Online Help and Internationalization

Tooltips and status tips

One solution to giving adequate information is to supply a printed manual; another is to provide a help system. Several possible approaches can be used to create a suitable online help system; we will mention them all, and show one of them. We will return to the Image Changer application introduced in Chapter 6, and in this chapter's first section we will show the implementation of the application's MainWindow.helpHelp() method, and how to provide an online help system.

Throughout the book, the applications shown have provided menu text, button text, labels, tips, and so on, in English. This is fine for the minority of the world's people who can read English, but not much use to those who speak the world's most widely spoken language, Mandarin Chinese, or to those who speak other major languages such as Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, or Japanese.

For an application to be as widely useable as possible, it must be accessible to non-English speakers. PyQt provides a toolchain for identifying user-visible strings and for making these strings available in the easy-to-use Qt Linguist GUI application that human translators can use to provide suitable translations. In this chapter's second section, we will discuss the translation tools and show how to use them. We will also present a new translation-aware version of the Image Changer application suitable for use with the translation tools.

Users may be able to use a very simple application just by reading its menu options and button texts. Other applications may require a little more information, and in these cases tooltips and status tips are an easy-to-program solution. But some applications are so complex or sophisticated that users may need more extensive help to understand what facilities are available to them, and how to use the applications.

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