8. Writing Context Sensitive Help (coming in GNOME-3.0)

Context sensitive help, also known as "pop-up" help, will allow a user to obtain help information about specific buttons or parts of an application.

Context sensitive help is still under development and not all the details are available at this time. However, the basics can be shown here so that you can understand how the system will work.

The Context Sensitive Help system is designed to allow the developer to give an id to a particular portion of the User Interface, for example, a button. Once the interface is complete a Perl script can then be run against the interface code to create a "map" file. This map file allows the developer or writer to associate particular paragraph sections from an XML document to the interface items.

The XML used for the document is a small XML DTD that is being developed to use the same tags (albeit, much fewer) as DocBook so that writers do not have to re-learn a new DTD.

Once the document is written and map file is complete, when the user launches context sensitive help on the interface (either by pressing a button and then clicking on the interface item they want information on, or by right mouse clicking on the interface item and selecting a pop-up menu item like "What's This") a small transient window will appear with brief but detailed information on the interface item.