Browse Prior Art Database

Mechanism for Scripting Tutorials for an Interactive Help Sprite Agent

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000116627D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-31
Document File: 2 page(s) / 99K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Bowman, M: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Disclosed is a mechanism for generating and displaying tutorials for an interactive help sprite in graphical user interface systems. Unique is the mechanism by which tutorials are given to the help sprite so that it can later give them to users.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Mechanism for Scripting Tutorials for an Interactive Help Sprite Agent

      Disclosed is a mechanism for generating and displaying
tutorials for an interactive help sprite in graphical user interface
systems.  Unique is the mechanism by which tutorials are given to the
help sprite so that it can later give them to users.

      The interactive help sprite agent is very powerful in its
ability to give on-line animated tutorials.  The sprite is able to
push buttons, pull down menus, point at things, write or draw in
windows, move objects around, and many other actions in order to give
an accurate tutorial of how to accomplish tasks in graphical user
interface systems.  A mechanism is needed to give the sprite
instructions on what actions to perform to teach a certain tutorial.
In addition, a mechanism is needed to easily generate sprite
instructions for a given graphical user interface action.

      The mechanism which has been invented allows the help sprite to
learn a tutorial by being tutored itself.  The help sprite is put
into a mode during which mouse and keyboard actions are learned as a
tutorial.  This mode is entered by selecting a menu choice on the
sprite itself (a "button 3" menu), a hot key combination, toggling
the state in the application, or by other means.  When the mode is
entered, a name for the tutorial is asked for, and the help sprite
becomes the mouse cursor.  The sprite is used to perform mouse and
keyboard actions, and to record the tutorial exactly as the help
sprite will perform it.  In addition, the dialog bubble for the
sprite is available, allowing help text to be entered at the points
where it will be given.  To end the recording, some hot key or menu
choice is activated.

      The learning mechanism consists of some software which allows
mouse and keyboard events to be recorded to a file, and which
provides an interclient communication mechanism to send the events
between the application and the help sprite.  The help sprite
automatically animates by following the recorded events - pointing to
what the mouse pointed to, pressing the buttons that the mouse
pressed, and delivering text where it was previously typed.  In this
manner, a tutorial can be generated by demonstrating it using normal
graphical user interface actions.  Either a developer or and end user
can tutor the sprite, which learns the actions and can later
duplicate them.

      In the sample implementation, a C++* object has been written
which encapsulates the mechanism such that when the object is used to
initiate an X Windows application, the required intelligence is
compiled into the application transparently.  The object consists of
four main parts: a recording part, a playback part, a delivery part
and...