Nostalgia for the Quick Reference Guide

Most readers will remember the Uniface Quick Reference Guide; the one-stop help resource for development and deployment.  In its final form for 8.4, it measures 114mm x 140 mm x approx. 22mm thick.  It weighs 293g, and has 408 pages.

Some people miss them.  Recently I received a call from a customer whose colleague was envious of his, even though it is now obsolete.  Of course the final versions also came in PDF format so you could print it yourself.  So, does anyone else miss them?

The current Uniface Library is certainly a technical improvement.  Context sensitivity, and increased use of example code, are all welcome advances.  On the other hand, having the QRG open next to your workstation is sometimes less disruptive than swapping windows while coding.  Maybe you have multiple monitors to get around that, but I’m on the road a lot with only a laptop screen available.

I’ve just been looking through my last QRG, and I’m reminded that you can dog-ear important pages (like $procerror) and insert post-it notes for certain commands that don’t seem to be documented anywhere.  You can write in it, doodle your art work and style into it, and even use it as a missile when frustrated with something / someone.  I’m sure that you can think of other advantages of physical over online.

Then there are the memories of when you used to receive the latest QRG, after attending a What’s New or Foundation training course at Compuware.  Your work colleagues indeed were envious as they still had the older version.

Help comes in many forms these days, which not only presents technical improvements to increase productivity, but also giving developers a choice of help delivery options, to match their current skill levels and learning preferences.  I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what Uniface 10 will provide us, as we’ll all be starting from the same experience level, and we want to take Uniface to a whole new generation of developers.

So, given that we won’t go back to the days of printed reference guides, is there anything that you miss from the QRG format?  Is there anything that can be done to the library, in its current format, to improve it?  Do you save topics as Favourites?  Did you know that the Uniface Library is regularly updated, but that you have to download it separately to new patches?


4 thoughts on “Nostalgia for the Quick Reference Guide”

  1. Hi Eddy,

    YES, I miss the QRG because it was a nice way (if you travel) to read trough the uniface commands sequentially, annotate and find new inspiration. You can not do this so easily with the chm (and most epub readers do not support these formats.

    So I ended up with a nice physical file of chm printouts with my annotations, remarks, examples, …

    When the pages are worn out (printer paper is not as durable as the former QRG), it’s a matter of reprint, add the annotations, …

    When CPWR dropped the QRG, I started a project with Ton Blankers to bring back the QRG (as a print-on-demand or so).
    So I skimmed the former QRG contents from the HTML pages.
    Unfortunately, CPWR stopped the support so I could not bring this to the community for legal reasons.


  2. I loved the QRG. I’m using the latest version almost every day.
    It is a nice format, handy, very quick to find something.
    Nice to read when having something in mind but don’t know exactly what.
    A pitty it is becoming old and out-worn.
    Which Uniface would make a new one for version 9.6 🙂

  3. Why not publich a QRG in epub format. Almost everyone, except maybe my grandmother, has a smartphone nowadays. Most of which support the EPUB or PDF format.

    I have come across a few companies where access to the Uniface installation folders where so secured that gaining access to the documentation was about as difficult as achieving cold-fusion. Having it on your mobile device is a lifesaver.

  4. I have the 7.2.06 version on my desk, as it has the DICT model table definitions and I use those quite a lot to create utilities and for searching code – I also have the 8.4 version, which doesn’t.

    I still have the QRG from the first day I started with Uniface – very dog-eared now, but with lots of scribbled notes in it.

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