Question about usability (For upgraders, etc)



  • I know that pfSense includes some very cool and advanced features.  And some of the 'advanced' can't all be hidden away.  I think I'm fairly advanced in what I know about pfSense 1.2.3, and know my way around the UI fairly well.  The interface change between 1.2.3 and 2.0 is fairly dramatic.  I'm not complaining about it, I especially liked having most of the information I wanted to see on the first page.

    I know that 2.0 is still a beta, but I had a suggestion:  I'm really hoping that the interface, especially for shaping, is going to be a little less confusing for production?  Also, I noticed that the general set-up in the beginning did not have my connection working at all.  I had to do a fair amount of blundering around with the 'gateway' setting to get it to work, and then it worked intermittently.

    Can I assume that there will be some interface changes?  Or perhaps moving of 'more advanced' things to the right in the tabs?  Also, I'm really really hoping that 2.0 will have some form of inline help, with local help-files for when people upgrade.  That is one thing that I really wished was in 1.2.3 when I first started with it, because it would lower the amount of plugging and unplugging cables, and such.  Nothing super-advanced as you need your support sales, but some basic stuff.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    @Liath.WW:

    I know that pfSense includes some very cool and advanced features.  And some of the 'advanced' can't all be hidden away.  I think I'm fairly advanced in what I know about pfSense 1.2.3, and know my way around the UI fairly well.  The interface change between 1.2.3 and 2.0 is fairly dramatic.  I'm not complaining about it, I especially liked having most of the information I wanted to see on the first page.

    FYI- You can get most of that on 1.2.3 with the Dashboard add-on package.

    @Liath.WW:

    I know that 2.0 is still a beta, but I had a suggestion:  I'm really hoping that the interface, especially for shaping, is going to be a little less confusing for production?  Also, I noticed that the general set-up in the beginning did not have my connection working at all.  I had to do a fair amount of blundering around with the 'gateway' setting to get it to work, and then it worked intermittently.

    I think there is still some ongoing work with the shaper wizard. I know the last time I used it, it was still a bit confusing but I think the wording has been changed here and there since then.

    @Liath.WW:

    Can I assume that there will be some interface changes?  Or perhaps moving of 'more advanced' things to the right in the tabs?  Also, I'm really really hoping that 2.0 will have some form of inline help, with local help-files for when people upgrade.  That is one thing that I really wished was in 1.2.3 when I first started with it, because it would lower the amount of plugging and unplugging cables, and such.  Nothing super-advanced as you need your support sales, but some basic stuff.

    It's safe to assume there will be changes, but it's hard to tell where they might be. Unless we get reports that certain specific things are bad, or could be improved, it may not get changed. You might want to search through the bug reports on http://redmine.pfsense.org to see if anyone has reported similar issues.

    As for the inline help, that is there now, and was sponsored work (done in large part by me :-). There is a help page linked for each page on the router (almost, anyhow). Click the Blue and white (?) icon and you'll be taken to a page that explains a little about the functions on the page, and some have pointers to more info. The help info is not kept locally, but in the Doc wiki. I don't know if that can be changed.



  • FYI- You can get most of that on 1.2.3 with the Dashboard add-on package.

    Yeah, I've been kinda afraid to use it since I thought it might not be stable.

    As for the inline help, that is there now, and was sponsored work (done in large part by me :-). There is a help page linked for each page on the router (almost, anyhow). Click the Blue and white (?) icon and you'll be taken to a page that explains a little about the functions on the page, and some have pointers to more info. The help info is not kept locally, but in the Doc wiki. I don't know if that can be changed.

    The help documentation for 1.2.3 is really good, but the thing I was hoping for was an inline local help.  Maybe if it were made an option, perhaps as a separate CD image, or a package that is installable from the CD itself.  If you're having issues getting online, it would be immensely beneficial to the "average Joe consumer", especially when they aren't quite as knowledgeable.  Luckily I've come a long way since first downloading and using m0n0wall a good while back but sometimes it is good to have help files handy.  I pretty much trolled the documentation and printed everything I thought I needed, and a lot that I didn't – which cost me 1-1/2 ink cartridges.  Pretty much the same thing with pfSense -- luckily it was similar enough to m0n0wall that I didn't need quite as much help.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    The dashboard package is pretty stable. I install it everywhere and have not had any issues in quite some time.

    The add-on help being local is, unfortunately, a snag. I haven't found an easy way to export from mediawiki to a static site in a usable way, and it isn't feasible to run mediawiki fully on the box either. Any suggestions in that area would be helpful.



  • We'll build in Internet connectivity troubleshooting documentation, but aside from that, there won't be any other documentation available locally. It will all be the help links that exist throughout, pointing to our site. That kind of thing tends to get done after the release is out, and updated numerous times afterwards as errata are found, real world experiences bring up things we should add, and the user error we see tells us where more details are needed, which things aren't clear, etc. We don't want out of date information out there, and documentation changes more than anything (once a release is near finished). We don't want to have to put out new releases to update documentation, hence there will almost certainly never be comprehensive documentation built in.


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