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From "J.Pietschmann" <j3322...@yahoo.de>
Subject The ultimate assistant was: Re: page-position="last" - bug?
Date Thu, 10 Apr 2003 22:44:48 GMT
Clay Leeds wrote:
> ON a side-note, it'd be bitchin if we had some sort of nifty "FOP Answer
> Wizard" on the site, where one could posit: Has feature X been
> implemented?" and it would search the compliance.xml document for a
> "yes" in the supported column.

If you know the exact name of the element/property, getting the
page in a browser and hitting ctrl-f is your wizard.
Implementing a wizard where you don't need to know the exact name
is reaching for the holy grail of AI research. Apart from this,
people will ask for all kind of (mis)features of related techs,
like why FOP doesn't accept &nbsp;, -- in comments, SVG gradients,
xsl:script, SAX1 and where the memory is gone.

The majority of newbies starts with a problem and seeks a solution.
Parts of the FAQ, in particular section 8, are problem and task
oriented for exactly this reason. I think it would be a good idea
to have a "solutions" page where the code and detailed explanations
from sections 4 (servlet), 6.3-6.6 and 8 can be factored out so that
the FAQ can be made shorter by pointing to the more voluminous
articles there. This would allow more alias descriptions for common
problems.

The slightly more advanced semi-noobs who think they can solve the problem
on their own but can't quite get it working are harder to deal with. There
is nothing worse than something which looks like an "almost there"
solution, because it's almost always a dead end (no offense, but the recent
question about manipulating the area tree for rendering a SVG into PDF is
an excellent example). The worst obstacle is the chicken effect: like
chicken accepting an old boot as their mother if it is properly introduced,
most people stick to the patters they used to get their equivalent of
"Hello World" working. In this cases the wrong approach to the problem is
the problem, but because there are so much wrong approaches it is difficult
to provide effective help: first the original problem has to be
reestablished. Occasionally the chicken effect causes enough users to
follow the same wrong path, but in the XSLT/FO area self-taught users seem
still to be the majority.

J.Pietschmann


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