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Decoupling the Help Manager while Maintaining Full Help Support

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000114113D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-27
Document File: 4 page(s) / 142K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Johnson, DK: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Applications running in an OS/2* Presentation Manager* (PM) windowed environment can use the Help Manager* to provide many types of help information. The Help Manager can provide contextual helps, general helps, and keys helps, among others, as specified by the application.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 44% of the total text.

Decoupling the Help Manager while Maintaining Full Help Support

      Applications running in an OS/2* Presentation Manager* (PM)
windowed environment can use the Help Manager* to provide many types
of help information.  The Help Manager can provide contextual helps,
general helps, and keys helps, among others, as specified by the
application.

      Under the normal usage of the Help Manager, the Help Manager
window is closely coupled to the application window.  The Help
Manager window is always in front of the window for which it is
providing help.  When the application window is moved, the Help
Manager moves along with it.

      In some applications, however, having the Help Manager coupled
so tightly to the application window reduces the application's
usability.  An example is an application that uses the Help Manager
to present step-by-step instruction on how to perform a given task
that involves interacting with different windows.  When the user
follows the instructions and brings another window to the top of the
desktop, the Help Manager can become covered up when it goes to the
background along with the window that requested it to display its
help.  Bringing the Help Manager window back to the foreground will
also bring the application window coupled to it, thus covering up the
next window the next step in the instructions require be used.

      Messages also flow from the Help Manager to the application
window's message procedure when events occur which the Help Manager
feels the application may need to know about.  These messages may
relate to an error that has occurred in attempting to present a
particular help, request the ID of a help to present, or notify the
application of the occurrence of a specific event.

      This disclosure describes a process for decoupling the Help
Manager window from the application window that called it, thus
allowing the Help Manager window to operate independently of the
application window on the desktop.  It will also maintain the
communication link between the Help Manager and the application
window so that messages from the Help Manager will continue to be
received and processed by the application.

      The process consists of two steps: decoupling the Help Manager
window and maintaining the communication link between it and the
application window.

      The key to decoupling the window is found in the
HM_SET_ACTIVE_WINDOW message that the application sends to the Help
Manager when help is first requested by the user.  This message is
used to notify the Help Manager exactly what window is currently
active, and thus which it should become coupled to and communicate
with.  If the passed window handle is set to something besides the
application window, such as the desktop, the Help Manager window will
become decoupled and independent of the application window.

      However, setting the active window to be the desktop also loses
the communication lin...