Panel-ready keyboard chart
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:50:47 AM
One of the basic help resources just never developed in Opera is a keyboard chart. So here's one, an HTML page intended for use as a panel. To install: store on hard drive, bookmark, and check "show in panel" box. To add info: with focus in panel, View menu / view source; edit; click Apply Changes.
You can, of course, check out the chart without installing; nothing changes when you put a webpage in the panel, except width. And after it is installed, you can get rid of it anytime by just deleting the bookmark. Here it is.
The ideal keyboard chart would be live - linked to the loaded keyboard file, and in fact serving as an interface for that: but even a manually-maintained chart is a big improvement on nothing.
It illustrates the point that because Opera can edit HTML, and use help components that are HTML, we have the opportunity to make what we need - and make it as sophisticated as we are moved to (this one exploits popups and intra-page links to pack a lot of information into a small area). It's not empty (some Windows info, some general Opera info, some 9.2-compatible keyboard info, and some info specific to my setup) - but it's the framework as much as the contents which I think may be of value: getting over the hump of putting together a usable system.
If you're well-versed in HTML, but have just never bothered to set up a chart - great; I don't need to tell you anything. So the following remarks are addressed to a hypothetical user wanting a decent keyboard chart and intrigued to put a foot in the HTML-editing ocean.
Remarks to hypothetical user
Basically, my idea is to give you the file and assume that you can see how it works - or Google your way out of perplexity, from the hints implicit in a working specimen.
Edit in sourceview. That's easy to reach: it's on the view menu. If focus is on the panel, clicking Source will open the panel page in a new tab. You can try out editing - play around, abuse the page - you're only modifying an image in cache, and can reload the page any time you like - can't damage what's on the My.Opera server.
If you then decide to use it, you need to save it locally (Save As HTML - it doesn't include images, so the others options aren't relevant) so that you can edit it, and bookmark the local copy so you can assign it to the panel. A good place for it (keeping paths short) would be a C:\HTML folder.
In addition to the basic work of setting up a table and a stylesheet, there are a couple of HTML techniques used here to put a lot of information a touch away. First is the use of titles - tooltips that popup on hover, and can be as long as you like. These are added to table cells, so that what needs to be displayed in the little box is only a reminder. The other is the use of secondary charts - reached by clicking links in cells, and dismissed by clicking "back to top" links on the secondary charts. So the basic chart doesn't need to be jampacked: it's a portal, an index - and there's unlimited space a tap away.
As an example of a nonobvious but when you think about it sensible expedient: having written the chart, you will have a pretty good idea of what information is in there, even if you can't remember just where. Ideally, it would be possible to do searches that included hidden text. It isn't, nominally: but sourceview is just a tap away, exposes everything, and is searchable. So: pop open source, search for the word you know is in there and you'll soon know where it was hiding. Another approach is to accrete an index by discovered need: every time you can't find something, put a pointer on an index at the bottom: search will find that. Keep that up, and all the knowledge gaps that trouble you will work their way into the system.
Similar informational sidebars
I've come across two that I found worth installing: