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Author Topic: Will the Mach4 Configuration Manual be updated?  (Read 301 times)
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Durero
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« on: September 13, 2017, 11:19:21 PM »

There are quite a few settings in the current version of Mach4 > Configuration > General which are not explained in the Mach4 Installation Manual.

The manuals have not been updated since 2014 which makes setup extra challenging for new users or users who are updating to the current version of Mach4.
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joeaverage
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 05:40:38 AM »

Hi,
I know what you mean, it does make it hard when the manual is so out of date.

It must be said that Artsoft have forged ahead adding new features and fixing bugs etc. While updating the manual is important it is a house keeping
chore rather than development which secures new customers and supports existing customers.

As an example, I don't know whether you've had a chance to look at the new PMC feature, a ladder logic programming tool, it's brill! All in all given limited
resources I support Artsoft's pursuit of development even at the expense of documenting what we've already got.

Another aspect of this issue is that the motion controller plugins can and do make entries in the .ini file and can be said to be part of Mach4 setup but
are in fact provided by the motion controller manufacturer not Artsoft at all. I can only claim to have any real experience with the Ethernet SmoothStepper
and the vast majority of the Mach setup is actually automatically made when you configure the ESS plugin. Warp9 do keep a pretty up to date set of
instructions which in effect covers 80% of Machs setup as well. My understanding is that other manufacturers plugins may emulate the same but in other
cases much less so requiring you configure the plugin AND mach4. Given the wide variance in treatment by different plugin manufacturers I can see
why Artsoft see the whole 'documenting setup procedures' as a challenge its always going to lose.

Craig
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Durero
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 10:43:02 AM »

I'm guessing that the developers at Artsoft might agree with your points as that's how they are acting: implement new features and leave the documentation for a later time.

But I would argue that the most efficient use of the developers time would be to document new features as soon as they're completed.  Isn't it much faster to document a feature while it's fresh in mind, rather than trying to document it months or years later?

Also when a new user finds a large number of options in the Mach4 configuration screens which are not in the documentation it does not make the company look professional.

I'm making a point which is critical of Artsoft but I want to also say that I'm loving Mach4.  It's so much better than Mach3 in my opinion.
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smurph
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 09:20:38 PM »

Docs...  yeah, well...  sore subject.  LOL  It is time consuming.  You really need a staff of technical writers to do it right.  And we are not big enough to do/afford that.
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joeaverage
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2017, 11:46:11 AM »

Hi,
Quote
Also when a new user finds a large number of options in the Mach4 configuration screens which are not in the documentation it does not make the company look professional.

Without meaning any disrespect to Artsoft but they are not professional, they are certainly trying to be and their product has some distinct advantages over
'professional' competition but the origin of Artsoft is hobbyist in nature. I don't mean that negatively either, the enthusiasm they bring is refreshing and one look
at the breath and depth of this forum alone will tell you that the 'hobbyist' approach is widely supported.
At $200 non-recurring for Hobbyist and $1400 non-recurring for industrial are both ridiculously low, most professional software just the annual fee is higher
than that!

Have a look at Siemens motion control products and the way they charge for it...its clear they don't give a ********* about you or me as hobbyists, they are about raking
in money for their shareholders...end of story.

The forum gives you a living manual and the very same people responsible for developing Mach are the most consistent contributors to the forum. You try to
get a developer at Siemens or Fanuc to talk to you....LOL

Craig
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