General XMetaL Discussion

XMetaL Community Forum General XMetaL Discussion Evaluation Guide not up to scratch

  • nickw

    Evaluation Guide not up to scratch

    Participants 2
    Replies 3
    Last Activity 12 years, 8 months ago

    I'm trying to evaluate Xmetal but find that the Evaluation Guide does not follow the program very well and is written appallingly. Plus every time I switch to the “Switch to XML View of Map” the Resource Manager disappears and I have to restart the program. I keep getting other topics being displayed and it is a pain to constantly have to remove them. In fact I find the whole interface kind of flaky. Is this normal for Xmetal? I'm not impressed so far – anyone tell me why the RM disappears it would be great.


    Derek Read

    Reply to: Evaluation Guide not up to scratch

    I can't really answer to the complaint that you don't like the way the Evaluation Guide is written. I think it is fairly good myself, but if you have specific issues I'm sure our documentation people would not mind hearing about them so they can improve it.

    For the technical question… When you say: “the Resource Manager disappears”, do you mean that the map in the Resource Manager is closed before it is reopened in the main editing view? If so, that is normal behavior and is by design as we don't want to allow people to edit the map in two places at once (there is currently no way to synchronize changes). I'm not sure how useful it would be to have the map open in two different editing views at the same time, but perhaps you have a specific use case for that? We are always happy to receive feature requests.

    Or perhaps you mean something else entirely?



    Reply to: Evaluation Guide not up to scratch

    Okay, ….sigh!
    Overall, when I open topics then I am left with a number of topics building up in the bottom of the program and have no way to clear them other than “clear all” – not very efficient.
    When I open up Xmetal, I get all these topics popping up again – why? I don’t want to see them yet.
    When I close a topic I am still left with the associated Map View remaining. This would be fine if there was any indication that you had that Map open but the Map View does not show you the title of the map.
    Generally, there were some other points about the general layout but I’m not going to try and list them all.
    Point 1 – Evaluation Guide
    When you display a topic and then in the Resource Manager switch to “Switch to XML View of Map” your Resource Manager Map Editor view disappears. Bad enough but then, you have to hunt round the menus and no, not in View but in File, you find Switch to Map Editor. A totally illogical location for the control and I don’t see the point of closing the Map View anyway, plus Map View is/was an essential item that you don’t want to suddenly be removed. This I think is poor UI planning.
    In the Evaluation Guide there is no mention of this happening – I spent a long boring time trying to work out what should have been intuitive. plus some of the menu titles have changed.
    Point 2 – Evaluation Guide – Create a bookmap
    You try to follow the instructions and create a bookmap – fine, now go on to step 3 – vague or what? Could not make sense of the instructions from then on and skipped trying after half an hour of guess work.
    There’s no information on what you’re doing, what the fields are or which “precise” field to put information into – a very trying exercise.
    Point 3 – Evaluation Guide Specify relationships between topics
    Please…please, prove me wrong. You get that to work – dare you!
    From step 3, just try to get the table to accept another row – you can’t, the table is the wrong type! Another hour wasted.
    Point 4 – Evaluation Guide – Create an index entry
    Err…what? What are you supposed to see (remember step 9 says don’t save the topic so you also don’t run a transform, so you also don’t see what the results are – apart from some code lumps in the page which tell you nothing very much.
    Point 5 – Evaluation Guide – Insert a Cross-reference
    No real problem here except that now you have to save the changes in the example in order to use the Page Preview mode – I don’t like that, it’s not a real preview if you have to save the changes, I want to see the changes and use or remove them if necessary – poor programming.
    I also spent 45 minutes listening to someone stutter their way through a very poor product presentation. I am just fed up with having to fight my way through products which should sell themselves and think your company is not pulling its weight whether your product works well in the end or not. Certainly your documentatin could do with a brush -up.


    Su-Laine Yeo

    Reply to: Evaluation Guide not up to scratch

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your constructive feedback, and I am sorry that your experience with XMetaL thus far has been so frustrating. I will make sure that the people responsible for XMetaL R&D and documentation are aware of the factual errors you found in the Evaluation Guide, the usability issues in the Evaluation Guide, and the usability issues in the product itself.

    Regarding the issue of having previously-open topics popping up when you start XMetaL, fortunately this is a user preference. I just added a technical bulletin here:,802.0.html

    Regarding the XMetaL sales process in general, we find that demos and evaluations sometimes go extremely smoothly, and sometimes not. I don't know what happened in your case – it could be that maybe someone was having a bad day, or maybe they are relatively new at what they were doing. We always appreciate the chance to fix problems, so if you would like a second presentation or other help with XMetaL, please feel free to contact your account representative.



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