In App Help in ERPNext

ERPNext gets an in-app Help feature. Check it out.

August 25, 2016

'I have scanned through the whole user manual, and I'm ready to dive into the system'. Said nobody. Ever.

The user isn't at fault. Using a system, while switching back and forth between the manual is a pain. Using a system such as an ERP, the user is bound to get lost among the functionalities available. While it is important to keep the software simple, a user manual usually helps clear things. But the user had to go to a search engine to get answers.

Not anymore!

From Version 7.1, the new Help option appears in the top right corner of the navigation bar. Here the user can now enter a search query and press enter.



The system will do a full text search in the ERPNext manual and show results:



The user can also browse the manual using the Documentation option.



He can navigate through the whole documentation without ever leaving ERPNext. Now, that's convenient.



The system also shows context based help links, based on the current page.



How it is implemented:

ERPNext already has a well documented User Manual. But it was hidden inside the docs folder and visible only on the website. So, we scanned through the docs folder and put the contents of the help file into a `help` table so that we can use the full text search of MySQL.

The tricky part was to make the hyperlinks work. As they were links to the actual documentation, it served as a query string for finding the document in the help table. So, we scraped our own files using BeautifulSoup, modified the links and after tackling some edge cases, it all worked well. Dive into the code if you are really interested :)

Looking forward to your feedback!
Faris Ansari
Faris Ansari
"Faris hacks UI at Frappe and is an Anime Fan. He is a man of few words and prefers that his code do all the talking"
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