Inkscape 0.44 has some great tutorials, but they alone can not replace an embedded help system like other applications have. The deficiencies are:
- one cannot find help for a specific tool
- tutorials don't have hyperlinks nor an index
- tutorials cannot really be searched - search is limited to the current document and doesn't jump from hit to hit, but just highlights all hits, and the user has to comb though these
- Cedric and Kevin's manual would be a nice base
- kind of 3 levels of needs: instant help (already existing, but not for effects/extensions :( ); then a kind of embedded glossary, and finally a big user manual
- short explanation text should be integrated in the inx file or the extension code and then displayed (in a tab for a dialog ?) with the effect... I don't know what would be the best display place for it (status bar at least)
- The glossary could be section and subsections of the big manual, with its own menu item.
- Context-sensitive help is one thing where I think they are spot-on. How hard would it be for us to provide "F1 Help"? If only to pop up a browser on a given html page and #anchor. (Bob Jamison in http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.graphics.inkscape.devel/16826)
Help Systems on Different Operating Systems
Linux, *BSD, Other Unices
- Do we want to use something like Yelp?
- The GNOME Handbook of Writing Software Documentation - "Writing Context Sensitive Help (coming in GNOME-3.0)"
- Can we produce CHM files?
The "User Assistance" technology or environment has evolved through several major stages, but has always been based upon a restricted HTML 3.2 markup and a lightweight "Help Viewer". See Help on Apple Help for a near illegible page that describes the making of the excellent help system for the pixel editor Pixen (not that many Inkscapers use pixel editors). Apple provides a comprehensive account of the Human Interface factors relating to its technology, but this may be just outside what we need to be thinking about for Inkscape right now,
- Usable Help, a list of just under 250 links to articles on documentation and help systems for software and consumer products.
- Review from German c't magazine pointing out the need of some embedded documentation/help
- ScislaC has a plan to re-arrange and extend our existing tutorial system (FIXME: is there anything written down yet?)