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Bug 17638 - Help window should display contents of currently open modal dialog
Summary: Help window should display contents of currently open modal dialog
Alias: None
Product: platform
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Help System (show other bugs)
Version: 3.x
Hardware: All All
: P4 blocker (vote)
Assignee: mslama
Keywords: UI
Depends on:
Blocks: 29448
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Reported: 2001-11-13 23:54 UTC by David-john Burrowes
Modified: 2008-12-22 19:48 UTC (History)
1 user (show)

See Also:
Exception Reporter:


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Description David-john Burrowes 2001-11-13 23:54:44 UTC
All of the participants in a recent usability study that opened the help window and then left it open had the window reappear and rearranged 
itself whenever a dialog box was opened.
Clearly, the intent was to make help visible to the user while they were using the dialog. This is a good idea, however in no instance during 
the study did the help window automatically show any information about the dialog that was just opened.

Recommendation: Any time a dialog is opened and the help window is positioned onscreen alongside it, automatically display information 
about the dialog in the help window.
Comment 1 Jan Chalupa 2001-11-27 17:24:26 UTC
Target milestone -> 3.3.1.
Comment 2 Marek Grummich 2002-07-22 11:46:32 UTC
Set target milestone to TBD
Comment 3 Marek Grummich 2002-07-22 11:49:41 UTC
Set target milestone to TBD
Comment 4 Jesse Glick 2002-07-29 19:44:19 UTC
Wrong component.
Comment 5 Jesse Glick 2002-10-18 21:38:45 UTC
You're as likely to work on these as I am not, I guess. I have no time for
core/javahelp development. Maybe you will at some point.
Comment 6 Jesse Glick 2003-09-23 16:01:43 UTC
More useful summary.
Comment 7 Patrick Keegan 2003-10-16 14:28:00 UTC
David John, I just wanted to check in with you to see if you've
thought any more about this issue. 

IMO, the enhancement you suggest would be useful in certain use cases
but a nuisance in others. I think it would work well if the IDE had a
concept of a permanent dynamic help window whose content changes
depending on context. See issue 35028, which asks for a window that
presents a changing set of help links based on context.

However, as the help system in the IDE is currently constituted, I
think having dynamically changing content could be infuriating.
Imagine the user who opens the help to accomplish a task that requires
the traversing of multiple dialogs, which I think is a fairly common
use case.

I don't think these two use cases are necessarily incompatible, but we
 need to reconcile them somehow and I'm very curious if you have any
ideas about this.
Comment 8 David-john Burrowes 2003-10-23 22:30:07 UTC
Well, actually the problem and solution I spoke of in the original
issue seem to have been more of a suggestion to improving that
particular situation in a small way.  Removing the floating help
window entirely would actually be a better solution to the problem
(but, less "incremental" :-)

The "real" problem here was just that the window would appear as if it
were saying something relevant, but it wasn't.  so, removing it from
saying anything at all is just as good as making it say something
relevant, I think.
Comment 9 mslama 2004-10-21 14:14:33 UTC
As JDK will provide us with way to exclude Help window from modal loop
Help window will not change its status (moving, closing, fronting)
when modal dialog is opened/closed. I think if user opens any dialog
or changes his context he can use F1 anytime to refresh/change context
in Help window and front Help window. I do not like idea to
automaticaly change content of Help window according user context in
IDE (or in other words according to what is user doing). It might be
appropriate in some moment but I think it is harmfull in more cases.

See for example issue #41378 (and there is more similar) It is result
of current workaround to keep Help window enabled when modal dialog is
poened. (Workaround is to change owner of Help window to modal dialog
- it keep Help window enabled but has many annoying side effects.)
Closing this as WONTFIX.