Browse Prior Art Database

Reviewing Tag Based On-Line Help Information

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000102530D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-17
Document File: 2 page(s) / 78K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Pringle, JM: AUTHOR

Abstract

The help text for many computer applications is written using SGML or GML-type tag languages. It is very difficult to review the help text prior to the text actually being added to the help system because typically the text is run through a text formatter and then printed on paper with results similar to those shown in the following figure:

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 53% of the total text.

Reviewing Tag Based On-Line Help Information

       The help text for many computer applications is written
using SGML or GML-type tag languages.  It is very difficult to review
the help text prior to the text actually being added to the help
system because typically the text is run through a text formatter and
then printed on paper with results similar to those shown in the
following figure:

      Some of the help information may be as short as a single
sentence (as was the case in Fig. 1).  It is not always possible for
the reviewer to know what the help is for just by reading it since it
is has been designed to be meaningful in the context of the working
computer application.  As a result, inspecting the formatted text as
shown in Fig. 1 will result in little more than ensuring that the
words are correctly spelled.  This is very little value to get from
an inspection.

      The writers of the help text have a similar problem in that
they have to somehow remember the purpose of each help. They also
have to make sure that new persons assigned to work with the helps
can easily find out the purpose of each help.

      Writers solve these problems by adding commentary information
to the help file which explains the purpose of each help.  Fig. 2
shows an example:

      The commentary information in the file (though helpful to other
writers) is not presented to the reviewers at the inspection since it
was entered into the help file as comments.  A...