It WAS the primary way I did my Help searches.
Can I turn the 'Index tab on?
Unfortunately, the Index tab was removed when the new Web Help was introduced.
What about this?
Kelvin, I searched before posting - found nothing - the link you provided explained it
I want my 'Index' back!
SolidWorks is getting as bad as AutoCAD. Every new release is useless. I just upgraded from 09 to 11. Junk
I wouldn't make this particular assumption. The Index feature was removed because the concept is dated. The new Help is web based. The indexing is redundant and less effective than just using search. Granted, Search needs more work. This was fairly heavily studied by the Product Definition team, from what I understand.
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Let me start by apologizing that you're the one that's gonna get blasted, this is not directed at you personally, but rather at this idea that you can just remove the Index for some reason.
Search is necessary for infinite data sets, like the internet, but search is less necessary when you have a finite amount of information. Every time I use SW Help search, I get 50-100 results, maybe one of which has any relevance whatsoever, and search results are not easy to cull. You have to actually open up each result read a few sentences. (And in "web based" help, why can I not use the "Back" button on my mouse to browse back?!?!?!? And this company wants to put its CAD software in a browser!??!?!?!). So if you acknowledge that "search needs more work", how can you justify removing the Index?
Ok, this is coming from a guy involved in the publishing industry, where my printed books don't have search, but they do have an index. If you want to search, you have to get the PDF version. The index is hard to create. You have to go through the text (an actual person has to do this), and identify key words, then list the keywords and references. As I understand it, the SW Help Index was removed because it was perceived to be too much work. In my case, I don't create the index, the publisher does that, and you know what? They leave out important words sometimes, but in the end, if you know what you are looking for, you can almost always find it.
So the SolidWorks search I think works best for people in their first week of using the software. Anyone who knows what they are looking for would prefer an index. I have a very hard time finding things in the SW help (and I use it very frequently as a research resource). To find something with Search, I first throw a "hail mary" pass, and just type in what I'm looking for and pray that I'll get a straight forward entry in the results list. I must be an incurable optimist because I keep trying and keep getting the same results - 50 unrelated topics, or at least 50 topics where you have to read a few sentences to see what the topic is about. And do I need to rant again about the lack of interface images in the Help? and the fact that the Help often doesn't even tell you where to find the function or what you might use it for?
The next step is to find the search result that is somewhat related, and follow the related links in the help text. You know what happens when you do this? You get basically an outline of the help in the left side window. This is essentially an Index in outline form rather than in alphabetical order. Getting to this outline is usally the most helpful thing. If you could take this and just sort it alphabetically, you'd be most of the way to a real usable index.
I guess I should be more grateful. The fact that the SW Help sux so badly is probably the single most important factor that makes it possible to make money writing books. You can say what you want about an index being "dated", but that's a ridiculous idea. It's not dated at all, it's just difficult and time consuming.
Issues with searching are noted. Even still, I've not used the Index help function in any software in years. Most (all?) of the professional applications I use have completely dropped it long before SolidWorks got rid of theirs. Indexing is still of value in printed material because there's no other way to search without doing page-by-page eyeball scan. With online help, the Index function is a much less effective step-child of Search function. You have to know what you are looking for (and spell it correctly), and you only find what you are looking for. With Search, you don't necesasrily have to know the exact term. Plus, you get additional results that you may also need. The added bonus is that terms that aren't indexed are still searchable.
Even with PDF's that have indexes (or even table of contents), I don't use the index at all, and I only use a table of contents if the PDF is multiple-file.
The search would be fine if you could get single word results, but you can't, you get some phrase that may or may not be related. Your search word may not even be included in the result at all. Ideally search should be better than index, but the reality is that it's not, it's a very far cry. Further, you might be searching for something in SolidWorks, but you get the search results for everything from Photoview to FlowXpress. It's not a question of not getting enough information, its a question of getting too much information of little relevance, and you can't cull the results by searching the search results. Search is great when you don't know what you're looking for, because you're sure to find a whole lot of whatever. But when you know exactly what you're looking for, which is for me usually the case, I don't often find it.
First they took away hard copy help, and convinced some people it was a benefit. Next they start phasing out locally installed help. And now it's the index. How long until there is no Help at all? Surely they'll be able to sell that too as a benefit to some.
I was looking through a SW training manual the other day, and there the only option as you point out in printed material was the index. I was looking at the Assembly Modeling book, and looking for the word "layout". There is indeed a chapter with the word "layout" in the title, but layout wasn't in the index. I eventually found it by thumbing through the book. I knew it had to be there. This is just a case of somebody making a big mistake in indexing the book. If people found the index to be useless, it's no wonder, with results of that sort. Discontinuing the index is the wrong answer. An index is really just an assembled list of pre-searched results - a (ideally) complete but concise shortcut.
There's really not much else to say on the value of indexes except that our experiences are very different from each other. Either way, I disagree with comments that SolidWorks removed of the Index due to cost, laziness, or not caring about customers. The software industry has dropped indexes. SolidWorks was actually a holdout for having as long as they did.
And you see what a success it is. I have the cost cutting bit from multiple sources. I choose not to put faith in reverse progress.
Here's a real example from recent experience. Use your search to find how to create a decal in SolidWorks. Note that decals are a part of base SW, not a part of PV. Use the help to tell me where the button to push resides in the non-PV SW interface. This is important because decals are newly moved from Photoworks to SolidWorks Standard, and existing users are going to need to know how to access the moved command. Searching "create decal" gets you nowhere.
We could play this game all day. In the end, the Help only tells you to "use the Decal PropertyManager", but doesn't tell you how to get there. You get there via a RMB menu option from the Decal portion of the Display Manager. So it's not in the search, and in fact it's not even in the help. I guess removing an index that sucked was doing us a favor because the search is even worse, and the help itself is no better. After years of complaints, folks just give up.
Ok, here's a better way to say it. The index has to be done anyway, because the index drives the search. Search searches the index (of keywords), not the live data. On the internet, bots constantly crawl sites and index the keywords. The index becomes a database of keywords, and the database is searched. I imagine the same thing is going on in the SW help, although I don't know that for sure. So the reason the search sux is because the index sux. This is also why you get unrelated search results - a human has applied a keyword to a help entry that may be a stretch, or you have keywords applied unevenly (keyword "curve" may be applied to the help entry for "composite curve" but not to "helix" for example). In any case, you can't escape doing an index. Whether you display it for public review or just use it as a set of search keywords, you're doing an index. A sucky index is going to result in sucky search. Put all of that on top of mostly sucky (or missing) content, and you're unlikely to have anything that's very satisfying.
>SolidWorks removed of the Index due to cost, laziness, or not caring about customers
I believe SW abandoned proper indexing as too hard to do after failing to keep up with it.
It is one of those things that was never grappled with seriously and ought to be considered by historians as one of ye olde SW weaknesses just as rust in the sills is of some car models.
To be sure cost avoidance is part of it just as its also cheaper and simpler to cull language specific illustrations these days.
Management have persisted with the pitch that SW is so intuitive no one needs a decent Help despite a lot of feedback over the years that said
the Help is pleasantly presented but has very weak content especially for a technical program for professionals.
In fact it is kind of galling that at times they have tried to pass off the absence of good information and indexing as a game of hide and seek in which users also *discover* hidden gems of info as a bonus.
Really there has been a fair bit of wrong headed obstinacy in that and frankly it does say that having informed users is further down the list of priorities than
say re-re-refreshed Appearances.
Do they actually care about the user being well educated about the capability they code? Do they even know themselves what their program does? Doesnt seem like it.
The general search is an easy way out. It is a miracle cure for the trail of neglect and under-resourcing the Help represents today.
It covers up and excuses what has become a habitually lame effort while maintaining an undeserved self regard.
It delivers all answers without any expert consideration of relevance to actual tasks to be done and leaves you to muddle through the collection in the hope of finding enough clues or related leads to solve your issue.
In this regard it is lazy. To say that SW have been holding out against redundant industry practices is total BS.
Its like turning in a half page jumble of notes a day late when you were required to deliver a well polished 2 page essay.
SW shouldnt be surprised to be marked down for a poor effort.
Lets hope they get it right the next time around (SWv6) and keep it going.
"Total BS"? The subsequent analogy didn't help explain that statement. The industry moved away from indexes for Help years ago. SolidWorks just did it recently. Are we not supposed to compare SolidWorks to the software industry? If so, I would suggest that denial is itself BS.
The index never worked well for me. It's redundent to and more limited than search. Search can (and does) the function of index. If SolidWorks were to employ search auto-fill function for its Help, it would essentially be the same function as the index anyway. The argument that we need an index because the search function isn't good enough yet is not something I can relate to. For me, index has always sucked, and I stopped using them in any software years before they were removed from most. Search has been, can be, and will be improved. There's no point were improvements to search will just suddenly stop.
The argument that we need an index because the search function isn't good enough yet is not something I can relate to.
Yes, it strikes me odd too. My argument was that the index shouldn't have been removed just because it sucked. If you just removed things that suck, the SW software would be smaller.
For me, index has always sucked,
You know, I do believe you are starting to understand.
Search ... can be, and will be improved.
Great, we agree about almost everything.
If they are willing to employ someone to improve a search couldnt they have employed someone to improve the index?
No wait I know the answer to that. Indexing is for old people.
It's only odd when taken out of context. As noted previously, I (and I'm assuming many others) see the index as redundant. It's not just that is sux. For me, it doesn't perform any action that isn't already covered by the search.
However, with that said, did you hear about the new function that will be in 2012 that will allow users to search for commands (very similar to how an index works)?
Matthew Lorono wrote: However, with that said, did you hear about the new function that will be in 2012 that will allow users to search for commands (very similar to how an index works)?
Matthew Lorono wrote:
Ooh, I hope it works just like the Command Finder in Solid Edge. Solid Edge Command Finder shows the equivalent Solid Edge command if you input a SolidWorks command. Cool. Works well too.
I'm not in love with the searching, but I don't think it's that bad either. This is a funny one though.
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