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 Post subject: Help system - testing needed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:35 pm 
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http://www.dl2.net/help.php

This is a work in progress, but it's nearly complete. There's only a couple of things that I still have left to tweak on it, but it's working for the most part.

The coolest part, in my opinion, is the search box. As you type, it will suggest matches for what you're searching for. I still have to tweak the suggest function so it will trigger when you type some of the secondary keywords instead of the primary keywords. For example, it currently won't suggest "Attributes" when you start typing "score". The code looks like it would work, but the thing just doesn't want to produce all hits.

For now, the current help system is going to remain online, but when it's ready, the new one will go live. I'll post another when the new help search system goes totally live.

What I need from you guys is to use the new help system a bit (you can only get to it by entering the URL directly, there's no link on the website for it just yet) and let me know what's wrong with it, what doesn't work and what you would like to see tweaked.

So far, the punch list of what needs to be worked on is:
1) There's an extra comma at the end of the "see also" links
2) The master keyword list does not work currently
3) Searches will not match against secondary keywords

Please reply to this thread with your input, bug reports, etc. It's easier to track this way :)

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 Post subject: Re: Help system - testing needed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:40 pm 
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I like the system, I haven't found anything bugworthy (granted, I've only spent 30 seconds typing psuedo-random keywords), but I do have a UI tweak that might be of interest. When you're given a list of suggested keywords, instead of mousing over, and clicking your preference, could you create a list navigable by the arrow keys? I see a keyword x down on the list, and I arrow key down to highlight it, hit tab (select keyword, place in searchbox) and hit return to look up the corresponding helpfile.

My suggestion for the day? :)

Keep up the good work!


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 Post subject: Re: Help system - testing needed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:15 pm 
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Not a bad idea. I'll tack it onto the list!

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 Post subject: Re: Help system - testing needed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:24 pm 
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Vulsin,

You inspired me so I rewrote the existing help system (help.cgi), so that it works exactly how it used to but in Ruby. :D I got to remove some 300+ lines of code, most of it is embedded HTML at this point. I thought it would be an interesting exercise and would provide you with some more details about how the system/indexing works, check it out. Let me know if you have comments or questions. We don't have to use it if you want to make a better one, but I thought it would be a good start for you to goof around in Ruby. I thought we might also add a "brute force keyword search" across help profiles and then offer up a list of matching profiles (and maybe ordered number of matches per profile) each with an appropriate link. Keep up the good work.

Best regards,

--Nezmar


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 Post subject: Re: Help system - testing needed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:45 pm 
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Oooh now THAT sounds like fun!

I can't seem to pick small projects to start off with when learning a new language... then again when I started learning PHP, I started off with some pretty complex (but cool!) projects. Took me a lot longer than it should have :P

With this small Ruby CGI script, i should be able to get a firm grip on it pretty quickly. Who knows, maybe the entire website could be redone in rhtml :)

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 Post subject: Re: Help system - testing needed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:45 pm 
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It was fun to do. In fact, so fun I had to tweak it a bit more... the help list had some problems which I've fixed. I really like the black background you put it on in the PHP version. I had to tweak normal to make it look right with the current color scheme. I bet you could do better... I wouldn't think it would be too hard to build in your clickable keyword search (you could even match against secondary keywords)... that stuff is actually mostly javascript, isnt' it?

Best regards,

--Nezmar


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 Post subject: Re: Help system - testing needed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:42 am 
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Yeah the onKeyUp event in the anchor tag fires off a JavaScript function that hits up a PHP script. The PHP script does all the legwork of searching through the list, and returns just a bunch of hyperlinks to helpfiles. The JavaScript gets that, replaces the HTML inside of a special DIV tag, sets it to visible, and voila. My first successful attempt at using AJAX.

The beauty of this code is that it's portable and can be used in PHP, Ruby, Python... whatever you want. As long as there is a webserver that can serve up the page and a standards-compliant browser that can process the response.

AJAX (which isn't a language, but a method of using existing languages - stands for Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) will really be the cornerstone of the entire browser-based DL client. By using AJAX, I can update any aspect of the page without having to reload it every time new data is processed. Ruby will do the legwork and AJAX will do the presentation. It's arguably one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in web design (AJAX, that is.)

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