3.10 Implementing online help

MUI provides several ways of implementing direct and immediate online help functionality in your applications. First of all, every MUI gadget can have a bubble help functionality that pops up after the mouse has hovered over a gadget for a user-specified interval. This is done via the Area.ShortHelp attribute. As Area class is the super class for all MUI gadgets, you can use this attribute to add a help text to all your gadgets. Here is an example:

   <listview shorthelp="List of loaded video files">
   <button shorthelp="Plays a video stream">Play</button>
   <button shorthelp="Stops a video stream">Stop</button>
   <button shorthelp="Exits the program.">Quit</button>

Furthermore, you can specify an external AmigaGuide file for your application that is opened whenever the user presses the HELP key. This is done by setting the Application.HelpFile attribute. Here is an example:

<application helpfile="PROGDIR:MyProgram.guide">

To make your online help functionality even more convenient for the user, you can fine-tune the access to the external AmigaGuide file by specifying which node or line of the AmigaGuide file should be displayed when the mouse is over a specific object. This is done by using the Notify.HelpNode or the Notify.HelpLine attributes. For example, let's assume that the node "VideoPlayback" should be displayed when the mouse is over the "Play" button and the user presses the HELP key. You can write this as the following XML code:

<button helpnode="VideoPlayback">Play</button>

Of course, your application has to define Application.HelpFile first if you want to use Notify.HelpNode.

If your help system is not that detailed that you have an own node for every gadget and you just have an own node for every window, then you can also use Notify.HelpNode on window level. Like this:

<window helpnode="VideoPlayback">

Whenever that window is the active one then and the user presses HELP, MUI will automatically open the AmigaGuide file specified in Application.HelpFile and display the node specified in Notify.HelpNode. You see that MUI makes it really easy for the programmers to implement a convenient help system in their applications. All you have to do is use it for your own application and your end-users will surely be grateful for it.

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