Re: The Help Menu

John R Sheets wrote:
> Question:
> What should the behaviour of the Help menu item be if no help
> exists for an app?  Should it be grayed out (and if so, how will
> it know of the help file's existence?)?
> Or should the menu item be always enabled, and the help browser
> be smart enough to respond with grace?  Perhaps there should be a
> helpful help-finding help page, telling the user that it couldn't
> find help for so-and-so application, and here's how to fix the
> problem or find out more....
> John
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I have a similoar problem I'm working on - let me explain it first, then
I'll tell how it might relate to this...

We are working on redesigning the website for the Tx A&M Univ. Physics
Dept. - just the navigation right now.  We are going to be placing a
question mark on each page for a kind of context sensative help.  The
URL will be the same as for the page, but with .help instead of .html. 
These files will be processed by a help.cgi before apache sends them
out.  If the .help file doesn't exist, apache will send the browser to
the top level help page (no file not found errors for help files...)

We could do a similar thing for help files in gnome - have a default
location for help (which could be overridden by the application - a sort
of help path).  If no help file is found, direct them to the top level
help.  Then, the Help menu item could be a link to the GNOME help system
- jumping users to the help most appropriate for the application.  If we
categorize programs, then we can traverse the tree from the program up
until we came to a help file...  We could go even further and have a
Help VFS.

Something to chew on...

Jim Smith

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