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1st message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 01:18
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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The first inkling that I might at long last get a bit done on the Companion. I have updated this video clip to match 218c:

 http://templot.com/companion/4_where_do_i_start.php

I will update this topic as I get more done.

Martin.

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2nd message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 01:58
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from:
Martin Wynne
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Another short video added for beginners:

 http://templot.com/companion/4_where_do_i_start.php

I would welcome some feedback about the style and content of these videos, and the Templot Explained section generally:

 http://templot.com/companion/0_for_beginners.php

I hope I am hitting the right level for raw beginners, it's impossible for me to know. It certainly takes a great deal of time to produce. Hopefully the information delivery rate can be increased as beginners become more familiar with the concepts.

regards,

Martin.

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3rd message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 19:47
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Phil O
Plymouth, United Kingdom



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Martin,

I think it might help, if on the first link, you put a picture of the first screen that you see on opening Templot and a note on how to change the scale and gauge to suit the first time user. Most first time users will like me think what the hell do I do with this. Is it in my scale / gauge etc.?

Cheers

Phil
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4th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 20:34
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Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Martin Wynne wrote:    I would welcome some feedback about the style and content of these videos, and the Templot Explained section generally:

regards,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

Looking good so far. A couple of points :-

1) You say "You probably already know the basics of UK pointwork geometry" in section 4 - what are you assuming that people already know ? It may help to be specific and say " if you know xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx then you are familiar with UK pointwork geometry"

2) I have said this before but once you have covered the absolute basics and brought people round to the Templot style I think it is important to give users some specific track design methods/worked examples as many may come to Templot ( as Peco users wanting better prototype fidelity ) and just want to design a single plan and then move off and build it only returning to Templot when the next new layout is due.

The basic methods of making :

Double track oval with passing loop and siding ( like a Triang train set with a couple of track extension packs )

Terminus station design - Minories type with double track/engine release/parels bay.

Flowing single track terminus - aligning templates over a pre-drawn Template to ensure it flows nicely.


Important, I think, to stress that Templot is intended to be ( or is capable of being ) used in other ways than just snapping single track items together or designing single templates.

Rob


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5th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 21:06
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Martin Wynne
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Phil O wrote: I think it might help, if on the first link, you put a picture of the first screen that you see on opening Templot and a note on how to change the scale and gauge to suit the first time user.Hi Phil,

I don't quite follow that? :?

There is a picture of the first screen and how to set the gauge on this page:

 http://templot.com/companion/3_what_am_i_looking_at.php

And it is repeated as the very first item in the first video:



And likewise is also the first item in the "your first printed template" video.

Which did you mean by the "first link"?

Thanks for the feedback.

cheers,

Martin.

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6th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 21:39
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Rob Manchester wrote:1) You say "You probably already know the basics of UK pointwork geometry" in section 4 - what are you assuming that people already know? It may help to be specific and say "if you know xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx then you are familiar with UK pointwork geometry"Hi Rob,

Well I'm assuming that if someone arrives at Templot wanting to print a specific individual template, say a B-7 in EM curved onto 6ft radius, then they already know what that is.

In which case they have a completely different starting point on the NEW dialog and don't need to know anything about mouse actions and track planning at this stage. So they are better off jumping out of the track planning tutorial and going straight to the template printing video instead.

There are a great many users in this "I just want to print a template instead of buying one" category. It was after all the original purpose of Templot.

I don't know how else to cater for the differing wants of new users. And I can't provide all the links to other topics from the start, because I haven't yet written them. There is no point in putting "if you don't know x, click here". Because there isn't yet a here to click. That will have to be a later edit.

Truly it is a mind-numbing tangle. I have been at this starting point of a users guide several times over the years, and never got any further because it goes off in too many directions at once.

What I would like to know is if I am hitting the right note with the "Ladybird Book of Templot" style? Several times already I have written more explanation and then deleted it until later in the series. I don't want to treat beginners as dim-wits, but on the other hand I have heard many times "I couldn't make head nor tail of that, it went right over my head".

Thanks for the feedback.

regards,

Martin.

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7th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 22:18
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Martin Wynne
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Rob Manchester wrote:2) I have said this before but once you have covered the absolute basics and brought people round to the Templot style I think it is important to give users some specific track design methods/worked examples as many may come to Templot ( as Peco users wanting better prototype fidelity) and just want to design a single plan and then move off and build it only returning to Templot when the next new layout is due.Hi Rob,

All in good time. :)

The plan for the next few videos is to work through the remainder of the beginner buttons.

1. the other mouse actions which are unaffected by the peg position -- orbit and shift.

2. explain the basics about the fixing peg, but not the notch at this stage. Using F4 to set the length.

3. using F5 and F6 and how the red radius indicator is affected.

4. create a small bit of track plan using the remaining buttons. This will include the basic make tools, so will also need an explanation of stored templates and the control template. That is a concept which is so blindingly simple, and yet seems to be so alien to many. Every single word will have to be carefully judged. 

The basic methods of making: Double track oval with passing loop and siding (like a Triang train set with a couple of track extension packs ) I'm not going anywhere near that, at least not in the short term. Such geometrical work is out of place in Templot, and not straightforward. Beginners don't want to be working straight off with swing angles and the rest if they have got any sense. That sort of thing is all so much easier in say AnyRail or XtrackCad that beginners are better staying there if that is what they want.

Terminus station design - Minories type with double track/engine release/parcels bay. Flowing single track terminus - aligning templates over a pre-drawn Template to ensure it flows nicely. Yes, as soon as enough has been covered to make that describable without a stream of explanations of the basics as we go along.

For now my first target is to get as far as a replacement for this ancient video:

 http://templot.com/sk5/starter_track_plan_.sk5

with everything having been explained in the process.

Thanks for the feedback.

regards,

Martin.

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8th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 23:14
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Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Hi Martin,

I think you are doing fine. I can appreciate the difficulties of pitching the information at the right level given such a varied user-base. A user who is new to any software must be prepared to practice, make mistakes and learn - that is how we live all of our life.

Explaining the storage box concept is going to be a tricky one as you say. Understanding the concept of the control template and background templates is key to Templot, at least when you move past single turnout design. Are you able to have mouseover prompts for the menu when a user clicks on a background template ? A quick prompt as to the use of the make, copy and delete etc may be handy before a beginner ends up with no templates left in the storage box ( or duplicate copies of some ). Just a thought - you could maybe have a prompt 'off' setting savable in stored preferences.

Keep plodding through - the docs/videos will make a huge difference to Templot.

Regards
Rob


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9th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 23:42
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Rob Manchester wrote:Are you able to have mouseover prompts for the menu when a user clicks on a background template?Hi Rob,

Not easily, using the standard Windows menu functions. If I depart from those, the menus might not work in Wine.

The traditional Windows method is that hovering over a menu item puts a prompt in the status bar along the bottom of the screen.

At present Templot doesn't have such a status bar, although it could have, and it doesn't necessarily have to be at the bottom. It could display across the middle of the screen.

That would be quite a lot of work, and yet another update version before I can progress the Templot Companion.

But more than that, is the difficulty of writing the actual prompt in a few short words which mean more than is already on the menu. I don't know how to do that. :(

Possibly yet another "are you sure?" message after clicking it rather than before is the better option, with full explanation and cancel options.

cheers,

Martin.

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10th message | this message only posted: 29 Jan 2018 16:15
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madscientist
 

 

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as someone who has been on a learning curve and now feels quite comfortable with most aspects of Templot , well everything up to slips and tandems anyway , I would agree with Rob that the beginner aspects that caused me most head scratching are not the real basic stuff ( and I think your new videos are too simplistic and rather long for the simple things they are showing )

I would say the beginner issues are

(a) The concept of the control template and all the various Make delete and copy to the control options ( I actually question why you need half of them )

(b) how to join track together , how to make ovals , curves etc

(c) PEG and notches , lots of TLAs and FLAS( three and four letter abbreviations ) , here for the beginner,

I think most beginners can insert a turnout and roam it etc , ( or should be ) , Its the next step , i.e. going beyond a template to a track plan consisting of many elements that flumexes beginners.

Once you have the Aaha moment ( i.e. when you wrap your head around the control and where it goes ) . ( and I still generate loads of duplicate backgrounds, but I now just go around deleting them after !), then the next issue is more to do with how to construct a prototype formation in Templot , i.e. the lack of track knowledge

SO to summarise

1. Basic beginners , quick and short intros to major functions , not sure , minutes of video needed

2. Intermediate , i.e. beyond the turnout template , parallel tracks , crossovers, basic peg and notch , advance and exit track etc

3. Advanced , more peg and notch , transitions , slips crossovers

4. specialised , tandems , split deflection , etc


dave
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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I'm not going anywhere near that, at least not in the short term. Such geometrical work is out of place in Templot, and not straightforward. Beginners don't want to be working straight off with swing angles and the rest if they have got any sense. That sort of thing is all so much easier in say AnyRail or XtrackCad that beginners are better staying there if that is what they want.


actually templot is easier to lay out ovals then say SCARM as it has no concept of swing angles ( or transitions ) and actually unless you use set track its very difficult to lay out a oval

Templot is a great track planning app, what with all the "make" functions , snap etc , maybe u dont want to hear that :D

Dave
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Martin Wynne
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madscientist wrote:I think your new videos are too simplistic and rather long for the simple things they are showingI wondered that too.

That seems an almost inevitable reaction if you already know this stuff. It is surely all quite simple?

But several times I have read reports on web forums where the writer says something along the lines of "after 30 minutes I still hadn't got any further than the first start-up screen -- what's that all about?"

I honestly don't know how to proceed. The videos are time-consuming to produce and I don't want to be doing them if they are not really needed.

In fact I don't want to be doing any of it. I never would have released Templot in the first place had I known how much hard work would be involved just trying to explain it.

regards,

Martin.

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Trevor Walling
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Hello Martin,
                   I believe you over think too much about how newcomers to using Templot will use your program. People need to become informed about prototypical track off their own bat if they want to make use of all its capabilities. I don't think you can spoon feed everything to users if they are unwilling to make some effort on their own about such things. You can only do your best after all which I think you are fulfilling well beyond what most would provide.
Regards.:) 

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PRChappell
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Martin

"Double track oval with passing loop and siding ( like a Triang train set with a couple of track extension packs )"  -  I should like to comment that most of us want this as we start - more shed or garage size - but most want to create at least one oval so that something can be run.


I would encourage you to keep this near the top of the list preferably with transitions into the curves.  This means that there are several things preceding this one but getting something running is usually a key objective for most of us.  Up and down some yard lengths is ok but to get something run in is so much better on an oval.


Just some thoughts


Best wishes


Peter


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Martin Wynne
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PRChappell wrote: Double track oval with passing loop and siding ( like a Triang train set with a couple of track extension packs )"  -  I should like to comment that most of us want this as we start - more shed or garage size - but most want to create at least one oval so that something can be run.Hi Peter,

A continuous run yes. An oval no.

An oval is a symmetrical shape with fixed curves and straight sides. No real railway is like that.

What you want is to curve round in a pleasing way from your station to another station, or a fiddle yard, or whatever. And then curve back round in a pleasing but hopefully slightly different way to return to the first station.

I'm obviously intending to cover all that.

But that's nothing like a Tri-ang set track oval, and in fact trying to replicate such in Templot is quite tricky, and not for beginners. Curves need to set to fixed angular lengths, and placed at specific geometrical locations, as in a CAD program. It's all doable, but not what Templot is primarily for. A series of flowing transition curves is much easier.

cheers,

Martin.

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PRChappell
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Martin

Fine, yes, not an oval but a track that goes round the room! - your words describe what I was seeking and you clearly have what I had in mind already in hand.

Best wishes

Peter

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madscientist
 

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote:I think your new videos are too simplistic and rather long for the simple things they are showingI wondered that too.

That seems an almost inevitable reaction if you already know this stuff. It is surely all quite simple?

But several times I have read reports on web forums where the writer says something along the lines of "after 30 minutes I still hadn't got any further than the first start-up screen -- what's that all about?"

I honestly don't know how to proceed. The videos are time-consuming to produce and I don't want to be doing them if they are not really needed.

In fact I don't want to be doing any of it. I never would have released Templot in the first place had I known how much hard work would be involved just trying to explain it.

regards,

Martin.
martin if you ever want a long treatise on why this  " I never would have released Templot in the first place had I known how much hard work would be involved just trying to explain it." is such a problem for you , Ill quite happily expend  a considerable time explaining why a Windows or Mac user ( i.e. a GUI user ) struggles so much and in fact the more expert  the user is ( i.e. an expert computer applications user , the more they would struggle.

its  quite obvious to a person like me , why you spend so much time explaining templot 

I say this in all humility and honesty 

regards 

dave 

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madscientist
 

 

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But that's nothing like a Tri-ang set track oval, and in fact trying to replicate such in Templot is quite tricky, and not for beginners. Curves need to set to fixed angular lengths, and placed at specific geometrical locations, as in a CAD program. It's all doable, but not what Templot is primarily for. A series of flowing transition curves is much easier.


Funnily enough Templot  is far easier to use in terms of laying out " ovals " , i.e. train set " ovals " , firstly it has the concept of " swing" angles, a feature missing from say SCARM 

Secondly is has automatic double track, auto crossovers , etc , again features largely missing from packages like SCARM or RailModeler pro , where I find they are fine if you stick too set-track, but once you want to implement anything in flexi, you rapidly run into issues with lack of proper geometric curve functions 

Templets underlying capabilities are way way beyond these programs. But thats not the issue with Templot and what makes it hard for beginners 

dave 

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Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Martin Wynne wrote:


But that's nothing like a Tri-ang set track oval......

cheers,

Martin.
Martin,

Maybe not the best descriptive text of mine, I didn't actually mean a regular shaped layout made of setrack type bits.........I knew what I was thinking about :D

Keep your chin up and plod on.

Rob


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Martin Wynne
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madscientist wrote:martin if you ever want a long treatise on why this "I never would have released Templot in the first place had I known how much hard work would be involved just trying to explain it." is such a problem for you, I'll quite happily expend a considerable time explaining why a Windows or Mac user ( i.e. a GUI user ) struggles so much and in fact the more expert the user is (i.e. an expert computer applications user), the more they would struggle.Hi Dave,

Thanks for the kind offer, but no thanks.

regards,

Martin.

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Judi R
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PRChappell wrote: Double track oval with passing loop and siding ( like a Triang train set with a couple of track extension packs )"  -  I should like to comment that most of us want this as we start - more shed or garage size - but most want to create at least one oval so that something can be run.
I have to disagree on this. Templot's strengths are not about creating ovals or complete track layouts of any sort. Its roots lie in creating a template of a turnout or a group of turnouts that are as close as reasonably practicable to prototype practice. The ability to make that group larger and larger to include lengths of plain line (curved or otherwise) is besides the point and does not make best use of Templot's strengths.

Those who wish to set out a plan for an oval should be directed to SCARM or XtraCad or whatever. Indeed, when I wanted to quickly work out how some hidden storage loops could be laid out, I used SCARM. When I want to design my station throat I shall use Templot.

Judi R

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madscientist
 

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote:martin if you ever want a long treatise on why this "I never would have released Templot in the first place had I known how much hard work would be involved just trying to explain it." is such a problem for you, I'll quite happily expend a considerable time explaining why a Windows or Mac user ( i.e. a GUI user ) struggles so much and in fact the more expert the user is (i.e. an expert computer applications user), the more they would struggle.Hi Dave,

Thanks for the kind offer, but no thanks.

regards,

Martin.
thats fine
regards

Dave 

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madscientist
 

 

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Judi R wrote: PRChappell wrote: Double track oval with passing loop and siding ( like a Triang train set with a couple of track extension packs )"  -  I should like to comment that most of us want this as we start - more shed or garage size - but most want to create at least one oval so that something can be run.
I have to disagree on this. Templot's strengths are not about creating ovals or complete track layouts of any sort. Its roots lie in creating a template of a turnout or a group of turnouts that are as close as reasonably practicable to prototype practice. The ability to make that group larger and larger to include lengths of plain line (curved or otherwise) is besides the point and does not make best use of Templot's strengths.

Those who wish to set out a plan for an oval should be directed to SCARM or XtraCad or whatever. Indeed, when I wanted to quickly work out how some hidden storage loops could be laid out, I used SCARM. When I want to design my station throat I shall use Templot.

Judi R
as a user with as of today 12 Templot "layouts" under my belt , I would strongly disagree with your conclusions 
There  is no doubt that Templot originated  in the arena you describe, but its clear from the breath and width of the program today , with its support for sketchpads, baseboards , the " Make " functions , map imports, collision envelopes , etc  that the software is capable and in fact excels at " layout " design 

Thats not to confuse it with setback pick and place type design software, the primary difference being they use a fixed geometry , whereas Templot is far more capable in that , you " could " emulate settrack if you wished , but its strengths are in precision, breath of capability etc 

whether your layout is P4 or 00 , Templot is adept and quite fast at laying out flexitrack, in fact its arguably way better then SCARM or RailmodellerPro , as its provides transition curves , easements etc , which SCARM or RMPro cant . ( lets leave Xtrakcad as a bizarre creation it is ) 

I dont know about you , but today I find most PECO builders are building from Flexi and not set track curves and Templot is better at that then most of the "click and stitch" software 

I can guarantee you, I can create a geometric perfect double train train "oval " , i.e.  two mirrored curves joined by straights to be executed in RTR Flexitrack , faster and more perfect then in SCARM, in Templot 

regards 

Dave 

PS in that regard, the concept of teaching beginners the Oval and a few points etc , was more as a step to greater things then positioning Templot as an alternative to SCARM 

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madscientist
 

 

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Heres the thing

If you are a beginner and you are faced with Templot you have the following learning curves

1. A large and complex piece of software, that clearly requires a considerable learning curve

2. An interface to that software that is largely and completely counter intuitive as regards modern GUI software ( which the beginner may be familiar with )

3. A, initially bewildering array of options

4. The Help system ( for all the reasons we know ) that is incomplete , and I refer to the in-app help

5. A requirement that some understanding of prototype track work is necessary , that many modellers actually have no idea about in reality ( rather like they typically know nothing about signalling either )


Now add all that up and you have a tremendous learning curve.


All we can collectively say , it that , thank God we have Martins patience , and his knowledge of both model railway track and the prototype

The issue isn't simply Templot , its Templot combined with a lack of prototype understanding to boot


There is no easy answer and no magic bullet , all I can say is I'm glad Martin does what he does and I for one am a great beneficiary of his Wisdom and knowledge 

dave
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Martin Wynne
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Thanks Dave.

I'm going to do my best to take beginners through the whole thing.

But that is not helped by the constant suggestion to beginners that the GUI is all wrong and counter-intuitive, and too difficult to understand.

I know that rather depends on whose intuition you are talking about.

But I have just re-read the first few pages of the Templot Explained section, and watched again the videos, and tried even harder than usual to put myself in the mind of a beginner. And I just can't see anything counter-intuitive on there?

 http://templot.com/companion/0_for_beginners.php

It may be counter-expectations, but I can't do anything about that. It's not my fault that some beginners may have spent years studying the Peco catalogue, or using SCARM, or whatever. All I can do is show them how Templot works.

regards,

Martin.

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Interestingly, or perhaps not, when I did a Templot workshop for my local model railway club some years ago, I chose to use an oval of track with a passing loop as the basis as it does demonstrate a good many of Templot's basic features. I also later showed one of the more advanced members the steps in generating a single slip, he already had the diamond in place. He was surprised how few extra steps this involved and happily went away confident that he could do so himself. This was pre Templot 2.
Perhaps I had the advantage of purchasing a second hand laptop just to run Templot on, so did not have any preconceptions as to how windows expected you to work. My previous computers were Acorn machines or work computers. I had had to learn to use at least four different word processors by then, all different. My basic approach was learn by experiment and read the help notes if I could not work it out. I was not on line back then. I reasoned that the most common problems encountered would be found in the question and answer section on the CD and sure enough they were. The thing I could not grasp at first were transition curves, but the tutorial soon sorted that out.
Templot has of course grown dramatically since then. :thumb:
Regards
Tony.

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Martin Wynne wrote: Thanks Dave.
....

I know that rather depends on whose intuition you are talking about.


the voluminous tombes that are Apples and Microsoft style guides for applications :D and the collective implementation that are the body of apps that use them 
Just get me wrong martin , its not a criticism of you , I am merely attempting to address , as I see it ( from the point of a professional applications programmer ) One   of the issues that makes Templot hard for beginners and why you regularly find it very frustrating trying to repeatedly to correct peoples mistakes or go over the same ground again and again 

I really dont think the solution is lots of videos,  by the way , too time consuming and without lots of feedback , you're too likely to produce stuff that may in fact not address the issues at all. 

The issue with templot is not the lack of info per se, or your erstwhile good motivations in providing it imho . The issue is a combination of user meets Templot issues 

but I can appreciate its a difficult subject 

regards 

Dave 


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madscientist
 

 

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All I can do is show them how Templot works.
Indeed, and I think most people will say you have done enough in that regard 

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Nigel Brown
 

 

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Hi Martin

Just had a quick look. I think you're right about starting at the basics, which is how to create a single template. Did wonder if saving a template for later use might be useful here. I don't think it's too early to talk about what the control template (the template you're currently working on) and background templates are. If you don't, people might get the feeling that there's an awful lot they don't understand.

I think encouraging anyone starting new with Templot to start with creating a single template, whatever their background, would be a good idea, as it's an excellent way to start getting the feel of the software. Push them in that direction. In fact, once they've done one, I'd encourage them to try others.

I did wonder about the New button. Using it might leave them a bit in the dark, or confused about how they approach things. Would introducing the concept via the Template menu be a better idea, as they'll need to know about that menu anyway?

Once the single template has been dealt with, what then? Think I'd leave layout planning as such until later. I'd suggest instead doing a bit more on more complex templates, such as a crossover, joining templates together, and modifying templates.

After that I'd run through a simple layout example, such as the very useful one you introduced ages ago, i.e. a loop and a few sidings.

One thing; I'd leave out mentioning that they might find Templot complex or bewildering, otherwise they will :(

My own view is that if Templot is approached in the right way it isn't that complex.
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madscientist
 

 

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Perhaps I had the advantage of purchasing a second hand laptop just to run Templot on, so did not have any preconceptions as to how windows expected you to work. My previous computers were Acorn machines or work computers. I had had to learn to use at least four different word processors by then, all different. My basic approach was learn by experiment and read the help notes if I could not work it out. I was not on line back then. I reasoned that the most common problems encountered would be found in the question and answer section on the CD and sure enough they were. The thing I could not grasp at first were transition curves, but the tutorial soon sorted that out.


tada, therein lies a pointer to the issues that a " beginner " exposed to 20 years of Windows activity will suffer from , thats not a criticism  of Templot , merely an indication of what you have to do to  teach a beginner to use the software 

Again, I dont want to present it that this is the only or even primary issue, lack of prototype knowledge is one also, as is the users approach , is this really a settrack requirement etc 

I mean I remained stunned in my club , how many members have never used ANY  computer modelling software to plan a layout, in this day and age , how is that even possible ! :D

dave 

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madscientist
 

 

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My own view is that if Templot is approached in the right way it isn't that complex. 


 actually I would agree with you. once you wrap your head around the way the "program thinks " , you begin to realise  how most things are done.  Funnily I find , certain small things  awkward or difficult to find and certain big and complex things , relatively simple 

The biggest thing once you get past the  absolute beginner stage is the huge menu system and simply remembering where everything is 

I sympathise with Martins frustrations, I was for many years a writer of bespoke software , designed to clients specific requirements . I understand exactly the frustration with the issue of teaching non expert users ( the designers being experts and the users not!) how to use a piece of software largely designed to operate in its own closed environment . 

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madscientist
 

 

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as a summary of my comments

I really don't think Martin that you should do lots t more beginner stuff, perhaps simply organise what you have already done , which is a HUGE volume of work into an accessible format as you are prepared to give it time

after that , its " point the user " to the stuff time and forget about it. I think you worry too much about it :D

it is what it is in reality , ( as they say )

regards

Dave
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Nigel Brown wrote:I did wonder about the New button. Using it might leave them a bit in the dark, or confused about how they approach things. Would introducing the concept via the Template menu be a better idea, as they'll need to know about that menu anyway?Hi Nigel,

The NEW function repeats the template > new template menu item (CTRL+Q). All the beginner buttons repeat menu functions, they just represent an easy-to-find sub-set of the most-used functions.

I agree that the NEW function is a bit of an odd man out. It's there primarily for users who don't want to do track planning, just print a bog-standard template. I have tried to shunt such users into a separate way of doing things from the track planners. I'm not convinced it works very well, but I don't know how else it might be done.

cheers,

Martin.

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Trevor Walling
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Hello Martin,
                 I think too much worry is expended about people not being able to do this or do that. We keep hearing how Windows users do something this way or that. I don't believe this is true as Windows is changing all the time and its users manage to adapt. The same can be said about Android as well,and Linux is just the same. The key factor is people becoming familiar with a particular piece of software by just using it. I find word processing applications are much the same across all platforms.
When one first encounters a word progressing program it all seems overwhelming and confusing but as ones experience increases things become second nature and one sees the generic nature of them all. This is the same for any software as is illustrated by people adopting and using Android devices. People download and start using all sorts of apps without any previous experience simply because they wish to and are willing to try.
I think you need to step back a bit from worrying about the users of your software because if they want to use it they will adapt and learn.  I don't think it will ever be possible to fully document Templot because of the nature of its subject. Permanent way engineers took years to master their craft in days past and all without computers. In addition you cannot resist just adding another feature here or another tweak there because it gives you pleasure. :D
Regards.
Trevor.:)

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Ariels Girdle
 

 

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My own take, as a moderately experienced user, is to agree with Trevor. We should not get too obsessed with making Templot easier and easier for beginners. There is only so far you can go. Some beginners seem unwilling to put in the time and effort to learn things properly, whatever you may do to help.

A lack of knowledge of real track is likely to be more of a handicap in the long run than misunderstanding Templot. I know of a number of people who have worked out how to squeeze a track design out of Templot; yet they do not understand how real track has changed over the years or what type of track would be appropriate for their period and location.

As Tony suggests, spending a short while with someone who is familiar with the program is likely to be far more beneficial than dramatic 'improvements' to the software itself. I think that organising formal workshops would be asking too much though.

Of at least equal concern ought to be a desire to keep the existing user base happy. Too many changes in a relatively short space of time, or efforts to 'dumb down' the software can be frustrating for existing users already familiar with Templot's functionality - particularly those like me who only need to use Templot on an occasional basis once their dream layout has been designed. Despite this, a few of the recent changes are indeed wonderful and beneficial to all, like the new slip function for example.

Templot is a superb program. I really don't know what we would all do without it. I can cope with learning all the changes if necessary.
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I agree , given that wholesale changes to make the software more amenable to beginners is simply not a practical option and secondly given the HUGE amount of information about n text and videos that Martin has already produced , I think enough has been done already. Perhaps simply reorganising the existing material is enough to be getting on with

Dave
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Martin Wynne
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Thanks all for the feedback and kind words.

Dave, you wrote:
I'm all sorted ... now happily using make-on-click modeWhich surprised me, because "happy" and "make-on-click mode" have never before occurred in the same sentence. At least not for me, and not for a lot of other users.

But they weren't beginners. And times change -- now that we have the make slip and make tandem functions (and hopefully make outside slip in future and possibly others), the need to work with overlaid partial templates is much reduced. Possibly eliminated for many users.

I'm wondering therefore, whether to have "make-on-click mode" as the default? This doesn't prevent anyone switching back to the classic mode if they prefer, and the setting is included in the saved program preferences.

Would that make life easier for beginners? And possibly reduce the incidence of duplicate templates which seem to bedevil some users.

It would need a bit of tweaking. The store toolbutton needs to be removed in "make-on-click mode" mode, and the toolbar colouring, and the wording on the menu changed so that "make-on-click mode" becomes "normal".

The big downside is that about 5000 topics on here become out of date at a stroke, along with most of the existing videos and other stuff. In fact almost all the detailed instructions for using Templot written in the last 20 years. But 90% of it is out of date anyway and waiting for a rewrite.

So it needs careful thought. And brings the Templot Companion to a halt yet again until I have thunk it, and if necessary released a program update.

regards,

Martin.

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Nigel Brown
 

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: Nigel Brown wrote:I did wonder about the New button. Using it might leave them a bit in the dark, or confused about how they approach things. Would introducing the concept via the Template menu be a better idea, as they'll need to know about that menu anyway?Hi Nigel,

The NEW function repeats the template > new template menu item (CTRL+Q). All the beginner buttons repeat menu functions, they just represent an easy-to-find sub-set of the most-used functions.

I agree that the NEW function is a bit of an odd man out. It's there primarily for users who don't want to do track planning, just print a bog-standard template. I have tried to shunt such users into a separate way of doing things from the track planners. I'm not convinced it works very well, but I don't know how else it might be done.

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin

Yep I realised that New just repeated the template > new template function. I just had a feeling that pushing everyone through the menus might actually simplify things. Doing that you don't have to worry about people's intentions. "use template > new template" achieves the same effect for a beginner and is as easy to use, while introducing the template menu so they know what it's there for. Just my thoughts.

cheers
Nigel



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Nigel Brown
 

 

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Trevor Walling wrote: ...
                 I think too much worry is expended about people not being able to do this or do that. We keep hearing how Windows users do something this way or that. I don't believe this is true as Windows is changing all the time and its users manage to adapt. The same can be said about Android as well,and Linux is just the same. The key factor is people becoming familiar with a particular piece of software by just using it. I find word processing applications are much the same across all platforms.
..
Trevor.:)
Hi Trevor
Totally agree. Windows "style" is prevalent across most Windows personal applications, but once you get beyond that into serious applications then it tends to fall by the wayside. I became a professional software developer and implementer way back in 1969 and Windows only had marginal effects in many application areas. Over the last few years I've become involved in CAD software for my own uses, first for etching purposes, now for 3D printing applications, and in doing so have tried many CAD programs; very few could be said to have a Windows GUI, and most have a steeper learning curve than Templot.
I think the way to lead people into using Templot is, as is the case with many programs, is to start with some simple requirements, and adopt a prescriptive approach to actually get them to do something useful, while explaining what the actions are about.
Cheers
Nigel

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Martin Wynne wrote: Thanks all for the feedback and kind words.

Dave, you wrote:
I'm all sorted ... now happily using make-on-click modeWhich surprised me, because "happy" and "make-on-click mode" have never before occurred in the same sentence. At least not for me, and not for a lot of other users.

But they weren't beginners. And times change -- now that we have the make slip and make tandem functions (and hopefully make outside slip in future and possibly others), the need to work with overlaid partial templates is much reduced. Possibly eliminated for many users.

I'm wondering therefore, whether to have "make-on-click mode" as the default? This doesn't prevent anyone switching back to the classic mode if they prefer, and the setting is included in the saved program preferences.

Would that make life easier for beginners? And possibly reduce the incidence of duplicate templates which seem to bedevil some users.

It would need a bit of tweaking. The store toolbutton needs to be removed in "make-on-click mode" mode, and the toolbar colouring, and the wording on the menu changed so that "make-on-click mode" becomes "normal".

The big downside is that about 5000 topics on here become out of date at a stroke, along with most of the existing videos and other stuff. In fact almost all the detailed instructions for using Templot written in the last 20 years. But 90% of it is out of date anyway and waiting for a rewrite.

So it needs careful thought. And brings the Templot Companion to a halt yet again until I have thunk it, and if necessary released a program update.

regards,

Martin.
I think is fatal to assume that feature X or feature Y is " useful " for beginners, without some sort of Broad consensus and user feedback. 
Simply because the method suits me ( I now have click to make on the left button and select on the right ) doesn't mean it would suit others ,

So the answer is " no" I wouldn't change anything around. Its risks effort for no gain 

If I was to draw any consensus from this thread , I would suggest that , outside a wholesale redesign , you have done more then enough to explain the current software in the many videos and text that you have created. I do not see much point in worrying too much about it.  if you wsh to spend time on " documentation " then perhaps merely organisating access to what's already produced is better then recreating or creating new content. 

I don't think the issue is documentation , there's more then enough 

your time , I might humbly add, is better spent adding features you feel adds to templots ability , then worrying too much about beginners understanding how to roam turnouts or ending up with duplicate templates ( an issue we can all resolve ourselves ) or whatever beginners get hung up about. 

Keep up the good fight 

Dave  


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