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Adding context sensitive support to your application using ScreenSteps

Many customers ask about using ScreenSteps to add context sensitive support to their application. The simple answer is, "yes", but it does require some work from your end.

Options for pulling in context sensitive help

There are two options for adding context sensitive help:

  1. Making the context sensitive help dynamic. This means that after you make the initial setup in your application, the actual articles you return to the user can be controlled from within ScreenSteps without having to reprogram your application. For this approach you would "tag" your articles based on the various "contexts" of your application.
  2. Making the context sensitive help static. In this approach you hard code into your application links to specific manuals, chapters or articles in ScreenSteps.

Dynamic context sensitive help

Requirements

ScreenSteps needs to know what "context" you want to retrieve when using dynamic context sensitive help. The workflow is as follows:

  1. Your application makes a query to ScreenSteps (using our API), searching for a specific tag
  2. ScreenSteps returns a list of all articles that have that tag
  3. You display a list of results back to the user

Letting ScreenSteps know the which articles you want

When you load a page of your application you need to let ScreenSteps know which tag you want to retrieve. Usually you would do the following:

  1. Create a controller in your application that is designed to request articles from ScreenSteps
  2. Add javascript to your application that identifies the "tag" that you want to retrieve from ScreenSteps
  3. When a user clicks on the context sensitive help button you would grab the "tag" from the page, make a request to your controller and then display the results to your user.

Optionally you can also add a search box that would allow the user to search your ScreenSteps content.

Static context sensitive help

For static context sensitive help all you need to do is insert a URL into your application's UI that points to your ScreenSteps help content. For example, you might insert the following URLs:

  • a URL to a ScreenSteps search page for a specific tag
  • a URL to ScreenSteps manual
  • a URL to a specific ScreenSteps article

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