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Re: Questions (was: Re: A Critique: Getting Started with GNUstep on Wind

From: Richard Frith-Macdonald
Subject: Re: Questions (was: Re: A Critique: Getting Started with GNUstep on Windows)
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2016 12:06:34 +0000

You wrote:

>- I would like to store, view, and search documentation offline,

I said:

> a. if Apple have changed to use a new format (or added a new format so you 
> can use both)
> b. If GNUstep-GUI has followed any change (normal policy is to try to retain 
> support for old API/format while adding support for new ones introduced by 
> Apple).

>From a quick look at the apple docs and the gnustep-gui source,
a. I'd say the old RTF support may have gone from Cocoa quite early on ... 
looks like they are using HTML now.
b. I think Apple dropped NSHelpPanel long ago (so it makes little sense to 
write RFT to be displayed there), and NSHelpManager, while using NSHelpPanel by 
default, is already be usable in GNUstep to launch any viewer app.

The positive take on this is that the field is wide open for you :-)

You can write/store documentation in any format you like, and NSHelpManager can 
launch an external app to view it when the user of an app wants online help.
That could be an existing app, and need not necessarily be a GNUstep app (since 
NSHelpManager could easily run a script which launches a non-GNUstep app as the 
It would make sense to use HTML as the viewable format, but to be realistic if 
you want to allow non-basic HTML, you would probably need a non-GNUstep app to 
view it.
I had a quick look at NSHelpManager, and currently if you have not set the user 
default to select/use an external viewer, it picks one using the 
[NSWorkspace-getBestAppInRole:forExtension:] method.

If you are a coder and *want* to implement builtin help in the GUI, you could 
write a version of NSHelpPanel which would display HTML rather than RTF/RTFD 
(and you could build search facilities into it), but if your concern is with 
the documentation itself rather than coding, then selecting an existing app to 
display it makes more sense.
Since NSHelpManager lets you use any external app, you are not limited; if you 
can find a good one, then simply providing an app wrappper for the non-GNUstep 
app would make it easy for people to use it.  Of course it would be nicer to 
have a builtin viewer or a GNUstep viewer app, but ther's nothing wrong with 
launching something like firefox to view documentation.

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