Help Function for enCore v5

The update from enCore 4 to v5 holds many new features and changes. This makes (large) parts of the help function outdated. In addition to that, the help function in enCore 4 is still tightly connected to the idea of the MOO as text command driven platform. The help function would benefit from seperating aspects, as well as combine other aspects. In other words, the Help function should be rewritten. I have not done anything in this regard, except writing a few documents outside the MOO, like this one, and collected them here: http://lingo.uib.no/v5.

Ideas for a new Help Function

The main idea is to create a central help server which can be accessed from all enCore installations on behalf of their users. In the picture above, there are two end users. The user to the left views a page with a MOO recorder, and wonders what to do as a next step. He might click on a lightbulb to get help. The enCore plattform now computates a request based on the following information:

This request is then sent to the central help server, where all this information is processed, and the latest and best help is sent back to the enCore platform, and, in turn, to the end user. The user will not notice any of this, as he just clicks on a lightbulb and gets a popup window with the desired contents, as if it were produced from the individual platform.

The user to the right really likes papers printed out and chooses the option "Manual A-Z" from withing the Help Browser. The enCore plattform now computates a request based on the following information:

As in the first example, this request is then sent to the central help server, where all this information is processed, and the latest and best help is sent back to the user (viewed within the enCore platform).

This model would even be able to integrate locally produced help files, guides and tutorials.

Grant Proposition

I had my assistent Trond Pettersen write a study about how to best solve the challenges at hand. This 23-pages PDF report contains discussions on pros and cons of diverse technologies, screenshots about how it might be looking, literature reference, and a stipulation of the workload (in hours/weeks) to fulfill the task.

The report may be downloaded here.

I kindly ask the enCore consortium to read and comment the report. I kindly ask the enCore consortium to grant funding to fulfill the Help function as described in the report. The project description would be based on the report. However, if the consortium finds it neccessary to change any of the premises, we would be more than happy to discuss other models, and/or include any valuable input.

Trond Pettersen would be fully qualified to conduct the project and produce the code. He could begin working on the project immediately.

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