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Automatic generation of documentation of a GUI application Disclosure Number: IPCOM000028963D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Jun-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Jun-09
Document File: 1 page(s) / 53K

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Instructions on how to use a Graphical User Interface (GUI) application usually involve ad-hoc nomenclature with something like ">" to tell the reader to hit the named menu item. The fact that different authors use different nomenclatures can lead to misunderstandings. This article describes a standard method to describe GUI operations to avoid this. It also provides a succinct way to describe actions such as entering particular text in a named text area.

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Automatic generation of documentation of a GUI application

Descriptions of how to operate a specific GUI normally use an ad-hoc nomenclature. For example "->" is often used to indicate a menu item. However, some authors use the same symbol to mean that data should be entered in a field. Some authors use ">" to indicate a menu item. This can be confusing.

  When an expert demonstrates how to perform an operation on a GUI application it is difficult for the novice to remember all the steps the expert took. The novice will often have to ask the expert to slow down while s/he writes down each step. In the bad old days of command line interfaces it was easy to record everything an expert had done for you. Just scroll back over what s/he had done. Also, as the GUI of an application evolves it is hard work to keep the documentation in step.

Also, when an automated GUI test system records GUI operations for automatic playback it is difficult to read the script it has recorded.

  This article suggests is a list of GUI operations with a symbol to describe each operation. For example "> item " should always be used to indicate a menu item where "item " is the string to be clicked on in a drop down menu. It would be possible for an automated GUI test system to output text to a file that describes all the operations performed on the GUI application. This can be used to record what an expert has done for you or as a way to automatically write a manual. If an automated GUI test sys...