8 - Documentation

8.1 - Placing the documentation on your system

You can locate the documentation on your local hard drive, out on a local area network, or elect to use it directly from the CDROM, if your package includes a CDROM or you have created a CDROM from the EDP package. See the documentation in the help section on Help Location for details on how to relocate the help. Since the entire help system is many megabytes in size, this issue should be considered carefully.

8.2 - How To Use The Documentation

This document has been prepared using standard HTML, CSS and Javascript. This allows us to maintain it using tools that address web standards, rather than proprietary "help" tools. It also adds a great deal of general flexibility to the document itself.

When the documentation was prepared, we kept the width of the browser at 800 pixels, with the viewable portion at 765 pixels; in most cases, a narrower width will be just fine, but you'll probably find that an 800 wide browser results in the most readable presentation, image spacing and so forth. You can use the 765 pixel ruler here to set your browser window to the correct width; accounting for the left margin in Explorer, we see the ruler cut off at 760 pixels by the right hand scroll bar. This may be slightly different in other browsers:


Exact design width of viewable pane in browser

The best way to use the documentation is by opening it to the 800 wide display as described above, and then using Alt-TAB to instantly switch between the application and the documentation. (This is done by pressing, and holding, the ALT key, then tapping the TAB key once... try it, it's easy!)

In the documentation, you will encounter the phrases "described above" and "described below." These phrases indicate that the referenced material is present in the same document where the phrase occurs, either previously (scroll up), or further on (scroll down), respectively.

If the information is contained within another document, the phrases "see:" and "see also:", along with a hyperlink, will cue you to that fact.

Within the documentation, you will find several types of special blocks as follows:

 Tip:

Information in this block is a tip, designed to help you get more use, or better understanding, out of the issue under discussion.

 Key:

These blocks contain extended definitions for specialized terms that you will encounter in the subject where the key is placed. The glossary is used when terms are generally found throughout the documentation, and keys are used where the information is very specific to the subject at hand.

 Note:

Information in this block is a note. It is intended to make you aware of an issue that significantly affects the use or understanding of a feature or situation.

 Warning:

Information in this block is a warning. The contents of these blocks present information that is intended to keep you from having known types of problems with the software, the operating system, your data (image files, typically) and your computer.

At the top and bottom of each page is the "Quick Navigation" bar, which always contains links to the Table of Contents, the Index, and the Glossary. In addition, it may contain "Next" and "Previous" links which facilitate moving through specific topics. If the page you are on is one that is subordinate to a higher level page, then a "Parent" link will allow you immediate access back to the parent page.

We welcome suggestions, tutorials, tips, tricks and of course corrections to the documentation. We will add these as we receive them. We want to hear about everything: Looking for something in the index and it's not there? Tell us, and the next update to the documentation, it will be. Anything we missed, we want to know. Really! Send them here:

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 Note: You should remain aware that all submitted information becomes the property of Black Belt Systems. Do not submit any text, image data or procedural data that you do not wish to become the property of Black Belt Systems.

Beginning with WinImages R5, any updates we create to the current version's documentation will be made available on http://www.blackbeltsystems.com/ so that you can retrieve the most up to date version at any time. It is our intention to post maintenance updates to this on an as-needed basis. To find the latest update, see the FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on the site, linked from the site banners.

8.3 - The Need for Printed Documentation

We recognize that some users will require printed documentation for either offline reference, or because of a lack of available display area, which makes it more difficult to see the documentation without having to hit Alt-TAB (Note that Alt-TAB is significantly less effort and strain than looking down at a physical desktop, but...)

The mechanism available to the end-user is to print the section of the document that you require on an as-needed basis. Open it in the HTML browser, go to the section you want hard copy for, and select print. Only the section currently loaded in the browser will print, although this may result in many printed pages.

 Warning: We strongly suggest that you do not embark upon a quest to print the entire documentation set, for two important reasons:

First, the documentation may change, and in that case, updates are right here on the web. If you print the documentation you have at the moment, it could soon be out of date as we update the content, at the very least not complete and worse yet, also increasingly inaccurate as the software evolves.

Secondly, the entire documentation set is quite large, representing over 500 printed pages in terms of vertical space (or even many more, depending on how your browser breaks printed pages that contain images... in the worst case, you could end up with over 1200 pages!) The documentation also contains considerably more than 500 images which will consume a great deal of ink or toner. The entire printing job will consume enormous amounts of all printer resources (time, ink or toner, paper, life cycles, network bandwidth).

8.4 - Why online documents?

Black Belt Systems supports the idea that online documentation can be better than printed documentation, if the following criteria are met:

  • The documentation has the usual components, including index and glossary, and...
  • ...it can be read in an orderly fashion, like a book, and...
  • ...any portion of it can be printed for offline reference...
  • ...and finally, if the medium is properly taken advantage of.

We have gone to a great deal of effort to try and ensure that our online documentation meets or exceeds these critical metrics.

We also feel that the following benefits of online documentation are all well worth having:

  • Online documents can hotlink out via the net, and from page to page or section
  • The environment benefits from less chemical processing of paper
  • Resources are conserved by reducing the need for additional wood pulp and chemicals
  • Pollution is reduced by reducing total weight transported
  • Resources are conserved by reducing fuel requirements
  • Cost savings are realized at all points in the production and purchasing chains
  • Storage requirements are considerably reduced
  • Updating documentation does not require the waste of all previous manuals, used or not
  • Any degree of change can be applied to online documentation at minimum cost
  • Online documentation can be designed so it is extensible by the end-user (and ours is!)
  • Reduction of warehousing requirements
  • Reduction of required end-user desk and shelf space
  • Guaranteed immediate accessibility when working with the software
  • Selective end-user printing conserves resources while addressing the need for occasional offline reference
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