Hi HelpIndex Possible Improvements
Last modified: 9 March 1998.
What improvements do you want? Do you have any other suggestions?
PS See the MakeHelpIndex possible improvements
and the Index file format possible improvements.
Here's our proposed development schedule.
- DONE: Write Hi HelpIndex as a Java Bean.
This will work (A) in an applet context and (B) with a browser bean,
eg the Hot Java Bean.
- DONE: Speed up the loading of index files
- Not doing: ActiveX version
- Not doing: Write Visual C++ DevStudio Add-in for context-sensitive help (Hi Help).
- Check Hi HelpIndex on Apple Macintosh browsers
- Cope with enormous index files, ie split up files into manageable chunks.
This would make Hi HelpIndex work better on CD-ROMs
and large sites with a huge number of pages.
- Provide a full word index for CD-ROMs.
- Check out Marimba
- DONE: JDK 1.1 Version
- DONE: Trusted applet status
- ? Netscape plug-in version
- TO DO: Implement Test+Open web page
- Option to check that all referenced URLs actually exist.
- Make scan configurable so that other keywords can be picked up,
eg within <H1>.
- Drag URL into browser to display it.
- Scan problem report: button to show text where problem lies.
- If scan finds an absolute URL link which has the same base as the current
URL, then scan into it as if it were a relative page..
- Convert JDK 1.1 version to use ResourceBundle property files instead of language files.
Hi Lab would need to be changed as well.
- Allow incremental index files which add to an existing index file.
This would allow updates to be added easily.
- Have a tiny applet which detects which version of the JDK the browser is running.
If JDK 1.0 then show the JDK 1.0 page, otherwise show the JDK 1.1 page.
Check carefully that the browser can run the full JDK 1.1 spec.
- For some character encoding schemes, the line end and semi-colon delimeter
characters may not be available, so provide a parameter to specify
- DONE: Have parameter to specify recommended height and width of floating window.
- JDK 1.1 technicalities:
use desktop colours as default
use Shape for temporary graphics clipRect: DONE
scale icon image in applet area, keeping proportions
use lightweight UI for Tree and Tab components,
ie derive from Container and Component not Panel and Canvas.
- Add a BaseURL applet parameter. This will be useful for situations where
you want to install Hi HelpIndex on someone's local hard disk but have
the web pages to display on a CD-ROM. The installation program will need to
modify the applet call HTML so that the new BaseURL parameter points to
the local user's CD-ROM (which is not always in the same position).
- Make keywords out of other HTML features, eg text in H1 tags.
- DONE: As an option, close the icon window when the user selects a page to display.
- Give tab cards a more 3-D look.
- Use user's locale to determine collation sequence in sorted lists,
ie sorted Contents and keywords and pages lists in the Index.
- Change Display Page to Send Email if URL is a "mailto:".
- Support Marimba Castanet technology.
This would load the applet into your local computer memory,
making it much quicker to run.
Version updates would be applied automatically.
Note that the Java's usual security benefits would still apply.
- Add user authentication to MakeHelpIndex and/or Hi HelpIndex,
ie so that they avoid the user having to fill in username/password boxes.
- Alter Hi HelpIndex so that it can read the Contents (.hhc) and Index (.hhk) files
which are used by Microsoft's HTML Help ActiveX Control.
- Have an alternative view of the index form.
Still have a query text box, but have a hierarchy tree underneath,
listing all keywords in alphabetical order, off root nodes A, B, etc.
So off J there would be children Java, Java applet etc.
From each child would be a list of the URLs that contain the Java, etc.
Typing in the query text box would take you to the appropriate entry.
- Have a border round the icon.
- Have tool-tips on buttons.
DONE: Similar effect for tab cards that are just icons
- In "applet" mode, have a "Window" button, ie which shows the floating window.
- Write a version of javadoc to generate help index file properly.
- Allow wild card searches, eg *key or key?.
- Suggestion: have a server process which runs MakeHelpIndex daily
- or on demand - to ensure that your help index file is up to date.
In the future, perhaps servlets will allow this to be done automatically.
- Currently the index file is not sorted,
so Hi HelpIndex does the sorting when the file is read.
If an index file is pre-sorted then it should be marginally quicker to load.
Perhaps use a different format code for sorted index files.
Provide a sorting program.
- Provide a programmer interface, eg so that another applet can
specify the query text, actually look it up and go to that URL.
- Do not use the GIF format as you are supposed to license it (from Unisys?).
- DONE IN V2.2: JDK 1.1 Version
- DONE IN V2.1.2: Have parameter to change the icons used in the tab cards.
- DONE IN V2.0.
Hi HelpIndex has a Contents tree to navigate the URLs of a site.
TO DO:Have a wizard to show the desired hierarchy,
ie the hierarchy is not just set by the first link found.
Keep the desired hierarchy in another file,
so that user's selections are not lost between HTML edits.
- DONE IN V2.0.
Allow other index files to be opened in Select tab.
- DONE IN V2.0.
A tiny "stub" Hi HelpIndex gets loaded quickly to display the icon
as soon as possible while the main classes load.
- DONE IN V1.7. Have a parameter indicating the language of the prompts.