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Thread: Installation/Download Documentation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3

    Default Installation/Download Documentation

    Before I say anything else, I want to say that I think Pentaho is not only a great product, but a historically significant victory in the world of computer software.

    That said...

    The download, installation, and configuration process is confusing and in my opinion, not significantly documented. I am a software developer and technically savvy, but the installation process is unintuitive in some places and downright confusing in others. For clarity, I will enumerate my concerns as follows:

    Issue 1: Download procedure

    The very first issue is the confusion of what to download and where to put it. Under the BI Platform download section, there are 9 download options, but no indication of their relationship to each other. I know that some downloads are complimentary, others are mutually independant. Many contain abbreviations that are far from explicit. It is not clear which packages are the "core" functionality and what role each of the complimentary downloads play. In my opinion, there should be one single "complete core" download and another download that contains all of the examples. I do not see a need for two demo configuration downloads. Most users who are interested in viewing the examples are probably interested in all of the examples. All of the questions above are exacerbated by the fact that every download on sourceforge requires about two to three page jumps to finally select a mirror and perform a download. This means that, a user has to step through about 54 pages (3 pages per download x 18 total downloads) to download to complete product offering.

    The best solution in my opinion would be to (1) clearly identify the role of each download, (2) try to minimize the number of (or at least clearly identify) components that users do not need, and (3) create a single "all inclusive" download for users that either want to download everything, or do not yet know what they want. At the minimum, I think there should be a single "download guide" that enumerates all of the download options for each component and explains what is and is not included in each download.


    2. Configuration issues

    This is not necessarily a complaint that Pentaho is difficult to configure. The issue that I have is that the configuration effort is overly decentralized.


    3. Definition of Product
    This is a slightly different issue from those listed above, but I think it is even more important with a product as wide in scope as Pentaho is. The message on the download site, "Inlcudes Eclipse BIRT, JasperReports, Mondrian, JPivot, scheduling, web services, busienss rules," is very confusing to me. Aside from the word "includes" being spelled wrong, it is not clear if these components are included conceptually or physically. Specifically, I didn't find "BIRT" included in the preconfigured instance, although I understand that BIRT reports can be displayed by Pentaho. Whatever additional steps are required to have a fully functional and maximally usefull toolset should be listed in the documentation.
    There should be a page with links to all "complimentary or prerequisite toolsets".

    In addition, product gaps (permanent and temporary) should be clearly defined and updated in every update of the documentation. A user should not have to check the product roadmap to find out that there is not yet a GUI report designer, or that such-and-such component is still in development. If it is necessary to download the BIRT toolkit separately from the Eclipse website, this should be explained. I spent over two hours on my dial-up internet connection trying to figure out which download had the report designer. It is not enough to simply omit reference to a GUI report designer or a GUI Mondrian cube editor. These things will be expected by many users and so their absense should be clearly explained. Users who are already familiar with each individual product line will not have a problem, but users new to Eclipse or the the Open Source B.I. community will appreciate these explanations.

    4. Product Roadmap

    The product roadmap is great, except that is seems to be often out of date and there is no revision date to be found. Even if the revision date always listed the current date, that would be fine. Especially because the report includes with it the current status of each conponent (and many users print out the document), it is absolutely critical that a revision date be listed somewhere on that report.



    Thank you for your time and I hope that this feedback is useful. I eagerly look forward to every new addition to the Mondrian RSS feed.

    Thanks for a great product,

    Aaron

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    178

    Default Re:Installation/Download Documentation

    Thanks for the input. It's great to get honest and frank feed back. We will tackle these as resources permit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    1

    Default Re:Installation/Download Documentation

    This is what I concern too.

    Thank you Pentaho team!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3

    Default Re:Installation/Download Documentation

    Thank you. I understand that resources are limited and appreciate your open attitude towards this kind of feedback.

    Quite honestly, I have been quite impressed with the speed at which the Pentaho project is progressing and will be quite happy if my feedback proves to be even a little bit usefull in the development of this great project.


    Thanks again,

    Aaron

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