[Pharo-dev] Lets Talk about Pharo Help tool

Torsten Bergmann astares at gmx.de
Tue Sep 10 08:26:14 EDT 2013

Kilon wrote on "Pharo dev-list"
>So my attention came to help tool, I think I get how it works, I started
>making the documentation with it, questions is if there is anything more to
>it than the functionality I am seeing in the Help docs. Maybe a third party
>lib that adds more features ?
>Is there a plan to extend it ?

Some time ago I created the "old" in image help tool so one can easily access 
help directly from the image. It was accepted and integrated into the standard image.
It is usable and some projects/packages use it.

But since media is (by default) not yet that rich within Pharo and mostly people 
also would like to see the documentation on the web I created a successor 
called "PharoOnlineHelp". This also allows you to be more independent with your
docu from the help system itself.

The new help system:
 - is called "Pharo Online Help"
 - uses only a single "marker" pragma
 - supports markdown
 - can be viewed/served online
 - is not part of the standard image but can be easily loaded

How to use it:
 - take a fresh Pharo 2.0 image from http://files.pharo.org/platform
 - open the config browser (Tools -> ConfigurationBrowser)
 - select "PharoOnlineHelp" from the list and easily install it
 - now in menu "Help" you will find "Help server", click on "Start server" on the control panel
 - if you are on Windows you can click on "Browse" to open a browser, in any other case go to http://localhost:8080
   with your web browser

You can now click and browse the available docu that is in the image. It also has an API help
and links to most Pharo resources.

If you want to extend the "Intro" tutorial section for instance with a "Native Boost" tutorial
you can:

 - create an own class as subclass of Object in your own package
 - implement a class side message with a pragma #onlineTutorial

         nativeBoostTutorialOn: aBuilder

	      (aBuilder tutorial: #'Introduction to NativeBoost')
		description: 'An overview and introduction to the Native boost interface';
		addLesson: ...

 - see class "PharoTutorial" for an example or this picture: http://lists.gforge.inria.fr/pipermail/pharo-project/attachments/20130224/90f2b83d/attachment.png

NOTE: the tutorials are written in Markdown, so you can:

 - write a blog post or website with a tutorial and later aggregate it/link to it in Pharo online help
 - use and embed rich media like youtube videos, web pages, ...
 - use Markdown editors like http://dillinger.io/ to write the docu 

Hope this will answer your questions. You can use the old help but I would rather
like people to see jumping to the new online help.


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