Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Online help

Oh boy I’ve slacked. Sorry, but I’ve been very busy. I promise to keep writing, even though frequency is an issue at the moment with so many personal things going on.

Enough excuses, let’s talk about Online Help. Autodesk recently introduced an online version of the documentation for all 3 flavors of Revit. You can find direct links to them on this blog’s sidebar.

I tried using it this week to help a colleague through email by sending a link to a topic (Note Blocks). It’s very useful to have this tool, however it’s lacking an important piece of functionality: sharing the link easily! Unless I’m missing something, it seems very convoluted and can surely be improved a lot. Think about when you share a link from Google maps or Bing.

Right now you have to search for the topic and then find it in the contents. Since the last time I tried it, a new button showed up at the top-right (or I missed it the first time), which opens up the topic in the contents. So the typical workflow goes something like this:

  1. On the left, click Search
  2. Type the topic and click the Search button
  3. Select from the list and the topic opens on the right
  4. At the top right, click the button to open the topic in the contentsShowincontents
  5. Alternatively you can navigate to a topic directly from the contents.
But now what do you do? The easiest (relatively speaking) way I found is to right-click on the topic in the contents and open in a new tab or window, so you can then copy & paste the link/hyperlink into an email or document. But wait!! If you’re using IE7 (not sure about IE8), it seems to get into a vicious circle and it doesn’t finish opening the topic. So this seems to only be possible with other browsers such as Firefox. So instead when you right click, go to Properties and copy & paste the address shown at the bottom. In a world dominated by cool gadgets and the iPhone, this is not very elegant.



DoTheBIM said...

Happens in IE8 too. I posted this at "Inside the Factory"...

Dave Baldacchino said...

Thanks! I'm falling behind on my reading ;)

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