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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:22 am    Post subject: new IBM knowledge center
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just wondering what other people's opinions are of the new IBM knowledge center?

Here is the URL for z/OS v2.r1:

IBM z/OS V2R1 documentation (September 2014)
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Bill Woodger

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply to: new IBM knowledge center
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Frustrating, but I know they're working on it with users. It may be improved already. It was the case that "internet search", "click on link", "re-enter search" was needed.

I still use IBM LookAt in preference for messages, but it doesn't work for V2.1 messages (that's from products under V2.1, not just the OS).
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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:19 pm    Post subject:
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Not sure I follow what you are referring to? where did you encounter the "internet search", "click on link", "re-enter search" - can I recreate this?

I don't think I've encountered this problem.

The IBM LookAt is nice! I wish microsoft had this. icon_razz.gif

I used the old IBM Information center all the time. Loved it. I would set the scopes for each new release for hlasm, rexx, jcl, mvs, etc, then be able to limit my searches to the appropriate area whenever I needed to look something up. I found most of everything I looked for very easily, very fast.

Not so with this new Knowledge center. You can't limit the searches. For any search, you get everything in z/OS with no indication of the area it came from. And z/OS is huge. So I find it very frustrating.

I was just wondering if I'm the only person that is having problems with it. Maybe other people have found ways to get around it?
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Bill Woodger

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply to: new IBM knowledge center
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Well, a few months ago, internet searches would list relevant-looking articles, I'd click on them, and just get taken to a general page in the Knowledge Centre. I'd then have to re-enter the search there to try to find what I was looking for.

I then gave up, so try to go in more directly, to the Bookshelves.

Trying to recreate it now, the behaviour is different, and the promised article appears.

LookAt is great, but beyond z/OS 1.3 it is not going to be updated, the suggestion is to use the Knowledge Centre instead.

I did come across a discussion on LinkedIn mentioning that a user-group was raising issues with IBM, and that IBM were keen to respond.
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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:49 am    Post subject:
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Ok, I know what you are talking about now. yes, I had that happen for a while, and yes, it looks like they've fixed it.

imo, they cut over to the Knowledge Center before they should have, at least for z/OS. They came up once around June, July, 2014 - then fell back because of problems. Then they came back up in December? around then, but when I looked, I didn't see that any of the problems I had encountered before had been fixed.

However, I have been talking to IBM, as an employee of an IBM customer, and they have said they are coming out with a new release addressing some of these problems. the sooner the better, as I use this documentation rather heavily. It is impacting my work, the increase in time to find anything.

I ended up downloading some of the manuals here - not as up to date, but easier to use. Good enough. Thanks for providing them and some links to some other places for older versions of these manuals.

I will have to check out the LinkedIn site. I was wondering if I was the only one having problems with this. Thanks for the heads up.
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Bill Woodger

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply to: new IBM knowledge center
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The LinkedIn group you want is:

IBM MAINFRAME - Unofficial Group

It is a "closed" group, meaning your have to Join it and then wait for "approval", although I think nothing is really done to "approve", it is just part of the process.

There are three relevant recent discussions.
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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:32 am    Post subject:
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thanks. I looked yesterday, and didn't find it. so, thanks for the name of the group.
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don.leahy

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:06 pm    Post subject:
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I am a big fan of the TSO LOOKAT command. Much faster than the web based version.

Sadly, it uses BookManager, which has been on IBM's hit list for a long time, so I do not expect it to remain useful for long.
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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:49 am    Post subject:
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yes, I know a lot of people that really liked BookManager.

I've ended up finding a mix of Book manager for some manuals and downloading pdfs for others - mainly because I can find information more quickly this way (with windows search), than with the new ibm knowledge center.
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don.leahy

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:26 am    Post subject:
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I have taken a closer look at Knowledge Center and feel that it is significant upgrade over the old Info Centers.

I like that you can create your own collections of favourite and/or frequently used manuals. (Assuming that you have an IBM id).

The Search works better than it used to, though I still prefer BookMangler's.

It has taken a while, but I think that IBM is on the right track with this one.
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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:09 am    Post subject:
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you can create your own collections.. but you can't search them. So, I hope you have the material memorized, or have plenty of time for perusing to find what you are looking for.

The search is ok for a smaller product, but imo, it is not enough for a product as huge and with as many topics as z/os. When you search, the results tell you what product (z/os) the result was found in, but not what area under z/OS. You have to pull up every result to see if it is in the area that you are looking for.

I didn't have this problem with the old IBM information center. It allowed you to define "scopes" or subsets of books/topics under z/os. Then you could limit your search to that scope. For example, I would create a scope for JCL, another for MVS, another for ISPF, another for HLASM, etc.

That way, I could search a much smaller set of data, and get much more targeted results, quicker. Plus, it would say what "book" it came from.

not so with this new knowledge center. You cannot limit your search to a topic within a product. you have to search the entire z/OS every time, and sift through all the results. or find the magic 20 keywords that will narrow down your list.

Imo, this is a step backwards for z/os users. Might be ok for smaller products, or if you don't know what product something is in. But not if you are a z/os user that has to rely on this documentation every day.
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don.leahy

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:23 pm    Post subject:
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Have you tried the "Search Filters" box? It lets you limit the scope to particular products. (I never had much luck using the scope limits in Info Center....it would always send me running back to the mainframe and Book Manager).

I see your point about not being able to search personal Collections. That is not good.

I have been informed that IBM is actively seeking feedback because knowledge center is considered a work in progress.
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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:19 am    Post subject:
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The filter can limit the search to a product. z/OS v2.r1 is a product. The filter doesn't go beyond that.

kind of a bummer.
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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:48 am    Post subject:
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They are seeking feedback, but they brought this up in June. you can see comments about these problems back then.

https://www-304.ibm.com/connections/blogs/techcontent/entry/narrowing_your_searches_in_ibm_knowledge_center?lang=en_us

http://www-01.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SSLTBW_2.1.0/com.ibm.zos.v2r1/en/homepage.html

They then fell the product back to "fix some problems". Then brought it back up in December 2014 (I think). I expected this to be fixed.

But the search problem hadn't changed. I don't know.. guess they didn't think it was important.

They say they are going to do something about this in the next release. but I don't know when that will be. Guess we will see.

In the meantime, trying to work with this everyday is frustrating, to say the least. I've just resorted to using some older versions of the manuals. I find it easier to find things.
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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:13 am    Post subject: Re: Reply to: new IBM knowledge center
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Bill Woodger wrote:
The LinkedIn group you want is:

IBM MAINFRAME - Unofficial Group

It is a "closed" group, meaning your have to Join it and then wait for "approval", although I think nothing is really done to "approve", it is just part of the process.

There are three relevant recent discussions.


I applied right after you told me this, and they never approved me. I saw that they wanted some history? so I sent that. haven't heard a word.

wish they would at least say yea or nay.
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Bill Woodger

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply to: new IBM knowledge center
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OK, I've just posted a question about that. Let me know if/when you appear please, and I'll let you know if I learn anything.
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Bill Woodger

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply to: new IBM knowledge center
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Seems that LinkedIn provides no tools for group-owners to let them know when applications arrive. Hopefully someone will now know to look. When they next log on.
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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply to: new IBM knowledge center
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Thanks! I will let you know if I hear anything
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Bill Woodger

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply to: new IBM knowledge center
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Sorry, looks like you may have a long wait. Seems like some limit to the number of members has been reached. Seems like LinkedIn technical support is less than on-the-ball. Other LinkedIn groups have more members, and grow. This one, not.

This is from the owner of the group.

Quote:
Bassel Khattab

Senior system testing at Al Rajhi Bank

Hi, actually the group members has reached the maximum limit which is 20000 members, I've started already to filter out non mainframe professionals and recruiters which are big part of the group, but suddenly I became unable to go through this process because of technical problem in LinkedIn itself, I contacted administrators more than once to solve this problem and they promised to fix it , and I'm still waiting for this fix for more than 4 months.


Someone else responding to my question alluded to this type of problem that they've seen elsewhere, and also indicated that it remained unfixed for a considerable period of time.

In lieu of anything more useful, I've pasted one of the relevant discussions here. Don't know what it is going to look like, but there are a couple of tips in here.

Quote:

Patti Tonello

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Summary of meeting with IBM Knowledge Center team

Patti Tonello Technical writer and team leader, IBM

Several members of the IBM Mainframe LinkedIn group met recently (via phone and Web conference) with several IBMers, including Jamie Roberts, the Product Manager for IBM Knowledge Center. The following issues were raised and discussed:

Issue: Search problems.
We search from Google because we use a combination of IBM and non-IBM products. This worked fine when the IBM product information was in information centers. Now, the Google searches often go to the top of IBM Knowledge Center rather than to the specific topic that we need (for example, for an error message). We then need to do another search from inside Knowledge Center, which slows us down and seems unnecessary when it used to work before. Sometimes, we get broken links with the Google searches.

Issue: Lack of PDF.
Knowledge Center is okay when we have a specific thing to look for (such as an error message). But sometimes we like having a PDF book instead, for example when we are learning about a product that is new to us or when we are installing and configuring the new release of a product. In those situations, having the information in book format is better. It seems like IBM is getting away from providing PDF information.

At this meeting, Jamie Roberts provided some information and a demonstration of several techniques that should help with these issues, and these are described in comments.

Remember, if you have feedback about Knowledge Center itself or about the product information you are looking at, you can write a public comment in the area at the bottom of any topic, or you can send private feedback by clicking Feedback in the bottom of the Knowledge Center framework. In either case, comments about Knowledge Center will go to the Knowledge Center team, and comments about product information will be sent to the writing team for that product.

Also, consider visiting and "following" the IBM Technical Content, where Jamie Roberts posts occasional news about IBM Knowledge Center that you might benefit from seeing: ibm.biz/IBMKCTCBlog. In fact, Jamie has recently published blog posts that explain some search tips for IBM Knowledge Center, how to create customized views of IBM Knowledge Center content, and how to generate PDF from those customized collections (https://www-304.ibm.com/connections/blogs/techcontent/date/201411?lang=en_us).

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3 months ago

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Patti

Patti Tonello

Technical writer and team leader, IBM

Issue: Search problems.
We search from Google because we use a combination of IBM and non-IBM products. This worked fine when the IBM product information was in information centers. Now, the Google searches often go to the top of IBM Knowledge Center rather than to the specific topic that we need (for example, for an error message). We then need to do another search from inside Knowledge Center, which slows us down and seems unnecessary when it used to work before. Sometimes, we get broken links with the Google searches.

Response:
IBM understands that this situation is not desirable, but the reason for this behavior is that Google is still looking for the IBM content in information centers, and those searches are being redirected to IBM Knowledge Center. Usually this works fine and the search result goes directly to the intended target. However, if the structure of the content has changed (the URL path is no longer the same), the redirection does not work as smoothly.

An example of this problem was given for a DB2 for z/OS error 904 (resource unavailable). The Version 10 topic redirection worked fine, but the Version 9 topic redirection went to a general page in Knowledge Center that explained how to find the Version 9 content elsewhere. The general page was displayed because Version 9 of DB2 for z/OS is no longer in service and no longer in the Knowledge Center. You can contact the writing team for any product to see if down-level information is available in some other format by clicking Feedback at the bottom of the Knowledge Center framework. Your comment will be directed to the appropriate writing team.

Jamie gave a helpful pointer when searches are done on Google instead of inside the Knowledge Center. If you are searching on Google for official IBM documentation, add the following string to the search field, after the terms of your search query: site:ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter. Google search will limit itself to looking in IBM Knowledge Center. You can also:
- Follow that string with the name of the specific IBM product to narrow the search even further.
- Bookmark this search string with the site operator so that you can reuse it in the future, replacing your original search string, before the site operator, with the new search string.
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3 months ago

Patti

Patti Tonello

Technical writer and team leader, IBM

Issue: Lack of PDF.
Knowledge Center is okay when we have a specific thing to look for (such as an error message). But sometimes we like having a PDF book instead, for example when we are learning about a product that is new to us or when we are installing and configuring the new release of a product. In those situations, having the information in book format is better. It seems like IBM is getting away from providing PDF information.

Response:
IBM is not getting away from providing technical content in PDF, and has a policy of providing it where it's most necessary to users. Individual teams make that decision based on their understanding of their product customers. If your product information is available in PDF, you can probably find it on the IBM Publication Center website (https://www-05.ibm.com/e-business/linkweb/publications/servlet/pbi.wss). If you do not find PDF for the product you are using there, you can click Feedback at the bottom of the Knowledge Center framework, and you can ask if PDF is available. Your comment will be directed to the appropriate writing team, who will respond if you provide your name and email address.

Jamie demonstrated how you can build your own PDF in Knowledge Center by signing in with your IBM ID, creating a collection of just the information you care about, and then creating a PDF of that collection. The benefit of setting up collections in Knowledge Center is that you can organize a small subset of the vast amount of IBM content so that you can get to it quickly when you need it. You can name the collection whatever you want, you can rearrange the sets of topics that you add, and you can add more topics to it over time. If any of the topics in your collection are updated by the product writing teams, your collections will reflect those updates without any action on your part. If you have created a PDF of that collection, though, the updates are not automatically reflected in the PDF that you built, but you can easily rebuild the PDF.
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3 months ago

Steve

Steve Thompson

Technical Architect in Insurance

Take a look at this page. I know it is not KC, but, it is what Google found. Yes, I know about the SITE: aspect. But none of that is going to make any difference on this:
http://pic.dhe.ibm.com/infocenter/zos/v1r13/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.ibm.zos.r13.ieaa800%2Fdmpstuf.htm

Might I suggest that you have someone who actually does assembly language programming give you, privately (and if an older IBMer, off the record), their impression of the syntax diagram?
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3 months ago
Jim Ground

Jim

Jim Ground

System software user experience, build and information architecture manager at IBM

Hi Steve, the link you posted points to an InfoCenter version of the z/OS MVS Programming: Authorized Assembler Services Guide. (for z/OS version 1, release 13) Very soon, the Information Center links for releases of z/OS that are in service should be redirected to Knowledge Center, and Google searches would end up pointing to the KC versions of that documentation.

Regardless of where the information is published - InfoCenter or Knowledge Center - if there is a technical issue with a syntax diagram, I recommend submitting feedback about the specific topic in the documentation. For example, on the InfoCenter page in your link, click the "Contact z/OS" link at the bottom of the right hand panel and submit a Readers Comment Form about that content. A Readers Comment Form will reach the author of that documentation and they will investigate and get in touch with you. That would also be the case in KC.
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3 months ago
Nancy Stein

Nancy

Nancy Stein

Consulting IT Specialist at IBM

Thanks for this update Patti. I'll add some of this KC info to my Where/How to Find IMS Information presentation. I was not aware of the site: and intitle: search capability in GOOGLE.
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3 months ago
Sebastian Dewar

Sebastian

Sebastian Dewar

z/OS Systems Engineer and Project Manager at Blondeau Informatique - Groupe Syspertec Communication

Hi Patti,

Sorry, I was busy during the last few weeks and couldn't connect to the conference. As I said in my latest post to the other discussion on this subject, I have now solved most of my issues with the KC, simply by changing the IBM website language from French to English.

It took me a while to understand this. It seems that if the site language is set to French, you can only search the KC for French documents. Of cours, all z/OS documentation is in English only, so that is why I was totally unable to use the KC.

Is there another way around this? A lot of the people I work with here prefer to leave the site language in French, for general browsing on the IBM website, but it means that they have to switch whenever they want to search the KC.
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3 months ago
Jean-Daniel Blard

Jean-Daniel

Jean-Daniel Blard

z/OS experienced professional & DBA

Hi, thank you for sharing this, many people get lost with new knowledge center. Will share it widely
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3 months ago

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Lynne Schuler

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:44 am    Post subject:
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Thank you. I guess I will wait until Linkedin fixes their software.

Because of all this, I have found myself perusing some older IBM manuals that I've found on other sites. and I remember when I didn't have to bounce to 20 different pages to find out about one topic. I was discussing this with someone else in IT, and they were agreeing, and remarked that they don't remember when IBM started doing this in their online documentation. But after a while, you almost get motion sickness from jumping around - link to link to link to link.

So, I can appreciate the comments about preferring to read some topics in PDF form, although I think they meant a more "book" type form.

I tried producing some PDFs from topics in the new knowledge center, hoping to be able to use the PDF search, and I ended up with over a hundred pages with about a paragraph on each page. Worthless for reading. Plus all the links went back to the knowledge center, instead of to the appropriate place in the PDF.

Now, instead of getting motion sickness from bouncing around the knowledge center, I'm getting whiplash from going back and forth from pdf to the knowledge center.

So, that's when I went hunting for the old book manager type documents? I seem to recall that is what they were called. found some here!. Not current, but they are good enough for most of the time.

There are also a lot of good non-IBM documentation out there on the web.
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