July 03, 2023

Announcing the Evaluation Guide for VMware Horizon 8

Announcement of the guide and the YouTube playlist for it.

You know how new parents will sometimes annoy by shoving pictures of their baby in your face? Then drone on about the baby’s newest developmental milestone? Well, sorry, but I can’t help myself; this guide has been my baby for the past 7 years, and I’m just so gosh-darn proud!

The newly reimagined Evaluation Guide for VMware Horizon 8 has just been published. It started life with a different name many years ago, but, in my humble opinion, just achieved individuation (self-realization in Jungian psychology) with this edition. In this version, the guide is much shorter and, instead of screenshots, contains 14 embedded how-to videos by moi and a couple of my closest friends!

Here is the timeline—from my first-hand experience, starting when I joined EUC Tech Marketing—for tracing the ancestry of this document.

A timeline diagram shows the evolution of the 2016 reviewer's guide into a series of reviewer's guides, then 200-page "quick-start" tutorial, then 80-page quick-start with fewer screenshots, then evaluation guide, containing 14 embedded videos.

I did not work on the Reviewer’s Guide for View in Horizon 6 (170 pages). It’s the guide I worked from when we revised and expanded the one guide into 8 linked reviewer’s guides, 6 of which I wrote.

There have actually been even earlier versions of this document. You can search on the web and still download a 2009 guide called VMware View 4 Evaluator’s Guide. Note that word in the title of the old tome—it’s Evaluator rather than Evaluation, but still. Like they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or, as T.S. Eliot put it:

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

Anyway, after the 2017 flurry of reviewer’s guides for Horizon 7, for the next update, I was told to rewrite the series of guides into a single guide with a new format that used a screenshot for each and every step of every procedure. “That’s going to take forever,” I said, and it kind of did.

What’s more, we decided that people would be more amenable to the notion of “quick start” than the dry “reviewer’s guide,” which made it sound like the audience consisted of people who wrote reviews for magazines. So, “quick start” it was, even though, at 220 pages, it didn’t seem like getting through it was going to be particularly quick.

And we wondered if we should even be creating documents like this in our department, or were we swimming in some other group’s lane? I could see how this question might be asked based on the fact that we were now calling it a quick-start guide. Quick-start guide sounded like something a technical publications department would produce to help new customers get started quickly after they purchased a product.

But what we were always doing was showing people how powerful the product could be, what useful features it had, and how a test environment could be set up pretty easily to help make the purchasing decision. In this context, tech marketing sounds right, only the title describing the content needed to change, or change back, as it turned out.

But we still liked the idea of quickness, not scrolling through 220 pages of screenshots. So, for the 2021 version of the Horizon 8 quick start, I culled the screenshots down to essentials only, and came in at 80 pages. I was a little apprehensive about the cuts because people do love their screenshots.

But you know what people like even more than screenshots? That’s right—video. If you count all the frames of all the videos in the Evaluation Guide for VMware Horizon 8, that’s thousands of screenshots!

And the PDF of this guide is only 42 pages long. Strangely, that length is similar to the old VMware View 4 Evaluator’s Guide (48 pages). And if 42 pages is too long, you can watch just the videos by going to the Horizon 8 Evaluation Guide YouTube playlist.

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