Plugincafe, pleas clarify once more

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Old 07 July 2013   #16
Ferdinand, we have online docs by Per-Anders Edwards's(Maxon) wiki, Chicago c4d group, pages of Cesar Vonc(French developer) at his site...
For all of them - big thanks for such publication!

And you're right, +100

the python c4d sdk its great to outstanding at its core, but it is getting more worse from version to version. sadly a very common problem in the realm of maxon software imho.

Last edited by ilay : 07 July 2013 at 10:16 AM.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #17
Originally Posted by ilay: Ferdinand, we have online docs by Per-Anders Edwards's(Maxon) wiki, Chicago c4d group, pages of Cesar Vonc(French developer) at his site...
For all of them - big thanks for such publication!


you are right, these options do exist, however at least the two first sources are slightly / very outdated (i don't know about the third, first time hear about it ). also relying on a community based solution for such a fundamental part of c4d is kind of awkward to put it politely.
the whole point of an online sdk documentation is that you can save a link and have never to worry about using the newest version of the sdk documentation again.
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Old 07 July 2013   #18
They could just drop all SDK support and then you'd all be f*cked if the only way forward was asking Maxon.

Im not defending plugincafe, it is franky terrible and always was. But ..... honestly, its not Maxons job, your not paying them for it and they have no real obligation to provide you with anything.

Imo, part of the problem, is that devs are in general a special breed of takers, not givers. Everyone wants to take information, but not many want to give anything back. We are all seperate enitities. There is no community and it's each unto his own. Thats the reason why Maxon can basically do wtf it likes, and not have to take us seriously. We have no collective weight at all which is easy for them. If we where a comunity, we would get our own heads together and would support ourselves. That is unfortunatly never gonna happen. And as long as thats the case, your more or less on your own kids.That is the nature of this beast.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #19
Originally Posted by tapaul: They could just drop all SDK support and then you'd all be f*cked if the only way forward was asking Maxon.

Honestly, i don't want.
But i see sdk questions(capi/pyapi) at stackeroverflow and such communities...so it will be live even they close public hub.

Paul, what do you think about Melange project? I see that small project at/in active development...

(sorry for my bad english)
 
Old 07 July 2013   #20
Originally Posted by tapaul: Imo, part of the problem, is that devs are in general a special breed of takers, not givers. Everyone wants to take information, but not many want to give anything back. We are all seperate enitities. There is no community and it's each unto his own. Thats the reason why Maxon can basically do wtf it likes, and not have to take us seriously. We have no collective weight at all which is easy for them. If we where a comunity, we would get our own heads together and would support ourselves.


This is something that I've experienced first hand.
I tried to get the users to contribute as a collective when I was using and learning COFFEE. And it just didn't work.
There's lots of users who will gladly help you out if you ask a question. But if you ask them to work together it never happens. So we have to do things the long way. By asking one-question-at-a time. Rather than working together as a team. And writing our own collective resource dump. So we don't have to ask the question in the first place.
It's very frustrating.

I assume that everyone is doing the same thing that I do?
If I see some code posted somewhere. I copy it and create an example with it. And eventually, after years of doing this, what I end up with is my own example based version of the docs.
I've often thought that if we could all pool our notes. We could probably re-write the entire docs for the SDK. Only with proper examples too.
But the community just doesn't seem to work together like that.

-ScottA
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Old 07 July 2013   #21
Hi Scott

Feel exactly the same (although several hundreds of pages behind your expertise in the manual)

It is really down to 'those who know' to do something proactive TOGETHER.

As you say - quite a few have written bits and pieces independently, but the only way forward on this is to gather developers together in one place that are willing to work to benefit a community.

Bottom line - are there any takers?

Last edited by deepshade : 07 July 2013 at 05:47 PM.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #22
Originally Posted by Scott Ayers: This is something that I've experienced first hand.
I tried to get the users to contribute as a collective when I was using and learning COFFEE. And it just didn't work.
There's lots of users who will gladly help you out if you ask a question. But if you ask them to work together it never happens. So we have to do things the long way. By asking one-question-at-a time. Rather than working together as a team. And writing our own collective resource dump. So we don't have to ask the question in the first place.
It's very frustrating.

I assume that everyone is doing the same thing that I do?
If I see some code posted somewhere. I copy it and create an example with it. And eventually, after years of doing this, what I end up with is my own example based version of the docs.
I've often thought that if we could all pool our notes. We could probably re-write the entire docs for the SDK. Only with proper examples too.
But the community just doesn't seem to work together like that.


There are a number of problems here that are detrimental to a coding community, and a fair number of issues that would need to be addressed:

- Changes in the SDK may invalidate old code, examples, or knowledge; the language focus may change over time (COFFEE to Python...)
- Creation of a code repository takes a lot of time and experimentation
- When you come across an issue you don't want to spend more effort than necessary on researching it
- Not everybody can explain a solution properly
- Not everybody has examples available that are short enough to post (only long actual code that he wouldn't want to post and which is overloaded with other stuff)
- Not everybody speaks English well enough
- People feel that Maxon should do it instead
- People may want more recognition rather than being an anonymous edit in some rarely-read Wiki
- People have always something more urgent to do
- People may fear that their effort is in vain and that the collected knowledge is deleted and lost sooner or later
- The repository needs a well-defined focus that is enforced by an editor
- The repository would need "special articles" that explain how things work together, which may be huge (complete examples for some kind of plugin type, e.g.)
- There is a conflict between "reaching out to people" on a forum (gets replies but is lost in the depth of the forum archives) and "documenting an issue" (should be well written and easy to find on a Wiki or special database but does not encourage a dialog).

And so on. There used to be a Wiki on C4D topics but that has never really prospered either. (though, as far as I can see it was in German only)

An ideal repository would provide a framework where you can enter code examples, explanations, sample files/scenes, and a version so you know what this tip runs under, and what different method you must employ for another version. It would be searchable by full text and keyword, and you could download it to your machine in case the server gets lost. Also, some structure would be nice, like the topics/cross-links that connect entries on Wikipedia. Should be doable with some Wikis.

However, this would not solve the last issue in my list: how do you get people to enter stuff there? A forum with its liveliness is the nicer environment for interactivity and immediate response. That is missing from Wikis. You could put up a page "topics needed", but really, who is going to step up to the task? Someone would need to fish the solutions and examples out of the forums, and collect them on the Wiki. That alone is a huge undertaking, and unless you find like-minded co-editors, you would work for the benefit of others.

Needs a long breath too.

I do feel that it would be a worthy effort and a terrific coder's resource but the hero who is going to set up the Wiki, play the editor, and enter enough articles on his own to provide some initial interest, must be a cross between Sisyphus and Hercules.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #23
To me it's as easy as that:

If support works, it works great. But if not, which is unfortunately most of the time, it simply sucks as a developer that makes a living out of it (and it's harder for new devs to dive into it as well).

The forum is spammed and although it's true that they don't have to do anything as it's a free service, it's still a service. And they advertise a "free sdk and free support forum".
Honestly, they used to give developers prices back in the days (Paul surely is one who remembers). They made coding competitions, they advertised developers etc. but the bigger they got the less they cared (well, unless it serves them of course...the rest is left in the dark dying).

In the end this is not only a developement question, it also always falls back to the developers' customers and that's the worst thing. Asking a question that remains unanswered (and most questions are really not rocket science questions..just usual c4d specific ones) and therefore not being able to tell the customer anything useful just sucks.
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Old 07 July 2013   #24
Howdy,

One thing that baffles and amuses me is how many things in the SDK documentation are labeled "private". If it's private, what's it doing in there in the first place.

But I have to agree that it seems you get more support from other plugin developers than you do from Maxon at plugin cafe. It's the same thing over at Audesk's FBX support forum (more support from other plugin developers). A lot of times I end up figuring something out myself long before getting any answers, so asking a question on the support forum is becoming my last resort option.

Adios,
Cactus Dan
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Old 07 July 2013   #25
Just logged on to Plugin Cafe this morning (UK time) about 12 hours after my last visit. There are 14 spam posts all wanting to sell me a cheap kitchen, and 2 actual, real posts.

Doesn't anyone at Maxon care about how this makes them look?
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Old 07 July 2013   #26
Originally Posted by spedler: Just logged on to Plugin Cafe this morning (UK time) about 12 hours after my last visit. There are 14 spam posts all wanting to sell me a cheap kitchen, and 2 actual, real posts.

Doesn't anyone at Maxon care about how this makes them look?


I've already relayed in a spam report to them that they just need to verify users before allowing them to post. That simple. Captcha and such will not thward spam-bots. Best to keep them from posting after registering until a human can determine if the user is real.
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Old 07 July 2013   #27
Originally Posted by Kuroyume0161: I've already relayed in a spam report to them that they just need to verify users before allowing them to post. That simple. Captcha and such will not thward spam-bots. Best to keep them from posting after registering until a human can determine if the user is real.


Yes. Very simple to do, just check the user with stopforumspam.com. If they used a decent, up-to-date forum they could do that automatically. As it is, they'll have to do it manually but it's worth the effort.

Steve
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Old 07 July 2013   #28
Originally Posted by spedler: Just logged on to Plugin Cafe this morning (UK time) about 12 hours after my last visit. There are 14 spam posts all wanting to sell me a cheap kitchen, and 2 actual, real posts.

Doesn't anyone at Maxon care about how this makes them look?


Maybe someone at Maxon is supplementing his income by selling cheap kitchens.

Seriously, though, as a non-developer it's disturbing to see developers getting such poor support.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #29
Originally Posted by AdamT: Maybe someone at Maxon is supplementing his income by selling cheap kitchens.

Seriously, though, as a non-developer it's disturbing to see developers getting such poor support.


Hehe, maybe they are! But I don't know that the support is bad, exactly. It's patchy, that's true; and it's hard for new devs to get started because of that. But what Paul said in an earlier post is correct: you get what you pay for, and currently it's free. Personally I would pay a reasonable amount to join a developer program but then, of course, I'd expect to get support as required; and I get the feeling that Maxon would prefer not to have to provide that kind of service. Fair enough, that's their decision.

But Plugin Cafe is linked directly from Maxon's website and it is... distressing to see it as it is now. If they are going to provide a support service for developers, even if a very basic one, at least it ought to look as though they cared. (And I'd just remind them that, if they really don't care, just how much less functional Cinema would be without some of the plugins available for it.)

Steve
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Old 07 July 2013   #30
I don't know how other companies do it, but clearly third party developers benefit Maxon indirectly by making C4D more marketable. So developer support isn't exactly something that they do out of the goodness of their hearts ... which is not to say that they don't have hearts of gold.
 
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