Online help (and manual) built-into XBMC and its skins - Printable Version
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Online help (and manual) built-into XBMC and its skins - nanite1000 - 2004-01-03 00:57
maybe this is not so important feature yet (functionality first). but had an idea of small online help that describes settings.
when you move focus over setting, small description appears to screen. if helptext does not fit to box maybe text would scroll down. heres example (sorry about pic quality, taken with cellphone):
alternative link to pic.
- Hullebulle - 2004-01-03 05:12
hehe nice photoshop work.
anyway i get the point and like the idea very much. not that i don't know what are all these settings for (well ok i don't), but it would make my life as a support mod much easier.
- mosax - 2004-02-22 11:38
i think this is a great idea! are there any plans for such a function? i see a number of benefits of a built in help system like that, e.g:
- you could always get instant info on what a button is for.
- less number of support questions compaired to a separate manual (who reads manuals?).
- easier to maintain (just add text to xml file).
it could work like this:
on any object in the gui that is selectable (button, tickmark etc.) the user could press 'info' (on remote) which would bring up a info box on screen (something like in nanite1000's picture above). a press on 'info' (or 'back') would remove the info box. using up/down the user can scroll to see more text in the text box.
the text shown in the info boxes could be stored in a xml file, like the current language files (string.xml). it could of cause be stored in the same file as the langage files but perhaps better to keep the help text separate in a file like help.xml for each language (stored in the same directory as string.xml).
by combining the above with a 'first-start' function that shows extensive info the first time xbmc is started on a xbox, i think the need for a separate manual can be greatly redused. a spearate manual could just giving an overview of the features of xbmc (same info of cause also built in), and describe the specifics of the settings file (xboxmediacenter.xml), like how to set up file shares (also this info should be build in). a separate manual could then easier be produced and update by making excerpts from the help files.
anyone working on something like this?
- ej2095 - 2005-08-27 12:43
just a idea .. too add the xbmc online manual as part of the cvs build. so if they need to look up anything about xbmc they can at the click of a button. saves them going online.. with a small search engine built into the manual as well..
keeps up the excellent work guys..
p.s and yes i know us blokes never read the manual untill it all goes pear shaped.
- sYRA - 2005-08-27 14:50
- Tomkun - 2005-08-29 03:38
perhaps like some video games, where you can press a button and a key layout will pop-up? that would be nice. also, more information for the settings (esp network settings) as those are the things that tend to catch beginners out.
however, to be honest, can't see it happening.
- los93sol - 2005-08-29 04:54
i half agree with tomkun, a good start would be a "help" overlay or window specific screens.
i think it is entirely possible and feasible to display specific controls for individual screens to the user as well. the issue would be with custom keymaps which is where it might get a little bit tricky. i'm not a programmer, but i have a bit of knowledge of how it all works. it seems like it should be possible to parse the keymap.xml to look for specific tags and get the variables of those tags (basically looks for the keys and what they do), then output that information to the screen.
another thought on the topic of "help" screens is to set it up in a popup dialog and allow the user to still move the focus around to different buttons on the screen. in the popup dialog it could then give a brief description of what the selected button does. this idea could also be carried over to settings so non-techs would have a better idea what each setting is for.
i think this would be a great start and take a significant amount of the nonsense questions and confusion out of xbmc's support forums and irc. if something like this was in place i could see it expanding a bit more and eventually developing into what could be a "manual incorporated into xbmc". also, as far as i know the major portion of this would be skin-oriented rather than adding a lot of bulk to the code. it would be great if a dev could comment on if this would be possible to do with xml's. if it can, that would be even easier for people to help keep up to date as things change than the current wiki. don't get me wrong though, the wiki would still most definitely be needed for in-depth tutorials and whatnot, but i think a lot of the questions people have could be included in a system like this.
- los93sol - 2005-09-03 22:55
bump...really hoping a dev will pick this one up, i would love to help writing the descriptions for this feature if someone could get the code in place for it.
- Nuka1195 - 2005-09-03 23:59
there was a skin that had a help overlay.
just create a custom#.xml with graphics and text and assign a key to it.
- los93sol - 2005-09-04 01:50
sorry, i wasn't aware this thread existed...the original author seems to have a very similar idea to what i was thinking. i have seen the skin with the help for the keys, but it only checks the default keys, i believe a better way would be to parse the keymap.xml for certain tags then display the variables accordingly, that way it is accurate for those with custom keymaps. i was thinking it should be it's own system to keep the xml and skin files to a minimal by adding the help system items under there own help\*.xml style file structure and keep the whole system uniform.