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HELP VEDGETSYSFILE                          Mark Rubinstein, August 1985
HELP VEDGETSYSFILEPDR                         Updated A.Sloman Sept 1990

Browsing With Cross-References In Documentation And Library Files

and VEDPREVIOUSHELP provide a mechanism for browsing in documentation
files, with automatic access to cross referenced files in different
categories, including user-defined documentation categories.

         CONTENTS - (Use <ENTER> g to access required sections)

 -- Overview
 -- Procedures provided
 -- Formatting for cross references
 -- Using the facilities
 -- Mapping 'types' onto search procedures
 -- Cross references with search strings
 -- Extending the range of known file types
 -- For more information see

-- Overview -----------------------------------------------------------

POPLOG Provides a browsing facility based on the VED editor. It makes
use of:

    1. a convention for putting cross references into VED
       documentation and library files

    2. two procedures for finding cross references in the current file

    3. a procedure for accessing the files referenced

The mechanism assumes that files for online browsing fall into a number
of different categories, and that files in different categories are
invoked by different procedures. For instance, HELP files are invoked
by VED_HELP, TEACH files by VED_TEACH, library files by VED_SHOWLIB, and
so on.

Files in any category may reference files in any other category, using
this mechanism.

The accessing procedures are mapped onto keystrokes for convenience.
This enables HELP, TEACH, REF, DOC and program library files to be
accessed very simply by pointing at an item in the current file with the
VED cursor, then pressing a key sequence or function key.

When the new file has been read in, further cross references may be
accessed in the same way.

The files can be abandoned using <ESC> q (or <ENTER> q). The user is not
constrained to treat the files in a rigid last-in first-out fashion.
Normal VED mechanisms can be used for switching between the different

The mechanisms may be extended in user programs to provide a browsing
facility for user files.

-- Overview files -----------------------------------------------------

For each category of system documentation there are overview files,
described in HELP * DOCUMENTATION. Working down from these overview
files enables the documentation libraries to function partly like a
tree-structured menu-driven help system. But since all the accessed
files remain in the editor as ordinary VED buffers, the user is not
constrained to treat them as in a menu-tree.

-- Procedures provided ------------------------------------------------

The following procedures are available to drive the mechanism.

VEDNEXTHELP (usually invoked by  <ESC> n) finds the NEXT cross-reference
    in the current file - marked by an asterisk, as in HELP * CONTENTS.

VEDPREVIOUSHELP (usually invoked by <ESC> N) finds the PREVIOUS cross-
    reference in the current file - marked by an asterisk.

VEDGETSYSFILE (usually invoked by <ESC> h) reads in the documentation or
    programm library file so referenced. It uses the property
    VEDGETSYSFILEPDR which maps words indicating file categories onto
    access procedures. E.g. The category name "LIB" is mapped onto
    the procedure VED_SHOWLIB, the category name "HELP" onto VED_HELP.

    The default category is HELP.

-- Formatting for cross references ------------------------------------

The mechanism assumes formatting conventions for cross-references in
online files.

Each cross reference is of the form

    <doc-type> * file1 file2 file3 ...

The <doc-type> is optional. It is the name of a documentation category
e.g. HELP, TEACH, LIB, PLOGHELP, etc), and defaults to HELP if not

The asterisk is not essential - it is used only by the VEDNEXTHELP and
VEDPREVIOUSHELP facilities described above.

The <doc-type> (if present) will only affect files listed on the same

The file names may optionally be followed by "/" and a search string
indicating an item to be found in the file.

Examples of cross-references are:


Notice that the two files have the same name, but are in different
categories. <ESC> h on the first one will get a help file, on the
second a program library file, as if the user had typed:

    <ENTER> showlib helpfor

A <doc-type> may be followed by several files:


The default <doc-type> is HELP, as the following will show.


Examples using search strings:

    REF * VEDCOMMS/ved_g, HELP * ENTER_G/indexify

The effects of these cross-references may be explored by placing the
cursor on one of the asterisks (using <ESC> n or <ESC> N) then typing
<ESC> h (or invoking the procedure VEDGETSYSFILE). The appropriate
documentation or library file is then read in.

In REF files, identifier names are denoted by surrounding the name with
hyphens, e.g. -foo-. The procedure VEDGETSYSFILE ignores these hyphens,
which means you can use <ESC> h to locate the documentation for the

-- Using the facilities -----------------------------------------------

First find the required cross reference in the current file and put the
cursor on the asterisk if there is one, or immediately to the left of
the file name, e.g. at one of the locations indicated by ^:

         ^                      ^                    ^

Where an asterisk is present it may be located either using ordinary
cursor move keys or by means of VEDNEXTHELP (<ESC> n), which searches
down the file or VEDPREVIOUSHELP (<ESC> N) which searches up.

Then invoke VEDGETSYSFILE (<ESC> h). The appropriate library file will
then be found.

If there is no type specified then the type is assumed to be HELP. This
means that the cursor can be put immediately to the left of ANY word in
any file, and <ESC> h typed to see if there is a corresponding help
file. E.g. in a program file this can be done with a procedure name
to access the relevant help file.

-- Mapping 'types' onto search procedures -----------------------------

A file type for searching is indicated by a word which has a value
associated with it in the property VEDGETSYSFILEPDR. The value should be
either a procedure or the name of a procedure. For example, the
procedure might be VED_HELP or VED_TEACH or VED_SHOWLIB or a similar user
defined procedure.

Before VEDGETSYSFILE runs the procedure, it assigns the file name to
VEDARGUMENT. So if invoked with the cursor on the asterisk in


it behaves as if the user had given the VED command

    <ENTER> help vedgetsysfile

(If all the characters are the same case, they are mapped onto lower

-- Cross references with search strings -------------------------------

If the file name is followed by /<string> then <string> will be searched
for when the next file is set on screen.

For example use <ESC> n to move your cursor to the asterisks on the
lines below and then use <ESC> h to see what files you get.

    HELP * VALOF, *VEDVARS /vvedgotoplace, *NEWPROPERTY,
         *VEDPROCS /vedgetsysfile


-- Extending the range of known file types ----------------------------

Users can associate their own ved searching procedures type names in
*VEDGETSYSFILEPDR. For example, try

    ved_sourcefile -> vedgetsysfilepdr("SOURCE");

    SOURCE * vedgetsysfile

-- Further reading ----------------------------------------------------

The following should give more information

    HELP * DOCUMENTATION    - General overview of Poplog documentation
    HELP * DOC              - The DOC command
    HELP * HELP             - The HELP command
    HELP * REF              - The REF command
    HELP * TEACH            - The TEACH command
    HELP * SHOWLIB          - The SHOWLIB command
    HELP * VEDSEARCH        - Searching within a file
    HELP * VEDSYSFILE       - Explains how HELP, TEACH, etc work
    REF * VEDPROCS          - Complete list of VED procedures

--- C.all/help/vedgetsysfile
--- Copyright University of Sussex 1993. All rights reserved. ----------