Introduction to this hypertext documentation

This module describes some of the key features of the NG4.1 hypertext user documentation. This module does not explain much about how your browser presents information to you because there are many significant differences between the various browsers and even between different versions of the same browser. For detailed information about using your browser, use your browser's help feature.

Information modules are brief

Most of the modules in the NG4.1 user documentation are brief to avoid user fatigue from scrolling through large online files. Most modules deal with just one topic, which also improves their usability. Redundant information is avoided wherever possible: hypertext links allow relevant information to be accessed from anywhere in the system. This precludes the need to duplicate information. Finally, the links provided in the text and graphics have been planned to be as useful as possible to you; an excessive number of links and/or irrelevant links can interfere with comprehension of the material.

Orientation cues in color

The documentation for the three new interfaces to NCAR Graphics is divided into four parts. The NG4.1 preface files are visually coordinated for you with the color purple in the roadmap and in the control panels for each module. The Quick Start Guide is color-coded with green. The User Guide is color-coded with blue. The Reference Manual is color-coded with yellow. Through this color scheme, every module in the NG4.1 hypertext documentation provides cues to keep you oriented.

Navigation tools in every module

Every module offers a control panel at its beginning and end. These control panels allow you to move efficiently from one area of the information system to another. While this is advantageous in many ways, you might also become confused about where you are and where you came from. To minimize such confusion, we have provided color cues and roadmaps. (These navigation tools are discussed in the preceding paragraph.)

Navigation tools in your browser

You can also use the navigation tools available from your browser to help you move around the documentation. A "Back" button returns you to the module you were viewing prior to your currently displayed module. You can use this button repeatedly to retrace your path through the hypertext files. There is also a "Forward" button that becomes active after you use the Back button.

The Netscape browser has a "Go" menu that shows you a list of all the files you have visited; you can select a file directly from this list without having to repeatedly use the Back or Forward buttons. The Mosaic browser provides this same functionality in the "Navigate" menu, under "Window History."

An extremely useful tool provided by your browser is the "Bookmark" (Netscape) or the "Hotlist" (Mosaic). This feature allows you to record the location of any file with the click of a button: you can use this to keep track of modules that you will need to visit often. Netscape allows you to organize these locations under headings, and Mosaic records your selections chronologically (new locations are added to the bottom of the list).

Of course, you can create your own HTML document--a personalized "home page"--in which you can organize your favorite locations in ways that are most useful to you. Many people "publish" their home pages on the World Wide Web (WWW) to publicly express their creativity and individuality. For more information about the World Wide Web, you might find value in the WWW Frequently Asked Questions document.

Ongoing documentation updates

The NG4.1 documentation on the NCAR server is being continually updated. The files you are viewing on your local server were "frozen" at the time we wrote them onto the distribution medium (compact disk or magnetic tape). As of the 4.0 release, NCAR Graphics staff members were discussing ways to provide our customers with automatic updates of their local NG4.1 documentation files, but such a system has not been implemented as of the summer of 1995.

So if you want to check for a more up-to-date version of any file, add to the "Bookmarks" or "Hotlist" in your browser. Then visit our server for the most current documentation available.

Printing hardcopy

If you find that you use certain modules frequently, you may decide that it is worthwhile to print those modules. You can print any module using the "Print" function in your browser's "File" menu. This approach can be more convenient that having a complete hardcopy manual at your desk, but your printed modules may become outdated as the NG4.1 user documentation evolves. You can also print a copy of the latest documentation from NCAR's server specified in the preceding paragraph.

PostScript copies of fully-assembled NG4.1 user documents have been provided on the NCAR Graphics distribution. These are not designed as hardcopy manuals; they are concatenated, in table-of-contents order, from the hypertext files.

NCAR Graphics 4.1 Control Panel

NG 4.1 Home, Index, Examples, Glossary, Feedback, NG4.1 Contents, NG4.1 WhereAmI?

$Revision: 1.12 $ $Date: 1998/06/15 20:41:21 $