Documentation frustration

5 posts, 0 answers
  1. JohnVS
    JohnVS avatar
    76 posts
    Member since:
    Apr 2013

    Posted 21 Aug 2013 Link to this post

    I am writing to give some hopefully helpful, but critical observations of Kendo's documentation. I have heard these thoughts from many others, so I know I am not alone in my perceptions.

    Kendo suffers from a great lack in detailed and easy-to-follow documentation. Articles are not ordered well. Certain bits of information about a topic are scattered over multiple pages. Many (sometimes most) answers to questions about widgets are found in the forums or on unaffiliated websites.

    I would equate Kendo's documentation to being the dictionary for Kendo, like how you have an English language dictionary where you go to find certain words and what they mean, but you get very little context about that word.

    Here are some specific examples, to help shed light on the frustrations:

    • I wanted to use Kendo to display a website navigation menu in text form, so a user could edit the menu items. First off, I was annoyed that on the Kendo widget demos page, there are no descriptions of the widgets. It would be nice to get a quick blurb about what each one does, to help make decisions easier about which one to use for a purpose. I get that the idea is to play with the Widget to see what it does, but a description would help, if it's not immediately clear what it does or what it's typically meant for. Once I clicked through them all and found that TreeView looked the best, I quickly found that it was not going to be easy to pull in a full menu hierarchy all at once. The only way I could tell from the demo was to pull them in via Ajax, one level at a time. This would not work for our purpose. So I started searching around and found a post in the Forums about using a Hierarchical DataSource with the TreeView to pull in all the menu items at once. But of course, the only example given here was for Javascript, so I wasn't able to use the MVC Wrappers, since there was no documentation about using this for TreeView. I searched in Kendo's documentation and finally found the HierarchicalDataSource section, but all it shows are the parameters and such - no instructions on how to use it or different examples. Finally, after hours of searching and trial and error, I got the TreeView hooked up via Javascript to pull in the menu items via Ajax through a HierarchicalDataSource. Why was there nothing about this process in the documentation? Why is there little to no documentation about using HierarchicalDataSource with the MVC Wrappers?

    • Another example is that I wanted to bind a ListView to local data, then be able to change the DataSource afterward to pull additional items via Ajax. Once again, little to no documentation on how to change the DataSource after the widget is initiated, but we were finally able to find a Forum post where someone received an example of how to do this. But since there was, of course, no documentation or detailed explanation of this example, and it takes time (that we didn't have) to get an answer about how to slightly change the example for our purposes, we ended up spending hours of trial and error to figure out why certain things didn't work at all or didn't work quite right or how to make them work. We found out the Pager broke after changing the DataSource, and we were supposed to refresh the Pager. Another small thing that was not in the documentation.

    • A last example is finding specific information about the MVC Wrappers. When I go to the Documentation, I see "Wrappers" in the left nav menu, so I click on it. Then I click "Aspnet Mvc." I'm thinking to myself, "I have no idea which of these is what I want...I want information about the ListView MVC Wrapper...hmm, do I click on Kendo.Mvc.UI, since that's where the widget should be? Nope, not there. Maybe Kendo.Mvc, since maybe it's under a general heading? Nope, not there." I click through all those and can't find it. So then I go to "Web" in that left menu. Nope, nothing about MVC Wrappers there either. So finally, I just go to Google and search to find what I need. Oh, so I guess the section I need is under the "Getting Started" tab. Well, I wasn't "getting started" with Kendo, so that's weird. Oh, so there's "Web," so I click that to find ListView, but that's for Javascript. Then I see "Using Kendo With," so I finally find the "Aspnet Mvc" section. UGH!
    I could name other similar experiences, but these at least illustrate the norm, from our 6 month experience with Kendo.

    I have used plugins such as jQuery and jQueryUI for 5+ years now, and I found myself greatly dissatisfied with Kendo's documentation, comparatively. For instance, in the jQuery documentation for the .on() function (http://api.jquery.com/on/), you will find such incredibly detailed information and lots of examples. After reading the article, I was immediately able to get my head wrapped around what it does, what parameters it takes, what it does with events, and I could view and play with the examples to see what happened. A similar article on Kendo would have the parameters described on one page, an FAQ article on another page with a few use-case scenarios or some related issues, and yet another page with a How-To, that is only helpful in limited circumstances.

    It just should not be this difficult to find information about each widget and how it works. Each widget's documentation page should be full of in-depth descriptions of each property, event, and method and full of examples, use-cases, and potential problems or things to be aware of.

    Also, there should be the same amount of in-depth description of the different Wrappers. I know for the MVC Wrappers, I have the same kind of trouble trying to find examples or how to use the different widgets or how to hook them up with different kinds of DataSources and such.

    The Kendo Documentation is just an incredible form of frustration and keeps me from being excited about the product. Even though the widgets work quite well, I'm not as excited as I should be about them because of the time and frustration it takes trying to get the dang things to work! The Documentation needs to be less dictionary and more Wikipedia. By all means, please overload the Documentation with data, descriptions, use-cases, examples, related issues, things to keep in mind, potential problems, ways people use the Widgets, how to interact with other Widgets, DataSources, etc...more more more!

    Thanks for your time and attention, and I hope this helps us all move onward and upward with Kendo!
  2. Sebastian
    Admin
    Sebastian avatar
    9934 posts

    Posted 22 Aug 2013 Link to this post

    Hello John,

    First, thank you for the detailed feedback and honest opinion. We certainly value and appreciate such type of constructive feedback, given to help us improve our documentation and support resources. Especially when it is accompanied by specific examples/goals you tried to attain and how you were hindered by some present impediments/shortage of information and resources.

    For good and bad (at the same time) the Kendo UI demos and documentation can be considered still in their infancy, provided the product itself exists roughly from a year and a half. The bad part is that there are many areas in our current set of documentation and samples materials that can be greatly improved/extended, and more content and resources can be generated (i.e. related articles). The good part is this initiative is already in motion, and I am sure you will see some tangible results by the end of this year. The process will continue in the future as we intend to allocate some man power and resources to tackle this problem.

    Additionally, sharing constantly feedback with us on specific cases or scenarios you aim to complete and discovered lack of resources can be quite valuable to us in order to fill the gaps, short and long term.

    Bottom line, I understand your frustration and negative opinion on the present state of the Kendo UI documentation. But I believe you will recognize soon how it will evolve in the near future, and hope you will continue using our products and services.

    Kind regards,
    Stefan Rahnev,
    Kendo UI Unit Manager, Telerik
    Join us on our journey to create the world's most complete HTML 5 UI Framework - download Kendo UI now!
  3. Kendo UI is VS 2017 Ready
  4. JohnVS
    JohnVS avatar
    76 posts
    Member since:
    Apr 2013

    Posted 22 Aug 2013 Link to this post

    Stefan, thank you very much for your response! I really appreciate that information and the fact that you made it obvious that Kendo is truly interested in helping us work better and faster with Kendo. That's also great to hear that changes to the documentation and demos are on the horizon. We will wait in great anticipation for that!

    And thank you for the invitation to share struggles and frustrations with you all. What is the best way to do that? Would you like posts on the forum describing situations where we couldn't find documentation for a scenario? Or send them in an email? Just let me know what helps you guys the most.

    Again, I really appreciate your response. It definitely improved my view of your Support Team! Thanks.
  5. Sebastian
    Admin
    Sebastian avatar
    9934 posts

    Posted 23 Aug 2013 Link to this post

    I think that the best means to share content and scenarios you consider important and currently missing from the documentation would be to post them in our public Github documentation project.

    Note that you can log those as issues or even send pull request if you are willing to contribute directly to our docs and assist us in extending/enriching their content.  With your experience with jQuery and jQuery UI and knowledge about their documentation and structure, we'll really appreciate your insight and value your potential contributions.

    Kind regards,
    Stefan Rahnev,
    Kendo UI Unit Manager, Telerik

    Join us on our journey to create the world's most complete HTML 5 UI Framework - download Kendo UI now!
  6. Ristogod
    Ristogod avatar
    63 posts
    Member since:
    Aug 2008

    Posted 17 Mar 2014 Link to this post

    I'm not sure if much has changed since this thread was first posted, but I'm in agreement that despite having a lot of information there, it's missing so much in terms of practical real world usage examples. The information that is there is so scattered and strewn about that I'm spending hours trying to track down information that normally take minutes. In the worst case scenarios I'm not finding the answers at all and am being forced to resort to 24hour help tickets. And when you say 24 hours, you mean 24 hours. So every issue is taking me a day at a time to resolve them.
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