#69 usability of Help Contents...


There are a number of issues with the Help Contents window.

The window lacks navigation like a "back" button to return to the previous screen. The window must be closed and reopened after following an external website link to return to the contents.

The rendering of external websites in the help window is poor and not consistent between platforms. For example, the http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl.html page renders very badly in Vista. I have linked instead to http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0-standalone.html as a cross platform compromise workaround.

The window is missing a title in the top bar, such as the "About VStar" string that appears at the top of the About... window and when minimized to the tray. (in Solaris/Gnome, XP and Vista)

I have added a link to the source code in the Help file to comply with license requirements. The rendering of SourceForge pages is terrible and the link to download the source is unusable.

We should give some thought to the overall design. Ideally most information (license, aavso download format) should be within VStar so that it can be accessed when offline. Perhaps links to external sites should be minimal and within a single Links section? Could/should clicking on an external website link open the default web browser instead of opening within help?


  • David Benn

    David Benn - 2009-11-17

    Agreed. The current approach is a quick hack at best. It works okay for simple stuff. I had the same thought about default web browser. This is of course a common thing to do in apps these days. We should not be in the business of re-inventing the web browser. So, unless we can source a free full-featured embeddable web browser component, we should open the default. There may be issues relating to doing that uniformly across platforms, but it can't be that hard.

    The alternative to HTML help is JavaHelp, but at some point, URLs will want to be clicked, so I think the web browser is best.

  • David Benn

    David Benn - 2009-11-23

    I think we should give serious consideration to creating help content in OpenOffice (or Word I suppose, but I like open stuff) and generating PDF. The PDF can of course contain web links that would invoke a browser. Of course, that still leaves us with the problem of uniformly opening a PDF viewer (i.e. Acrobat) across platforms. This (like a web browser) could make it into Prefs.

  • mikeu

    mikeu - 2009-12-12

    Added title to Help window in svn revision 333.

  • David Benn

    David Benn - 2010-02-27
    • status: open --> closed-remind

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