Is this project real?

rkmore
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:53 pm

Is this project real?

Postby rkmore » Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:57 am

First let me say that I was so excited about the potential of this project that I actually paid for the "pro" version.

But I have to ask "is this project real"? Since I bought in (at beta 5) I am not seeing the signs that this is a serious effort that will result in a usable development environment.

Item 1. No additional examples, demonstrations, or articles seem to have been produced. The calculator is neat but in the absence of complete documentation a body of examples, videos, blog articles, wiki pages, or the like is the only practical way users will be able to build skills and use the product. Surely you are making them internally to test as you go. Can we see them and use them? That would really help.

Item 2. The forums are nearly dead. The number of items with 0 replies indicates a moribund or ignored project. It appears people are really trying to use the product but there is no resource when they get stuck. I have so far asked two very reasonable questions over the course of a couple months that would probably be of interest to any number of users. There was no reply at all. I eventually figured them out myself and posted the answers but there was never even a hint of a reply from anyone official. When potential users see this they then get frustrated, go away, and never come back. This is not how a viable project team grows a community.

Item 3. Communication is spotty. When Beta 7 was released, even though I am a paid user, I did not receive a link to download it. I received a "general" mail and was able to find the correct link. I would think someone who has shown enough interest in the project to pay for it would be worth staying engaged with and communicating with.

There may indeed be a lot going on behind the scenes (I hope there is) but that is only half the battle for a project like this. The "if you build it they will come" model does not work. You need to spend as much time growing and keeping a community of users as doing technical development. In the absence of such engagement people just assume (as I am unfortunately beginning to assume) the the project is dead and not worth my continued time and patience.

I would really like to be wrong but I need to see some signs that this is worth my continued commitment of time and money.

Thank you

RKM

JS-Support
Site Admin
Posts: 740
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:42 pm

Re: Is this project real?

Postby JS-Support » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:07 am

Dear RKM,

Thanks for your feedback and sorry for the inconvenience.

You are perfectly right and we are aware of these issues. Our documentation does not have enough material yet, we have not been active enough on the forums, and communication has not been sufficient.

I am confident this is going to greatly improve in the future, especially after the end of the Beta period. As we plan to grow our team in 2016, we will have more people dedicated to support and to community management.

Please rest assured that this project is very real and active:

  • Since the beginning of this project in 2014, we have always been releasing major new versions every 8 to 12 weeks (and minor versions every 1 to 6 weeks) and we expect this to continue or even accelerate
  • People who have been following us in the past 2 years can verify that we have always delivered on what we promised on both the public roadmap (available on the website) and privately, and we have great plans for the future
  • Our means of communication have been constantly improving, with the forums having started in 2014, the documentation and the ticketing system having started in 2015, and we plan to release many more tutorials, samples, and videos in 2016
  • The average response time on our ticketing system is 10 hours (people can create support tickets by sending an email to support@cshtml5.com or by using the form in the bottom-right corner of the website)

Our company Userware is fully committed to this product, as we believe that it is going to become the #1 preferred tool for developers who are familiar with MS dev tools and who want to develop for the web and for other platforms. There are many signs that show that this can become a reality:

  • There are already more than 8,000 registered Beta testers and counting
  • The rate of returning visitors on our website in an impressive 37%, which shows great interest in the product
  • We are in touch with many companies and we are helping them to migrate their apps (especially Silverlight) to HTML5 using this product
  • All of this has been with no marketing efforts yet, with most visitors coming from Google Search. We did this on purpose to keep the amount of feedback during the Beta phase manageable, while still not resorting to a closed invitation-only Beta. As we plan to start talking about the product after the end of the Beta phase in 2016, we expect even faster growth, and more capacity to respond to all the queries and to communicate

About the specific items that you mentioned:
- Item1: Lots of examples will be available in 2016 as part of open-source projects for extensions/plugins. In fact, the new Extensibility features that are planned for Beta 8 will make it possible to start open-source projects for CSHTML5, some of which we are going to fund. In particular, we expect many projects dedicated to implementing C#/XAML-based wrappers around popular JavaScript libraries, such as ChartJS, Cordova, ArcGIS, etc.
- Item2: We are going to improve this as we grow our team. As far as your specific posts are concerned, our lack of answer is also related to the fact that we are working on replacing the "Verbatim.Expression" method because it 1) does not work fine on VS 2015 due to JSIL limitation with dynamics compiled with the Roslyn compiler, and 2) does not work in the Simulator. We are working to improve C#/JS interop. The new "CSHTML5.Interop.ExecuteJavaScript" method that is going to be released in the coming weeks will work under VS 2015, and it will work in the Simulator as well. So far, we haven't documented nor pushed the C#/JS interop features publicly because of the limitations above. The "Pro Edition" features listed on the website have always marked the C#/JS interop as "Coming Soon" rather than "available". Those features will finally become available in the coming weeks, and we will post samples and respond to all the interop-related questions. Please stay tuned.
- Item3: Ok, we are going to communicate with Pro Edition users with specific emails rather than the generic ones that every registered Beta tester receives. We will put this communication system in place as soon as possible after the end of the Beta phase.

Please rest assured that we have a long-term commitment to this project.

And that it is going to rock :-)

Regards,
The CSHTML5 Team

rkmore
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:53 pm

Re: Is this project real?

Postby rkmore » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:31 am

I want to thank you for your informative and thoughtful reply. It shows a real respect for your users and a commitment to the effort that you would take the time to understand and address the concerns of those who are using or contemplating using the platform.

I feel much better about investing the time to learn and evaluate the tool and about perhaps using it to develop and maintain products.

Thanks again for the response.

RKM

JS-Support
Site Admin
Posts: 740
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:42 pm

Re: Is this project real?

Postby JS-Support » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:40 am

Thank you very much.


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