VFPUtils Article By: M. Asherman

  | Bottom | Unframe | Help |

VFPMisc Tasks

Locate in Contents | (framed)

Locate in Discussion | (framed) 

Date Done
refinements to edited Contents page layouts
Make the following global change to all forum Contents pages in the VFPUtils subweb:
  • combine Task list links into a single line
  • also supply a link to Task Details
  • include forum name in each subsection header
  • massage headings for conciseness and consistency
(not done)
provide links to expanded IdeaXchg help information
Supply working Help links in all types of VFPUtils pages, pointing to generic IdeaXchg Help content where appropriate.  Augment with forum-specific help as needed, but try to maximize utilization of generic help by suitable modularization.

Also include references to the developer-oriented help pages explaining how to use the template components to create new forums, subwebs, and sites.  Remember to carry over the latest refinements in the VFPUtils subweb to the root IdeaXchg web and the template web.  These webs should adhere to a consistent architecture, which should be demonstrated and documented in the public IdeaXchg web.

As of the new global IdeaXchg framing conventions and related cleanups, all of the existing forums followed a consistent design, described by the IdeaXchg forum templates.  Additional links to generic Help pages, when they come into existence, still need to be provided.

(This task was previously mentioned in xfma0023, but it's really a general IdeaXchg/ VFPUtils issue.)

(not done)
refinements to discussion area Search pages
The discussion Search pages currently have only a bare submission form, but no help or inline explanation; both should be supplied.  There should be a direct link between each discussion Search page and the main Search page for edited content.  Some explanation and examples should be provided, including a reference to relevant categories and keywords.  (Also see refinements for categorization of tasks.)

(This task was previously mentioned in xfma0044, but it's really a general IdeaXchg/VFPUtils issue.)

(not done)
VFPUtils main Search page
Create a FrontPage search form for edited content in the main VFPUtils subweb (ix07).  (There already exist search pages for the discussion areas under the ix08 subweb.)  The new Search link should be worked into various navigation bars for forum Contents pages, article headers, and the home page.  Include a very brief standard blurb about search syntax, and a link to expanded generic help about searching.  Also supply information about keyword conventions, and links to discussion search forms.

This task was previously mentioned in xfma0021, but it's really a general VFPUtils issue.  This is a subtask of  ixma0016, main search pages for edited content areas.

(not done)
metafile-based representation of HTML Help files
Introduce a metafile-based mechanism for creating and maintaining VFP application help files, as an alternative to manual use of FrontPage and HTML Help Workshop.  Using VFP tables to store help text and parent-child relationships, etc. would make it possible to generate TOC outlines for both the web and the HTML Help file automatically from a single primary source.  These metafiles could also be used to generate the individual help pages, including additional navigation and sub-TOC features.  (Compare with previous similar work on ibb1.)  Another potential benefit of an underlying metafile representation is that it could support in-context help authoring facilities for application development.

(This idea was previously mentioned in xfma0019, but it's really a general VFP Help issue.)

(not done)
show date done for each entry in the outline of completed tasks
Currently, the Completed Tasks outline for each forum only shows the titles.  It should also display the date done, for convenience.  Otherwise, the user has to follow each link to see the date done in the detailed task description.  (This point was previously mentioned in xfma0025, but it's really a general task management issue.)
(not done)
refinements for categorizing tasks
Work out a scheme for attaching category keywords to tasks, which could be shown in the left column (under Taskid, Date Done, etc.).  This would be especially helpful for perusing larger task lists.  Also consider adding an outline of tasks by category, in addition to the primary lists of Outstanding and Completed tasks.  Bear in mind that a given task might be classified under multiple topic headings, which is one of the reasons I eliminated an earlier approach to categorization.

Category codes could be attached to each task description.  Maybe a separate page or subsection could give the full outline of categories and their corresponding codes.  These categories and their codes should also be useful for searching, posting, organizing content, etc.  The capabilities of the FrontPage Search component will, to some extent, dictate how category keys should be constructed: prefixes are more useful than suffixes, but only short prefixes seem to work with FrontPage's wild card searching.

(This task was originally defined as xfma0020, but it really should be regarded as a more general VFPUtils/IdeaXchg issue.)

(not done)
document how to support context-sensitive VFP application help
Create an article that explains how to implement context-sensitive HTML Help for a VFP application, following the approach I used in XFormDBF.  My conventions allow a single set of help pages to be incorporated into both a FrontPage web and a compiled HTML Help (.CHM) file, which can be distributed with the application.  Also by convention, every help page includes a link directly to a corresponding placeholder thread in the appropriate online discussion area.

(This task was originally defined as xfma0057, but it really should be regarded as a generic VFP/FrontPage issue.)

eliminate topical breakdowns in primary task lists
Simplify the organization of the lists of Outstanding Tasks for each of the VFPUtils forums.  I had previously outlined these lists into broad categories, e.g.:
  • VFP programming
  • developer documentation
  • application help
  • web design
  • etc.

Eliminate such a breakdowns of the primary task list, because it interferes with prioritization, and needlessly complicates matters.  If it becomes necessary to add a topical outline of outstanding tasks, e.g. because the list becomes large, it would be better to add a separate topical outline organized by subject (see vmma0007), while retaining the primary outline as a flat list ordered by priority.

refinements to edited Contents for the VFPMisc forum
Introduce an outline of current discussion topics in the VFPMisc forum Contents page, along the same lines as done for the IdeaXchg Misc forumThis outline should be maintained regularly to reflect the current discussion's contents.  Also get rid of the Help subsection, since it is not needed for this forum.
new ErrHandler forum
Follow the same routine as used for the new Saver form to create the ErrHandler forum.  Use 'er' as the 2-letter abbreviation for this forum (under ix07), and 'd6' as the discussion area # (under ix08).  Rename template task list to mdav0010.htm.  Also supply an HTML article corresponding to the old notes and task list, errhandl.txt, as done for other apps.
new Saver forum
Follow the usual procedures to clone template files from ix03 into the VFPUtils subwebs, ix07 and ix08.  Also supply an article with old notes and task list for this application.  Populate the task list with issues of immediate interest, including those raised by Nadya on 7/12/00.  Adjust various other scattered Saver references to link to appropriate new forum pages, e.g. in the VFPUtils home page and XFormDBF Help - Related Facilities.
create remaining additional VFPUtils forums
Additional forums to be created include: Saver (done 7/21/00), ErrHandler (done 8/16/00), Commander (done 9/21/00), and Querier (done 9/21/00).

Note that the creation of this forum, VFPMisc, was recorded as a task under the IdeaXchg Forum, but further changes to the VFPUtils web site should now be covered here, in the VFPMisc Forum.

| Top | Unframe |


Copyright 2000- 2002, SpaceTime Systems