Context Sensitive TOC + Content (long)

Subject: Context Sensitive TOC + Content (long)
From: "Barb Einarsen" <barb -dot- einarsen -at- nettest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 15:10:32 -0400


Hi all (posted to the TechWr-L and JavaHelp list)

Background: We are creating a new product line that runs on multiple
platforms (Linux hardware, Java software and JavaHelp). The development
team in charge of the overall Application structure has been working on
the development side of the JavaHelp issue (how to call the help, how to
pass context ids, and so on).

Issue: The development team has a unique idea on how to approach the
context sensitive help. They would like to track how the user moves
through the software to the point where they click Help, then compile a
unique help file that contains only items that are relevant to the user.


Currently: We use one master help file that opens to the appropriate
spot when called from a context id or the Help menu.

They propose: One master help file that opens when called from the Help
menu. Then, many, many individual help files that are individually
selected and compiled together at run time to create a context sensitive
help system.

Concerns: I'm worried that the user will want to see and move through
the entire tree, regardless of where they originially reach the help
file. I'm also concerned that they won't realize there is an overall
help file, and think the only help that exists is what appears.

This takes more effort from both the writers and the developers. It
also increases the risk of compilation errors and slow-downs at
run-time.

Advice? Can you see pros or cons that I'm missing? Has anyone done
anything like this?

Thanks for your time,
Barb


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