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Pattern for "context - sensitive help"

Premkumar N

Joined: Apr 21, 2001
Posts: 22
Hi All:
Would anyone please suggest a pattern that I could use in "context sensitive help"

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Cindy Glass
"The Hood"

Joined: Sep 29, 2000
Posts: 8521
The empathy pattern? - just kidding
How about the Strategy Pattern? The help provided would be based on the context.

"JavaRanch, where the deer and the Certified play" - David O'Meara
Premkumar N

Joined: Apr 21, 2001
Posts: 22
Hi Cindy:
Yea I would lookup Strategy for my "Context Sensitive help ..."
And.... thanks for your "empathy"
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter

Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

A context-sensitive help system constitutes an entire problem domain in its own right. I can't imagine trying to "solve" those issues with a single pattern.
Context can be derived any number of ways:
- By current screen only
- By user session command/navigation history
- Word matching
So first you have to decide either what you mean by context, or abstract the problem of context into a one-size-fits-all interface. No one has solved that problem generally. The two main types -- word-index (like Google) and subject-index (Yahoo!, wherewithal) -- both sides of the camp will probably tell you that effective return results and search time are opposing forces in both models.
It's coupling user action and help, not decoupling it, that's the real problem in this domain. Making a lightweight system on top of that -- no mean trick.
Premkumar N

Joined: Apr 21, 2001
Posts: 22
Hi Michael:
Thanks for further enlightening me regarding "Context Sensitive help".
Well though I ment the first scenario.. You've arroused my curiosity by listing the other options...
Would you please let me know about the "pattern-combination(s)" and some brief sumarry of "where to fit which pattern to make the combination effective" . I would be glad if you could let me know.. for option 1 and 2.
(I'm assuming that option-3 does not require any pattern)
Thanks for your help.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Pattern for "context - sensitive help"
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