Reported by Michael Reisecker, Aug 28, 2020
This has caused some confusion for users. - Is it safe to make the dropdown editable, so that users can enter their own working directory? - It should be documented; I'm just not sure if it better fits the user guide or dev guide (since it's in a bit of a limbo state being a static element in an otherwise XML-defined area).
Comment 1 by Mathias Bavay, Aug 29, 2020
It could be user-editable, although I hope that the current two options would cover the vast majority of cases. On the other hand, for most users the whole concept of a working directory is a complete mystery... which is tough on us since it is very important (otherwise the simulations just don't run: without doing it, none of the Snowpack examples could run). Or maybe we should have a "?" button next to it to open an information window that would explain in details the concept?
Comment 2 by Michael Reisecker, Aug 29, 2020
Some improvements were made with commit f3dd4c7. Being able to change the path was suggested by Chris who keeps multiple installations of snowpack. The documentation via your suggested help button is rudimentary and uses the already available context help (opening the help file and flashing the appropriate frame). (There's also an annoying Qt (?) bug where flashing the frame will only work once - no idea why, the calls are identical.) I'm happy enough with this so I'm closing the issue, but obviously this solution is not ideal (mainly because opening the help file will close the application).
Comment 3 by Michael Reisecker, Sep 1, 2020
Idea: In the future if it's worth it we could have an oldschool context help: the user clicks on "Help" in the menu, the cursor changes to <-? and we get the object the user clicks on or hovers over. Instead of triggering the mouse click action a tooltip-like (but extended) window would appear showing the context help. This help could be injected from help.xml - either an already existing node or an unrelated one that doesn't show in the user guide (but is in the xml, or an included one). We could give the objects properties with their related help tag to connect it with XML nodes. Essentially, we would replace tooltips with a good help browser with links and everything. Haven't used it in ages but I think Eclipse does this for error messages (and e. g. includes a "copy" button). Sounds complicated but is probably quite doable; the window would house a Group object to build the XML node into as usual. Only of course, if users are totally confused everywhere and don't want to read the existing doc (they don't), which surely also needs an overhaul. Currently by the way there's an annoyance: When the user clicks on "help" while not being in the Applications tab, they are not notified that the help has in fact been opened. Not sure I should commit in the middle of a release, so reopening the ticket until this has been addressed...
Comment 4 by Mathias Bavay, Sep 1, 2020
Yes, I think the current help concept is not very convenient. I think that keeping the same idea (that the help is defined in xml files) but opening the help in a separate window (that would have the same rendering component) could be a possible improvement: then the user would not lose his/her simulation and could even keep the help open next to the current simulation. Obviously, this will wait for after the release!
Comment 5 by Michael Reisecker, Jan 29, 2021
Context help was fixed in commit c16ea84e (should also bring a performance improvement!). For the two occasions we currently use it (help from the Preview, and the working dir help button) this should be enough for now. The help system is currently being reworked and a separate task - closing this issue.