Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

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GargoyleStudio
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by GargoyleStudio »

-1 for the online help and +1 for the PDF version... Or, perhaps we need to request a preference? Or two Help options in the menu, one online and one PDF??

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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by UltimateOutsider »

ChrisDuncan wrote:They're obviously trying to get away from generating pdf documents and want to steer users towards online help.
The problem is that the online help is straight-up garbage.

Tonight was my first time seriously working in C9 and I was having some trouble with note length snapping in a new project. I'm running version 9.0.10, and in the Help menu of course all I see is the "Cubase Help" link. (F1 also goes to Cubase Help.)

Not a single one of my searches produced anything even approaching a relevant result. The online help content contains only a small fraction of what's in the PDF documentation. It is USELESS.

I started getting nervous when I searched my Cubase install folder for PDF files and only found the VST Connect manual. I am SO GLAD I found this thread with the link to the ZIP of the PDF files.

I know many companies are moving away from producing full-on manuals for their products, but Steinberg SERIOUSLY needs to fill in the blanks in their Cubase Help system if that's their endgame, because it is infuriatingly bad right now. A new Cubase user wouldn't stand a chance if that were the only documentation available.

P.S. You CAN get to the PDF downloads by taking a few hops from Cubase Help:
Help > Cubase Help > More resources > Downloads > select Cubase Pro 9 under Download Software, scroll down to the steinberg help link under Documentation. Oy.

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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by ashboe69 »

I think the other problematic point for Steinberg is they changed something - it worked when V9 came out and then they changed it when the update came along.

If it was a mistake, put it back - if it wasn't a mistake, then it is a bug and needs addressing

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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by ulesto »

ashboe69 wrote:If it was a mistake, put it back - if it wasn't a mistake, then it is a bug and needs addressing
or, it was a hole they found time to quickly plug.
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by ChrisDuncan »

ulesto wrote:or, it was a hole they found time to quickly plug.
Isn't the definition of Recording Studio, "A hole in the ground into which you pour money?" :)
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by turbotrixie »

ChrisDuncan wrote:As a professional programmer myself I can say that yes, linking to the pdf on the help menu is not a difficult task, but that's not really the issue. They're obviously trying to get away from generating pdf documents and want to steer users towards online help.

Online help has its advantages. If you need to make a change to the documentation, you change the website and everyone automatically gets the new information rather than having to generate a new pdf and make it available for download. And of course, all corporate executives know that being "in the cloud" is trendy and thus marketable.

I personally prefer a pdf for documentation, and there's also the issue many have where they intentionally keep their studio computers disconnected from the Internet. That said, when a company makes a change like this (making it difficult for you to not do it their way, e.g. having to hunt down and download the pdf), it's usually an indication of where they're going whether you like it or not. My crystal ball sees a future version of Cubase where there's no pdf documentation available at all.
They are trading their convenience for ours. I just spent 40 minutes trying to get this *flower* to work (F1 for PDF) and I'm close to giving up. It's just silly. Whats more important; your customers getting the information they require or Dieter from the help desk being able to punctuate his latest changes more effortlessly?
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by ChrisDuncan »

turbotrixie wrote:They are trading their convenience for ours. I just spent 40 minutes trying to get this *flower* to work (F1 for PDF) and I'm close to giving up. It's just silly. Whats more important; your customers getting the information they require or Dieter from the help desk being able to punctuate his latest changes more effortlessly?
I don't disagree.

That said, what's important to a for-profit corporation isn't always the same as what's important to its customers.
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by ulesto »

That said, what's important to a for-profit corporation isn't always the same as what's important to its customers.
Which is why Apple and Adobe are now despised by many formerly loyal customers.
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by shanabit »

So no physical manual is replaced by a PDF file, fine. Now they take the PDF accessibility out of the DAW itself.

PDF has no bearing on profitability of Cubase, prove it and I'll rescind my thoughts. Until then this is just plain stupidity on the part of Steinberg

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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by ChrisDuncan »

shanabit wrote:So no physical manual is replaced by a PDF file, fine. Now they take the PDF accessibility out of the DAW itself.

PDF has no bearing on profitability of Cubase, prove it and I'll rescind my thoughts. Until then this is just plain stupidity on the part of Steinberg
They've created a pdf help file. However, they're making it difficult to access, opting instead to make the online help easy to reach. This means they're prodding the herd, conditioning people to start using the online help instead of the pdf file. If they follow the typical path for this sort of strategy, it means that once they have people accustomed to using the online help, they'll stop creating the pdf manuals altogether.

The desire to shift from pdf generation to online help could be motivated by at least two factors. First, online help doesn't require as much formatting and attention to detail on the layout and appearance as a pdf document. That means less labor per release, which can either be viewed as profitability or freeing people up for other tasks.

Another reason things like this happen in a development shop is religion. Someone gets it in their head that doing xyz is "the right way" to do things, and fights until they win the battle. Whether it's documentation or code, you'd be surprised how often this highly subjective criteria drives the end results.

I don't disagree with your sentiment. I greatly prefer the pdf documentation. Maybe if enough people voice their concern, the path I've outlined won't happen. Maybe they'll do whatever the heck they feel like doing whether some of us like it or not. I would imagine the marketing people seriously doubt that people will stop buying Cubase and choose a different DAW because the documentation isn't in pdf format. If that's the case and it doesn't affect revenue, then you can be as unhappy as you like and it won't change anything.

Of course, I could be wrong about SB trying to condition people prior to eliminating the pdf format altogether. If that's the case, I consider the removal of the link in Cubase to be exceedingly trivial. I never use it anyway. I have a shortcut to the pdf file on my desktop and just click it. I can understand the uproar if they eliminate the pdf format, and I might chime in myself. Where you click to bring up the document, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be a serious enough issue to generate this level of animosity. But then, that's just me.
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by raino »

ChrisDuncan wrote:Of course, I could be wrong about SB trying to condition people prior to eliminating the pdf format altogether. If that's the case, I consider the removal of the link in Cubase to be exceedingly trivial. I never use it anyway. I have a shortcut to the pdf file on my desktop and just click it. I can understand the uproar if they eliminate the pdf format, and I might chime in myself. Where you click to bring up the document, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be a serious enough issue to generate this level of animosity. But then, that's just me.
Since every manufacturer has a different idea of where to put their manuals (heck NI can't even decide on a single scheme), I copy every manual into a folder (with some subfolders) called "Manuals." Then I added this folder to Windows Taskbar as a Toolbar. Now I can click on the Toolbar and get a menu listing all the manuals.
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by ChrisDuncan »

I have a very similar approach. I have a folder for pdfs and subfolders for hardware & software, and then beneath them all the manuals. It's a shortcut on my desktop.

Hadn't thought about adding it as a toolbar, that's a pretty cool idea.
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by audioguy »

It's easier to use open web formats rather than Adobe.

Whether or not it is cheaper to license probably isn't the point as Content Management Systems are very easy to deploy and are available everywhere (PDF must be downloaded or installed).

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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by jconstantine »

"-1 for the online help and +1 for the PDF version"

+1
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by extralife »

Why do they have to remove something so useful? Just add the online help if you must but don't take away the PDF manual from the help menu. So annoying.

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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by galvinstephen »

Well the online help is lame and not much use for a reader like myself who likes to scan and skim-read when searching for information. You would think coders would know how important this is, but for some reason certain developers decide they want to make things 'easier' then in fact make things harder.

I am not even going to mention a print version of the manual. Ha.... :D
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by dickiedrummer »

Completely agree there should be at least a 2nd help link pointing to a local help file as in the past.

It seems to be this file on my computer that points to the English online help:
C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase 9\Help\help-redirect\help-redirect-EN.html

I'm not sure it is easy to change the script in there to open up a local pdf file instead, I think opening local files is seen as a browser security risk. Maybe someone clever with code out there can figure a way to achieve this. ;)
----------------------------------------------------
EDIT
I have just managed to get this working by changing the help file url pointer in:
C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase 9\Help\help-urls.xml
to the offline PDF file which now opens up in a browser tab. Much better. :D
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by -steve- »

It would be nice to see a second link in the help menu. But I will say, though I do like visually scanning through the manual, searching is much better using the online help docs. You can also use Google to find things.

That said, here's a cludgy solution, and the results depend on your browser settings. And to actually do it requires some specialized knowledge. (I can't help with that :geek: )

Change the contents of the file dickiedrummer mentioned.

Change the first url that appears in the file to "C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase 9\Documentation\Operation_Manual.pdf"
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by dickiedrummer »

SteveInChicago wrote:It would be nice to see a second link in the help menu. But I will say, though I do like visually scanning through the manual, searching is much better using the online help docs. You can also use Google to find things.

That said, here's a cludgy solution, and the results depend on your browser settings. And to actually do it requires some specialized knowledge. (I can't help with that :geek: )

Change the contents of the file dickiedrummer mentioned.

Change the first url that appears in the file to "C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase 9\Documentation\Operation_Manual.pdf"
"Cludgy" that's a nice word :)

Well it may be so, but it's much better than working with the online file for me. Anybody making the change, (I did exactly as you described) should of course backup the original file first in case of any mistakes!
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by peakae »

Can I just say, it can be a little fiddly.
Http:// has to be replaced with file:/// and have to be in " "
If you open the Operation_Manual.pdf in your browser, and copy the URL, then paste it replacing the URL in the help-redirect-EN.html (or whatever language you use) remember the " "

Here is how it looks on my system:

Code: Select all

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <meta charset="utf-8">
  <title>Steinberg.help: Are you offline?</title>
  
  <script lang="javascript">
      function init ()
      {
		  var queryString;
          if (navigator.onLine)
			  queryString = "file:///C:/Program%20Files/Steinberg/Cubase%209/Documentation/Operation_Manual.pdf"
		  else
    		  queryString = "offline.html"
          
		  window.document.location = queryString;
      }
  </script>
</head>
<body onLoad="init();">
	
</body>
</html>
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by dickiedrummer »

peakae wrote:Can I just say, it can be a little fiddly.
Http:// has to be replaced with file:/// and have to be in " "
If you open the Operation_Manual.pdf in your browser, and copy the URL, then paste it replacing the URL in the help-redirect-EN.html (or whatever language you use) remember the " "

Here is how it looks on my system:

Code: Select all

[/quote]
It looks like you made your change to the file:
C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase 9\Help\help-redirect\help-redirect-EN.html
but I finished up making a change to line 61 in the file:
C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase 9\Help\help-urls.xml

So from line 59 in that file it now looks like this:

<us>
		<title>Cubase Help</title>
		<url>file://Documentation/Operation_Manual.pdf</url>
</us>

which then opens the offline manual in a browser window.
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by alexis »

I like to yellow highlight and type clarifying notes in the .pdf files. That's out the window with on-line-only help.

Remember the.pdf help file you reference on your desktop will one day let you down when the on-line manual changes after they decide to stop updating the.pdf.
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by WillfullyDamned »

"My crystal ball sees a future version of Cubase where there's no pdf documentation available at all."

I hope your crystal ball breaks forever. This change is so unbelievably inconvenient and just reeks of developers who don't actually use their own program or are not musicians/composers and don't have any concept of the workflow of the average Cubase user. I've used Cubase for a decade now and f1 has always opened up the manual nice and easy when I have a specific problem or question to address. I shouldn't have to dig around on my desktop to open a pdf externally or god forbid be linked to a useless website when my internet may or may not even be working.

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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by Romantique Tp »

The web version is much better for searching, and you can keep it open on your phone to quickly check things. This is the closest you will get to having a physical paper version of the manual again.

One example use is keeping the list of default key commands open. You can check it without alt-tabbing or moving your mouse, which makes it much easier to remember what exactly you were doing.
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Re: Why no link to pdf manual in Help menu?

Post by Larioso »

WillfullyDamned wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:43 am
"My crystal ball sees a future version of Cubase where there's no pdf documentation available at all."

I hope your crystal ball breaks forever. This change is so unbelievably inconvenient and just reeks of developers who don't actually use their own program or are not musicians/composers and don't have any concept of the workflow of the average Cubase user. I've used Cubase for a decade now and f1 has always opened up the manual nice and easy when I have a specific problem or question to address. I shouldn't have to dig around on my desktop to open a pdf externally or god forbid be linked to a useless website when my internet may or may not even be working.
+1

Build a proper context help like PT and many other have.
User experience will be enhanced by magnitudes.

Devs do a little gui thing there and try make a big thing from that - look what we did, now you have a button to open sidebars!
But leave major flaws like context help behind.
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