without getting help from people. (My subscription with RB, which has long since lapsed, was paid this way.) So, I can’t judge what’s inside because I can’t access what’s inside. This, I think, will change as it gains momentum and success: this site wasn’t funded by Real Software, it was funded by people in my shoes. (Ok, maybe they’re a little better off, but they’re not rich enough to go into business for themselves 100% yet, if you get what I mean.)

So why post it here, when the people on the forums are the ones who need to read this? Because I am one of those people that, when asking questions, doesn’t slouch much in the research end. (I usually come into work every day prepared for a shitstorm because I am unconventional in my research methods.) I’ve already told you what does happen when I do slouch. (It ain’t often, but it always happens when I do.) it bothers me a lot that people will bitch and whine because someone tries to earn an honest dollar for the work they go through. You want something easy? Buy the books and quit whining. Otherwise, put yourself into their shoes and start treading, because they’ve earned their right to handle their information the way that they see fit.

Here’s hope to their success in this. 😀 I look forward to digging myself out of my hole to be able to read their stuff soon.


6 thoughts on “RBLibrary

  1. He He…. Good one.. I never expected a simple ‘whine’ to cause so much ‘aggro’ …

    Well anyway… I dont want you to think I am being bitchy about the whole thing.. just that I would have expected RealSoftware (not the guys behind the store) to help the users (us) more…

    Hey and dont get me started on PayPal and doing 1$ 2$ transactions on the net and keeping track of these things etc..

    The problem I have found is gooooogling for stuff on REALBasic links to about 5 major sites quite often (ResXcellence RBGarage etc) and most of the information is out of date… or MAC (no offence) oriented.. Hence… my point….. is …… RS should help the users by having some affiliation for subscribers benifit.

  2. Cafe Press / Lulu is an option we are looking at, of course it will be pricier, but those on an expense account won’t mind (Not me, but hey!).

    PayPal was our only option at the time of startup, it allows anyone with either a checking account, credit card, debit car or a paypal account the ability to get the articles they needed. I understand it is a sub-optimalo solution and it is one of the things I am actively looking into changing.

    I think REALsoftware puts out the best compiler I have ever used, no if’s or but’s, I think the programmers care deeply about putting out a quality product (Hell, I know Aaron works until 2 in the morning fixing things, because his name goes on it, I am sure the other guys there are just as committed). I don’t expect REALsoftware to provide more than the minimal doc’s that they do provide as they are a compiler company. I know, I know, if they had better docs they would likely garner even a larger market share, I gather it is a balancing act.

    I have no inside info at REALsoftware, when Aaron and I started talking, he made it clear that there needed to be a pretty high and tight firewall between and outside venture he was involved in and REALsoftware, I have respected that, and I think that RBLibrary.com is better for it.

    We are in this for the long haul, with a marathin runners viewpoint, not a sprinters, we want to fill a niche market, we want to make a small profit, we want to compensate the writers more then they are used to (and faster than they are used to also!) and we want to provide the absolute best information on programming REALbasic. I think we have done a good startup job and I am sure we can continue that Amazing work in the future.

    Thanks for letting me respond Wayne!

  3. No offense taken. The thing that has worked for me so far in google searches – and has spared me from asking about five times as many questions – is understanding how the thing I need to search works or is implemented. Of course, therein lies the problem – most of my questions have come from models that either A.) don’t exists as I know it, or B.) isn’t structurally sound at this point.

    Real Software, IMHO, has done an excellent job, both in allowing and maintaining a forum and mailing list site. The people that work the store, that post on the forums that work there, they’re doing it of their own volition. The way they handle bug reports, while not the best, has been better than most companies that I have dealt with in the past.

    As far as documentation, Pick up some scripting manuals for Adobe CS/2 programs, and you’ll see how much worse it can be. Half of the stuff I have is innaccurate – I try to implement it exactly as shown in the manual, and it doesn’t work. You would think, being as big as Adobe is, they’d have fewer bugs in there second full incarnation than in their first, but that’s not the case. I don’t bother wasting too much time on Adobe’s site, going instead to other third-party site like http://www.ps-scripts.com for info. (And, because their main thing is Javascript, it makes for a difficult translation.)

    The thing that ticks me off is hearing how there’s no resources. These guys who do this had to get something from somewhere on how to implement it and make it easier for us to do it, so the information has to be there. Yeah, the documentation could be better, but I’ve seen worse.

  4. Bill, Aaron and I talked a little about this on Friday, so I understand why you chose to do PayPal only. From a business standpoint, i’d rather you get yourselves to a point where you can allow more options than to be hurting and struggling to keep the ting afloat. It just means, in the mean time, I have more to do. 🙂

    As I expressed in my last post, RS has done a great job compared to other companies that are bigger, and what they do, like what you’re trying to do, is fill a niche that many want but few succeed in. Sure, it’d be nice if they’d provide better doc’s, but from what I have seen, it’s not like they aren’t trying.

    Thank you for responding. 😀

  5. I guess the way I view it is that there’s a large difference between documentation and articles.

    MSDN has docs. They’re technical, boring and get the job done. Dr Dobb’s (MSDN Mag, et al) has articles. They’re about various APIs, how to use them and a deeper understanding of them.

    I’ve never seen a programming company write conversational documentation. Because that tends to be too vague. Technical docs need to be terse and accurately worded, but articles can expound more, use metaphors and all sorts of other good things.

    I can’t imagine our docs ever becoming articles, so to say RBLibrary.com’s content should be provided by REAL Software just seems silly to me. No other programming environment does it, it has major down-sides to doing it that way, so why is the comparison being drawn?

    But, the most important thing (and this is directed at talk2sk) is that you need to put your feedback into the feedback system. I can promise you that Geoff doesn’t read blogs when making decisions about documentation. 😛

  6. Ditto. I posted on my own blog for 3 reasons: First, home turf. Second, what I had to say I didn’t feel was appropriate enough for the forums. Third, I knew I was pissed at the time, and it isn’t worth posting on public forums.

    Talk, the best thing to do is what Aaron said. Real isn’t going to waste their time with my blog or their own forum when improving their software, their documentation, or their product. They have their own protocols.

    I’ve said what I needed to say.

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