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How To Choose Between Eclipse Help and Cheat Sheets

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How To Choose Between Eclipse Help and Cheat Sheets

· Java Zone
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Which one is better for your documentation needs, Eclipse Help or Cheat Sheets? Have you ever gotten into this discussion with your boss or teammates? Depending on the task, domain and business at hand, it can be tricky to choose between Cheat Sheet and Help. I'm not really sure how widely cheat sheets are used, but I've used them in a couple of projects, and customers love them. It's actually pretty easy to decide what goes into Cheat Sheets if we follow a task based approach.

Below are a few hints and tips I use to decide when to use Help and when to use Cheat Sheets.

Cheat Sheets :

  • Guide the user through a specific task
  • Hand-hold the user in a step-by-step manner
  • Assist when there is dynamic data to be filled-in
  • Context involves "driving" the Eclipse environment like …
    • Invoking a wizard
    • Completing data entry in multiple wizard pages
    • Use a search criteria to get data from database, do data/wizard validations
    • Invoking a view, etc…

Help Content :

  • Explain theory or background for your system/modules
  • Provide reference documentation for specific views, perspectives, etc.
  • Describe intended content or enumerate allowed values for a wizard or action
  • DO NOT describe steps to accomplish a complex task in Help (there's a good chance users will ignore it.) Instead, use a Cheat Sheet.

If you follow the above hints, you may find there is less confusion about which form of help to use when. I hope many of you have used both help and cheat sheets in combination, and I'd love to hear about your experiences.

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