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Jim Fogle

Reference Guide Requests

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Here are four suggestions regarding the excellent Cakewalk Reference Guide that will make the guide more user friendly.  Please add a "like" if you agree.

  1.  Edit the file name so the file name includes the release it matches.  Presently the file name is "Cakewalk Reference Guide.PDF".  For example if this suggestion was followed the former "Cakewalk Reference Guide 09-19.PDF" would be replaced by "Cakewalk Reference Guide 11-19.PDF" .  This provides a visual cue to the guide user that the guide they have is, or is not, current.
  2. Add an option to the newest Cakewalk Reference Guide to each release download.
  3. Add an option to allow the user to store the Cakewalk Reference Guide to a specific location.
  4. Publish the Cakewalk Reference Guide in the open source EPUB format so the guide will automatically resize and reformat itself to the viewing device screen size and resolution.  This will allow easy viewing on smart phones, tablets, netbooks and e-readers in addition to computer displays.  Here is a link to the EPUB Community Group:   https://www.w3.org/publishing/groups/epub3-cg/    This was first suggested April, 2019:  https://discuss.cakewalk.com/index.php?/topic/2860-reference-guide-pdf-now-available/page/3/&tab=comments#
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I agree with your points in general principle, with specifics to be addressed by the developers as best suits.

I, too would like help keep ing current with the version, especially now that we're seeing more substantial changes and additions  to the features. Adding a date code to the file name is a good idea, and a bigger version number/date on page 2 wouldn't hurt either.

I would even take your points 2 and 3 further and suggest that BA download the latest BRG (Blessed Ref Guide) with every CbB update, install it to the Cakewalk directory, and that there be an item under the Utilities Menu to allow the user to launch it. I do all of this manually, having used Steve Cook's utility to add menu items. It is so handy not to have to switch out of Cakewalk to launch the BRG.

As for 4, here's my devil's advocacy: you and I of course recall the difficulty we had trying to get the thing into different formats. I'm keeping in mind that the devs have not yet even published the BRG in html form. I used to do tech writing, including publishing in electronic formats, and getting everything just right in a single format is a challenge, more so when it includes images. Making it work in multiple formats, and then making sure that all those formats are kept up to date with version control adds more difficulty.

Just saying that while I, too would love to have the BRG available in as many formats as would be convenient for people to use, adding more formats might be more difficult that it seems, so we may have a wait on that. Manuals these days seem to come in PDF form, sometimes HTML if the product is open source. "Let them use iPads!"🤨

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@Starship Krupa, Excellent thoughts.  Having the Cakewalk Reference Manual in HTML format likely would work for those devices that support HTML but I'm not sure all e-readers do.

One of the reasons I suggest EPUB is because the specification supports intelligent page reformatting which allows each page to be reformatted based on display size and resolution.  It also follows handicap ease-of-access visual recommendations for those with visual problems.  One of the issues I have with pdf files is the page formats are fixed at emulating a standard sheet of paper.  Page formatting "breaks down" when you increase font size or otherwise magnify the page for viewing.

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I suspect that where things get difficult is when the document contains a lot of images with text that flows around the images, which of course describes the BRG.

All those screenshots, tables, etc. seem like they would make it tougher.

At this point I am so happy that the BRG was finally updated. I had my doubts for a long time due to the "online" focus of BandLab as a company.

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@Starship Krupa  My history with Cakewalk is using Music Creator 2, 3, 4 and 6 (I also have 6 Touch but never installed it since I don't have a Windows compatible touchscreen device).  The Sonar Reference Guide (SRG) was not included with any of the Music Creator products or as a downloadable file since Music Creator was a consumer product and not part of the Sonar family.  I discovered SRG when it was included as part of the free download of Sonar Home Studio I acquired through a magazine.  So the Cakewalk Reference Guide (CRG) is as new to me as the DAW itself.

Like you I am elated the Cakewalk by BandLab Reference Guide is available as a download and is revised with each update.  As much as gets changed from update to update, @Morten Saether has his hands full keeping up with the updates.  Kudos to him and the developers!

Unfortunately, in my eyes it is a much better reference manual than reference guide.  The short GIF videos  @Morten Saether creates for the forum release announcements provide much more how to use guidance than the guide.  The guide provides much detail but little how to.

Edited by Jim Fogle

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