A few changes were made today, but due to an early appointment with the blood letter in the morning, this devlog post will be short and sweet and more to the point than they usually are when I say they’re going to be short, but really they’re not.
That’s not a very auspicious start, but they say that an image is worth a thousand words, so here’s one showing the biggest change made today.
If the measure of a good day’s work is the sheer number of lines of change that
git reports when you pull in the latest group of changes, then I really put in a hell of a lot of work today. On the other hand, if you measure it by the amount of effort that was put in, then that’s too bad because I want to feel better about everything that was done today.
Honestly though, even though the amount of time spent performing the change wasn’t that big, deciding how to go about it certainly took a bit of time.
Most of the code changes made for today are code cleanup and refactorings to get things tidy, which are not really work talking about in the general sense. I have to imagine that “I took some code that I used in two places and made it a function” is even less exciting than the things I would normally discuss in this devlog (if such is even possible).
So instead I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about some future changes that are going to happen in hyperhelp which may not get done during this Devember phase of the project.
Terrible Propellerheads puns notwithstanding, today’s changes are some visual tweaks to the menu items that appear for hyperhelp along with a few small structural changes and a bug fix. These changes encompass a little over an hour and a bit of work overall as I contemplated how exactly I wanted to structure things. I was going to do a bit more including some refactoring, but I forgot that this evening was a building party in my gated community, so time was at more of a premium than I had anticipated.
Back to the Future is my favorite movie of all time and I resisted the urge to name the new API method flux_capacitor (opting instead for the much more boring navigate_help_history), so I’m indulging myself with a little “witticism” and using that as the title for today’s devlog entry about the new ability of hyperhelp to allow you to skip backwards and forwards through your help history.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though.
I’m not sure why these days keep ending up so late, so please excuse the potential curtness of this devlog entry (I always think they’re going to be short but I can’t help but be verbose, even when I’m describing how I am verbose when I think I’m not going to be; sad, really). Tonight’s achievement is the inclusion of the ability to open external files and web URL’s from within a hyperhelp help document.
There is a nifty animated GIF after the fold that shows this off and everything (remember to click to view).
The goal for this evening was to make a few minor, easy changes and then get to work on one of the missing features: the ability to open up package files and URL’s from a help link. The second minor change that I embarked on ended up taking me down a rabbit hole of the most ironic proportions, and so as a result I only got a couple of things done and not nearly what was on my list.
That’s just the way it goes sometimes, though.
As much as I would like to put this off for just one more day, today I finally got into some serious usage of the package and tools that I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks (or longer if you count that this is a re-working of a previous re-working of an initial prototype) to get a better sense for what needs to be added apart from the things that I already know are missing.
This being Devember, I had to squeeze a little actual development into the mix to fulfill my quota for the day, and so in that regard I have reworked the code from last night to be less brittle.
What started as the simple notion to finish off the last immediately planned help authoring function (adding a stub help system to an existing package) ended up being slightly more epic than I originally intended it to be. That’s not to say that the code for doing this was overly complex, but I bumped into something I’d heard mentioned in passing and spent some time trying to verify how best to proceed.
In the end I was victorious, though. Perhaps doubly so, if you count that if I had finished this as easily as I originally intended to, I would have had to sit and write some actual help finally. So, that was a pretty close call.
It’s almost the half way point of this year’s Devember project and I think some significant progress is being made. Today’s coding session includes twelve commits and a useful enough set of help authoring commands to actually make editing help files not a chore. Of course, twelve commits is not really all that much in the grand scheme of things since I tend to commit like a mad fiend in order to better track changes that are in progress, but you can’t argue with progress.
For tonight, an overview of what is now possible with the integrated help authoring tools.