I’ll admit it. I was quite sceptical when I was first introduced to UniData. It was different from other systems I was familiar with. It also seemed quite antiquated. It didn’t help that I was introduced to it via a green screen and single line editor that was preached as “very powerful” because it could do the equivalent of ‘Find & Replace’
It does have its charm, however. It also exceeds in areas where other solutions don’t.
The biggest problem I still have with U2 over other stacks out there, is the community. Now, the problem isn’t the people in the community. The problem is size and accessibility of the community compared to the mainstream stacks. This is especially true for newer users/developers as their normal sources of information generally pull up empty regarding U2.
StackOverflow (programming), ServerFault (Server admin) and SuperUser (End-User) have quickly become one of those “One-Stop-Shops” for Q&A’s for large number of admins, developers and users. I am one of those developers. I even link to it on the right-side here. I have not gone there for U2 answers though, since I know there is only a small handful who know about UniData or UniVerse that frequent it.
Evan Carrol recently posted about StackOverflow/ServerFault as an alternative medium. I completely agree and find that while the mail-list serves it’s purpose, I found the above trilogy of sites to have a far more useful system in place. I also believe that more activity at these sites will be far more useful and easy to find for new players.
From now one, if I post a question on the mailing list, I will also post on the appropriate above site. I also encourage any others in the U2 world to do the same.
That isn’t the only problem facing the community when competing with the mainstream stacks. U2 has a unique business model which causes users to not only be isolated from the actual U2 team by “middlemen” (resellers, etc) who act as first line support, but also isolating the users from each other. The U2 User Group helps, but I feel still doesn’t negate this initial segregation.
Comprehensive introduction tutorials (not just for the core product, but also the additional bolt-on products), a more direct route for reporting bugs to Rocket and an easier to use community site would go along way to closing the gap.
That’s my opinion anyway.