[fpc-devel] fpdoc and fv

Michael Schnell mschnell at lumino.de
Mon Aug 25 12:36:34 CEST 2008

> Do you mean the fact that an external browser is started or the fpdoc html pages
> or the wiki pages?
> The search functions are bad in all three of them.
I did not want to start a long winded discussion here :(
IMHO the context-sensitive online-help (in Lazarus) is simply not usable 
(while the context-sensitive help in (also free of charge) Turbo-Delphi 
is not perfect but a lot better).
 - You should get a decent result when hitting F1 on any keyword (of the 
language, the RTL or the LCL: language-keyword, type, class, function, 
procedure, property, public variable, variable, ...)
 - there should be examples for the use of the topic
 - there should be cross references to related and to similar topics
 - ... :)
> Yes, Delphi had always a very good help with lots of examples.
> Writing a good help is a lot of work.
> FPC and Lazarus have more than 200.000 identifiers in more than 1000 units.
With Lazarus it would be best if the Delphi help could be linked in by 
the users (of course it can't be shipped :) ). This could be used as a 
nice starter and everybody can obtain it legally with Turbo Delphi, 
unless he is  a legal Delphi owner anyway.
> The online help already uses the wiki for the IDE windows and dialogs. You are
> all welcome to help improve the pages with examples that newbies understand.
If this is not included in the context-sensitive online-help this is no 
fun at all ;) .
> For the source documentation fpdoc is used and the fpdoc editor is one click
> away. So every user can edit the help ad hoc. The only problem is to create a
> patch and send it. Maybe someone can write a gui tool for creating patches to
> make this easier.
Yep. Does the system support multiple languages ?
> A wiki for the source documentation is a bad idea, because of the
> update/rename/delete issues.
Seems like you are right here. But regarding the translations this might 
be not as critical as with the original text.
> What 'context-sensitivity' needs improvement? F1 is context sensitive.
Right, but in many (or most) cases it does not work. It seems (much more 
than the Delphi help) to try to prevent offering a topic that is not the 
correct one, so it seems to analyze the context of the word under the 
cursor. That means it only works if the source code already is quite 
correct (which the user often only can do after reading the help, so we 
have a deadlock, so that is a very bad idea, IMHO).

In Delphi I simply type a word (i.e. "TForm") in an empty line and press 
F1 to get help on TForm. This is the usual way I learn about new 
components I'd like to use. This does not seem to work for me in Lazarus.


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