"Version" of Brewer's Friend? What do YOU want to see?

Discussion in 'Brewer's Friend Announcements & Updates' started by Yooper, Oct 9, 2019 at 6:05 PM.

?

Basic and Advanced Mode?

  1. YES!

    84.6%
  2. NO!

    15.4%
  1. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    With all of the discussion surrounding the update, we think many of you would like to see the ability to have a simplified Brewer's Friend while an equal number seem to like the advanced features.

    We are in discussion about this. We can't really do two completely different versions, however we can add a basic mode and an advanced mode. So you as the user can choose your experience.

    One thought is we could have a big toggle between those modes that turns on/off a bunch of individual features. But then each of those features could also be toggle able manually if you want to customize your experience. Or it could be in your settings, so you can always change it later.

    What do you think?
    And which features are must for a basic experience vs an advanced experience? What are "must haves" for this to work for you, and things that are optional for the advanced mode?
     
  2. Megary

    Megary Member

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    You will get better answers from everyone else, but I'm here because of the water chemistry. The rest I can do myself (and have been as "confirmation" on Excel).
     
  3. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    @Yooper

    As gently as I can put it. A basic and advanced mode doesn't seem to be an answer. The issues for us users are that there have been so many bugs and glitches with the last few updates. Something as simple as printing a recipe, became a hot issue with a release from a number of months ago, which took some time to get sorted out. Now with another unproven, apparently untested release, the print a recipe issue is deja vu all over again. The forum is littered threads and posts with people bringing up issues created by the last few releases. Some from previous releases still don't seem to be corrected. Six months ago I was hitting all my numbers, and everything was working the way it was supposed to. There are now so many quirks in the system that, for me, the software only serves to complicate making beer. I am sorry, but I have moved on to another software. Whatever you do, make sure that you beta test the life out of it before releasing anything else.

    I will be staying around the forums as this is such a great community, full of great people like yourself. I would not rule out coming back to this software if things get back to some semblance of order.

    Kind regards,
    Craigerrr
     
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  4. Pricelessbrewing

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    I will 100% be using whatever advanced mode is.

    However I have little interest in the group features at the current paywall structure, as there are few BF premium or premium plus members in the clubs or groups I'm in. If group membership was allowed in the free profiles, but not able to share recipes or own/create a group, then I would be more interested in it.

    I would suggest not focusing on any sort of rewrite or spending time creating and maintaining two separate versions at this time, as there's a backlog of bugs, needed updates, and confusing features. Any sort of new mode or seperate version should be a lower priority over those imo.
     
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  5. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I've also cancelled my membership and in the process of transferring all my recipes as well, so take whatever I have to say for whatever it's worth now. I've been a somewhat long time member so it's a bit disheartening seeing how the software has deteriorated recently. I'll continue being active here on the forums, and who knows, down the line if things turn around, I'd love to come back to BF software.
    I guess I don't understand why you would want to change yet again? Why would you not place your focus of making good on what you have? There are so many bugs and errors that should just be repaired. You don't need to create more modes, groups, etc. Fix what you have and make it right.
    As far as groups, I again think you're way off base. I bet there are more members here that would be willing to maybe pay up another buck or two for some type of group brew/share capabilities, but I think your current price is just way out of line and far fetched...especially considering the current state of the software.
    Fix what you have. You need a firm base before you move on imo. I'd be more concerned about rebuilding relationships than burning more bridges right now.
     
  6. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    I have been with this software for a long time. From knowing the history of changes, unless it's a small issue such as the print recipe that is being fixed for the 3rd time, listing what I would like to see is a waste of my time. At one point you started the toggle system but kind of left it mostly behind. The interface with the wonderful water calculator Kai designed still is a little messy and every update brings up some sort of glitch. I have never seen anyone complain about aesthetics but every major update you have done includes enough asthetic changing that we as brewers need to go through all of the website and refamiliarize ourselves. Isn't this the 3rd major redesign in less than 5 years? Is this really necessary? As has been explained, some of it this time was to blend in more "advancements " some of which will probably fall by the wayside in time.

    At this point it is to late to have different versions. There would be more for you to maintain and you don't keep up with what you have now. A long time back it was suggested to be able to shut off what you don't use. Some of this is still being done. For example the access to every grain in the world. Talk about a complicated difficult mess for someone learning what steeping grains are for...
    Fix, streamline and simplify the learning curve for beginning brewers. Any changes need to come with explanations in faq`s. Sometimes done, sometimes not. When the recipe builder is back to easily useable by all, then do the pretty software thing, it may actually be appreciated then.
    On one more note, I learned to brew on this forum. Homebrew talk among others, have very useful archives that show up a lot on Google searches but If someone posts a question on this forum, no matter how simple or complex, you get answers from fellow hobbiests, period. As long as I brew I will use this forum. I just haven't decided if I want to pay cash for it or look at adds.

    In direct answer to the poll, fix what you have. Streamline it, declutter it with simple changes like better water calculator interface. Every time an update is made there is a glitch shows up. Interaction with inventory and the recipe builder seems to need fixed often also. Until I quit seeing complaints about it I will be sticking with my white board inventory.

    Basic or advanced mode sounds good but will just cause more problems for us to need you to fix. Taking up your time and ours.
     
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  7. AHarper

    AHarper Active Member

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    Well I can't answer the question - simple or advanced - as I don't know what each version is in the first place.
    To anyone new to brewing the complicated, traditional way, as I was last year it is ALL complicated. The more I experimented and read all the excellent input from fellow brewers - amateur and professional alike - the better I appreciated the nuances of water and recipe building. Just where do you make the distinction?
    All that any of us want is that the bits we use - however complicated the background technology is - WORKS.
    Bells and whistles are all very well but I can tell you with nearly 40 years of electronic and software experience - if it isn't broke DON'T FIX IT! If you do have to tweak anything - VERSION NUMBER INTEGRITY IS ESSENTIAL and has to be displayed on every page otherwise who has any way of tracking problems?
     
  8. deVeer

    deVeer New Member

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    I voted yes assuming features could be toggled on and off. Don't know if this will solve the problem but we can hope.
    I agree with many of the posters.... fix what you have... then CAREFULLY send any new updates to the beta testers, then when all is well ask us if we want to opt in to the new format.
    Remember what the retail creed is ... for every complaint registered many more customers are upset and never tell you, they just leave.
     
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  9. sanderson1016

    sanderson1016 New Member

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    I don't normally post on forums but I had to weigh in on this one. I have been using Brewer's Friend for several years commercially brewing every week. And all of those recipes I have written using Brewer's Friend. I personally like the changes and updates that have been made. Yes there are bugs, as there always will be with software updates, but for me they are not overwhelming to the point of giving up.

    A couple of people made mention of a beta testing program. I think that would be a great idea. I have been involved in multiple beta testing programs and would love to help evaluate new updates you put out as I'm sure many others would. It would give you timely and focused feedback to specific software updates as they are developed.

    Finally my advice would be continue doing what you are doing. Develop the software as you would like to see it. Speaking from a business perspective you can't please everyone, and if you try to, you will lose your sanity. Having two versions is a great idea (basic and advanced) but beyond that there is nothing you can do to please everyone.
     
  10. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Thank you all for the feedback, both positive and negative.

    I do think I didn't explain the version very well. We cannot do two different actual versions of the software, but we can use toggles/settings to allow the user to show what he/she needs to have.

    I'm a homebrewer who kegs with only 1 regulator usually. So I don't need the priming sugar calculations, etc. I don't need packaging stuff, and I'll never make a label. That doesn't mean that 95% of the rest of you don't, though.

    I do want my data from my Tilt to show up (I love that!), but many others have no interest at all in that.

    So the thought is for those who don't care about certain things like advanced water calculators or whatever the case may be, it would be toggled off. For those who do need and appreciate those things, they could have everything turned on that they would like.

    And we are working night and day to regain your trust and to fix all the things that aren't working well for you right now. This has been unpleasant for all of you I know, and it has been a difficult time for the staff as well. We want to provide you with the best brewing software in the world, the best customer service, and the best UI experience during it. We are listening very carefully to all of the comments and suggestions.
     
  11. Pricelessbrewing

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    Gotcha, thanks for the clarification. That sounds like an easy and approachable solution.

    Could make it as simple as having each section be collapsible (when collapsed only the header is still only displayed). I could for instance hide the priming sugar sections, and water chemistry. There's toggles should be saved to user profile or locally via cookies/local storage so the user doesnt have to hide the sections they're not interested in every use.
     
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  12. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I still use the software and I like it but I'm at the point where I build a recipe and then kind of ignore the rest. The grain selection is overwhelming and most of the time I have no idea what particular type of 2-row I have so I just pick whichever one gets selected first. I'm sure some people like having every possible malt option available but there are few Canadian options so I just pick whatever seems close anyway.

    The continuous UI changes are probably my biggest beef with it, I picked Brewers Friend when I started because it was clean and intuitive. It is rapidly heading away from that and I think that's a mistake.
     
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  13. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    You can take off any "brands" you don't want cluttering the recipe builder. Just click "my profile" and uncheck the ones you dont' want to see. You can do the same with hops and yeast and misc ingredients also. You'll still see the "generic" additions if that's what you want.

    We're going back to "clean and intuitive" as that has always been our biggest draw I think. Any hints on that would be greatly appreciated. If you hate blue, love brown, like big buttons, little buttons, like toggles but not checkboxes- whatever it is that you guys want to "declutter" your UI, please let us know!
     
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  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    If I uncheck these are there generic options that are choose-able? Cause sometimes I will get a grain but I don't get the maltster, if I get rid of all of them will I have no selection options available? It used to be a lot simpler before the brands were added in, that's what I'm aiming for.
     
  15. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    We DO have a beta testing area of our site, and we're making changes in how it's going to be presented. In the past, we've just made a list of what's on beta, without explaining it fully I think.

    So from now on, every time we have any hotfix or any change, we'll put it on the changelog for all to see, as well as list things specifically in the beta test forum to look at and test. We're happy to invite anyone interested to be a beta tester, so if you're interested I'd be happy to add you to the list. It will allow you to see the 'beta testers forum' area of this forum as well as give you access to the beta site.
     
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  16. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Yes, if you uncheck all the brands, you'll get same old US two row, UK two row, etc. If there are some that aren't listed in there because they are brand dependent, if you led me know I can add them generically for you as well.
     
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  17. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Awesome Possum, I'd honest wager a lot of people have no true idea what brand their 2-row is so this is valuable. Is the same true for hops and yeast?
     
  18. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Not so much for yeast, as our lists are like "WLP 500" which is a White Labs strain. But I have Wyeast, White Labs, Mangrove Jack, Imperial, and Danstar in my list only. I never use Bootleg Biology for example, but I can add it if I do. Hops have a generic also, but many are added by brands so that may or may not work as well for you. Try it out, and if you have any questions you can either ask here on the forum or send me a private message via the "conversation" feature here on the forum.
     
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  19. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    For sure, I'll take a look. I generally only go looking for things if something major changes or doesn't work so I don't always catch point release updates.
     
  20. Pricelessbrewing

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    Neat. I didn't know that feature existed.
     

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