KDE Help

Subject: KDE Help
From: KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:21:18 -0500

G'day all.

Is anybody on this list part of the design and
decision-making level of the KDE project Help?
I don't mean those who have contributed a snippet
of help for an application, I mean somebody who
has a say in how the KDE Help looks and works.

Some observations:

1. If I right-click the desktop and ask for help,
or if I run the KOffice Workspace (launcher)
and ask for help, or if I run just a single
application (like KWord), I always get the
same help.
According to me, when I'm looking for help
for the current application, I don't need and
don't want the help for the entire desktop
environment. General tutorials, stuff about
GNOME, UNIX man pages, etc., etc.... it's
all just clutter, when what I've asked for
is KWord help.

2) The "tree of excessive help" in the left pane
of the help browser does not go deep enough.
It should let me browse right down to the
individual page/topic that interests me,
which should then be displayed in the right pane.
Instead, the tree takes me only down as far as
the title of the KWord help book. When I click
that, I don't get further branches of the tree
to browse. Instead, I get the ToC of the manual
opening in the *right* pane. When I select a link
from that ToC, the associated page opens in that
same pane, overwriting the ToC. There's no option
to "right-click" and open the links in separate
windows. Nope. You can have the now-useless
"tree of excessive help" still taking up room in
the left pane, but you can't have the ToC/tree
of the current document visible while you look at
an individual page.

3) The standard "Back" and "Foreward" browser buttons
appear to be disabled. If I return from a page to
the ToC, and look around a bit, I'd better remember
the exact name of that page if I want to get to it
again. The usual "Forward" button is there, but it's
grayed out and not working.

So, it seems to me that if they MUST display the entire
help for your entire system at all times, then they
should at least make that tree open all the way down
to the individual topic/page link.

Or, if there's a technical reason why the tree of
books and tutorials is incompatible with the
ToCs inside the individual books and tutorials, then
they should allow us the option to keep the ToC in
view and to open the individual pages in yet-another window.

As well, while a few-dozen-word glossary might be
nice, I'd much rather have a fully populated "Index"
tab in its place. The glossary could be just another
little doc in the tree-of-excessive-help.

And certainly, there can't be a valid excuse for disabling
the "Back" and "Forward" keys, can there?

On the other hand, perhaps these behaviors are the
proper expression of the design philosophy and I'm
just a Windows Help revanchist.

Somebody 'splain it to me.



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