Help/Windows meets these and many more needs by providing one product which performs two major functions.
- Full on-line text maintenance. Complete manuals can be created and maintained on-line. Manuals can be sub-divided into system, documents, sections and subjects. Text is easily entered and edited using a text-editor type of process. Common paragraphs or entire subjects may be "included" from one document to another. Nested includes are supported. Printing orders may be inserted in the text to control document appearance. Entire manuals or selected subjects may be printed or displayed on the terminal in "list" form (as it appears when printed). Automatic page numbering, section Titles, running headers, table of contents and index creation are supported.
- On-line text retrieval from application transactions. Selected sections of a manual, or stand-alone documents may be "keyed" to any application transaction in the on-line environment. A user-defined PF or PA key may be used to retrieve the associated text while operating the transaction. The associated text can be displayed either in full-screen mode or in a "window" on the screen, the position and size of which is defined by the text writer. Help windows may be referenced at the transaction level, the screen level or at the individual field level. The terminal operator uses the cursor to "point" to the data for which a Help window is requested. When finished browsing through the Help text, control returns to the application transaction at the touch of a key.
Two special features make it very easy to define on-line help displays and associate them with a user transaction. These are:
- The automated application interface. The user transaction is started normally and the screen to be documented is displayed. You position the cursor to the field to be associated with a help display and press a pre-defined "help definition" key. This causes a window to appear on the screen and puts you directly in text entry mode. You may then key the desired text or reference text which has already been keyed to display in the window. PF key options allow you to easily define the size and position of the window at this point. When finished, the application screen is restored and you may proceed to the next field to be documented.
- Word-wrap. With word-wrap, you need not concern yourself with the size of the help window when keying the documentation text. Help/Windows will automatically break a sentence on a word boundary so that it will all fit in the window, no matter what size window is defined. This feature makes it quite practical to display extracted portions of an on-line document in a window on the screen, eliminating the need for the operator to "pan" left or right to read all of the text.
There is no need for any hardware changes, nor is there any need to modify your existing software. Any type of application transaction may be interrupted to display a Help window, then resumed. With Help/Windows, there is never any need to modify application software in order to access needed Help screens. And, of course, there is no degradation to the system nor to user response time.