Context sensitive pop-ups (yehoshua paul)

Subject: Context sensitive pop-ups (yehoshua paul)
From: "Stuart Conner (stuconne)" <stuconne -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2017 08:53:37 +0000

Hooray for someone trying to do context sensitive pop-ups! Back in the late 1990's this was I believe called "What's This?" help. Although 'modern' approaches to help are great at covering conceptual and procedural stuff, they seem pretty hopeless at providing very specific information on individual controls. For example, go to the Word advanced options page and try to use Word help to find out *exactly* what the [Use Smart Cursoring] checkbox is all about.

Anyway, back in 1998 we had "What's This?" help on one of our software products that controlled a broadcast transmission system, so it had lots of very technical settings and options on many of the screens. So we implemented "What's This?" help by associating a control ID with each control, mapping those with individual topics in (an early version of!) RoboHelp, and triggering the help from the app would call the help engine and pass the control ID, and a nice detailed popup would be displayed right next to the control. The "What's This?" help could be triggered in any of 3 ways:

-- Select the [What's This?] option from the [Help] menu, then click on the control on the screen to display the help text for that control.

-- Click the right-hand mouse button anywhere on the screen, select the [Help] option from the popup menu displayed, then select the [What's This?] option from the sub-menu, then click on the control.

-- Press the [Shift F1] key then click on the control.

Nice memories; happy days.


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