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Re: [tdf-discuss] Re: recent LibreOffice survey: missed opporunities


Hi Derrick!

Am Dienstag, den 09.08.2011, 23:31 -0400 schrieb Anthropornis
Nordenskjoldi:
Wasn't sure if I could email screenshots, so here are links to them instead.

The shelf tags: http://i.imgur.com/mynbl.png
The order list: http://i.imgur.com/74nJP.png

Thanks - indeed, attachments are currently disabled, but the brave
admins are working hard to make those available via a separate storage
system (in a few weeks/months).


On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 11:04 PM, Anthropornis Nordenskjoldi <
anthropornis@gmail.com> wrote:

I'm a new subscriber, and if this is not the correct place to post my
thoughts, please forgive and redirect me.

I think it fits well for the first step, since general matters are
discussed here. Maybe the Design mailing list would also be okay - but
lets simply talk about your request.

Thank you by the way, for your kind and extensive mail :-)


[...]
So I don't wish for developers to misinterpret the results of the rather
simplistic survey, as some situations have additional meaning that cannot be
expressed in such fairly boolean questions.

True - so I'd like to address this by looking at it from different
angels. First, the survey was organized via some friends providing
professional services for stuff like that - this time being part of the
LibreOffice design team.

Such surveys itself do have certain issues - for example:
      * the number of questions people might answer without getting
        bothered (it seems that you are one of those guys who provide
        detailed feedback, but that's not usual)
      * the effort to analyze such a survey (thus, closed questions help
        here)

The usual idea is to gain knowledge ... sometimes where we lack
knowledge. For example, when we did the User Feedback (feature usage
statistics) at OpenOffice.org, we always told people that an unused
feature might be a feature thats a) not needed, or b) is too
complicated, or c) is indiscoverable. Consequently, if the data reveals
such stuff, then its time to consider this in one of the next surveys.
One survey will never be able to gain full-depth knowledge. So, be
assured, we won't stop ;-)


Next, the survey was done to get insights in our users ... that doesn't
mean that (at the moment) any developer takes more or even less care of
the code he is interested in. Thus, if (volunteer) developers are
interested in Base, they won't stop to improve the software :-)))


Moreover, I went into the survey hoping I would be able to suggest my most
desired feature to have further developed. Since I couldn't do that in the
survey, I hoped I might be able to do it here. And it is on the subject of
mail merges, or more broadly, just merges (I don't actually use this feature
in Microsoft Word for anything mailing related).

In the past (with OpenOffice), I've done basic web searches to find out how
to replace MS Word (2003 edition) for the mail merges I do, but I've never
come across any straightforward way to do this with LibreOffice. My request
would be for the LibreOffice team to make this as painless as it is in MS
Word 2003, in terms of both the design and implementation of the feature in
the software, as well as providing a canonical and straightforward tutorial
on how to use the improved feature. Ideally the latter would become the
FIRST result in searching on any search engine, and be kept UP TO DATE.

Let attach two screenshots to show how I use MS Word mail merge. In both
cases the fields are being populated via an ODBC connection to a remote
MySQL database.

In the first case, Avery labels are populated to become shelf tags in a
retail store. That means one 8x10 sheet of labels is not a full page of the
same label, but each label is different, and if necessary, a second or even
third page of labels is generated until all the rows selected from the
database are rendered into Avery labels.

In the second case, a weekly order list is generated in what looks like a
datasheet view in MS Access or an Excel tabular format. Again, this spills
over into as many pages as needed, but each row of the merged table is
different.

None of this is "address book" type fare, or full sheets of the same thing.
It was very easy for me to do in MS Word, but I haven't a clue how to do
these use cases in LibreOffice Writer. It's been easier to keep MS Word
around, so for the time being I've given up. For all I know it is absurdly
easy to do in LibreOffice, but this is not at all discoverable for me, in
either the software UI, or in documentation.

To be honest, I never used mail-merge that much ... but I know that
Jacqueline has been collecting such issues since years. Thus, I'd like
to simply forward that information to her - I hope she'll find it
helpful for future activities.

So, Derrick, thanks for your mail - and enjoy your day!

Cheers,
Christoph


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