When Borland first released "Turbo C++ Visual Edition" I was greatly tempted to run out and buy a copy. However, because the product was new, I decided to wait a while until any teething problems were sorted out. I had, some years previously been using Microsoft C for DOS and had then moved on to Visual Basic for my Windows programming. The sluggish performance of even the most simple VB program and the yearning to get back to 'C' eventually persuaded me to buy the Borland compiler.
When the parcel arrived, I eagerly checked through the books looking for something like 'Getting Started' or 'Three Easy Steps' and failed, eventually settling for the smallest book entitled 'User Guide'. This explained how to install and start the compiler.
Having finished the installation, I was left with a disk marked 'Protogen...Code Generator'. It was then that I searched through the leaflets. After Borlands usual 'Three Good Reasons' then 'Five Good Reasons' (is that a total of eight or are they repeats?) I found the 'Getting Started' leaflet. This seemed to tie everything together; first install C++ then Protogen, then instructions on how to build your first program.
Installation went well enough but then the problems started to occur. Loading Protogen produced a "Missing File -BWCCENG.DLL" message. After clicking the only button available (CLOSE) it proceeded to load Protogen anyway. With a little trepidation I decided to continue.
Following the instructions produced a working model. Several of the steps seemed a little strange and not at all intuitive but I figured all would be explained in the main books.
Once everything was ready, it took some time to "generate" the code. This produced a general protection fault. Clicking the Close button this time terminated the program without saving the changes.
Consulting all the various readme files revealed nothing. A phone call to Borland Tech Support revealed that the missing file and general protection failures were known faults and workarounds were given. The most surprising thing is that by following the instructions on the leaflet would produce the general protection fault every time.
After working though the getting started leaflet, one is left somewhat in the lurch. Not only has the product failed twice but the 'mini-tutorial' doesn't show you how to add any of your own code! All the code has been generated by Protogen. The leaflet seems quite proud of this fact and suggests the next step, buying a video training course!
Several weeks later, after delving through the various books, the product is more closely living up to my expectations. I still feel that the "Visual Edition" is an assortment of products that can be used together rather than an integrated set. All in all it is a far cry from the polished products supplied by Microsoft. I feel that an explanatory booklet that ties the products together, with a more in-depth tutorial, would go a long way. Also I can't believe that manning a help desk to answer queries on a product with known flaws can be cheaper than putting an explanatory leaflet in each box shipped out.
Overload Journal #3 - Aug 1993 + Programming Topics
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