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The "democratic help" system

One of the most serious problem of VA is the lack of a true help system. For many years I tried to write at least a basic help but without success. Mainly for two reasons: the first is that writing an help requires a lot of time; I do not earn money from VA (except some euro from donations ... but believe me, it is only very very symbolic) so I should dedicate even more time than I spent to write VA itself to write a true help. But I must also work for a living!

The second and not less important reason is that my knowledge of English is not so good; and neither I have time to improve it, at least because I work in Italy and in a company in which the knowledge of English is not required. This means that for me is very hard to write a "book" in English about VA.

From the earlier version of VA I introduced a raw help system, made of a set of .rtf file, that one can load automatically by pressing the "help" button that is normally present in the most part of the VA's windows. From the 2011 version I extended the mechanism on ALL the windows and sub-windows of the program, and I fixed a bug present in the last two release of VA (problems with end of line characters).

The mechanism is very simple: the help is a simple window that allows to display a .rtf file, loaded from the \help directory of VA (created with install program) when it exist. Otherwise the window is always opened (empty) and with a warning message that inform the user about the missed file. At the moment, these are all the existing help file in a zip archive:

Help file

And they, with the 2014 version are deployed with the setup program. I.e. they are automatically installed with VA installation.

They are out-to-date and anyway incomplete. But the point is another: in this way I can "fill" the file independently from the official release of VA; in fact will be possible to download it separately and add to the \help directory of VA. And, mainly, everyone can modify or write it  "from scratch". Or - very important - correct my English!!

  So, for example, you can invoke the Voltmeter instrument and click the "help" button. At the moment, will appear the standard help window showing the message:

"No help found. Check your help directory for file:Help\VoltMeter.rtf"

At this point, you know that: the help has not been still written, and that the corresponding file is "Voltmeter.rtf". So if you are experienced with the voltmeter and want to collaborate with me, simply you can write the help file (for example with Wordpad editing the Voltmeter.rtf file), send it to me by e-mail and I can include it in official release of VA or simply let other people to download  (for example from this page). As obvious you'll be explicitly mentioned in the page of help download as author of the help (if desired). Write to the mail address at the bottom of the page.

Isn't it a good idea?

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Send an e-mail to  alfredo[at]accattatis.org for questions and/or suggestions about the web site. The webmaster is Alfredo Accattatis.
Last modified: 28-mar-2014