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Artifact 4cf3d82143be5ff09e63c9ad040eb7b6017cb990:

[comment {-*- tcl -*- doctools manpage}]
[include parts/]
[manpage_begin [vset LABEL_HELPFORMATS] [vset MAN_SECTION] [vset PROJ_VERSION]]
[include parts/]
[require cmdr::help]
[titledesc [vset TITLE_DEV_HF]]
[include parts/]

This document describes the API expected of [term {help formats}]
to make them usable within the [vset PTITLE] framework, and how to
write a custom help format.

[para] Readers interested in the standard help formats of the
framework should read [term [vset TITLE_HELP]].

[section Background]

Help formats are [vset PTITLE]'s way of converting in-memory
information about a command hierarchy into something usable for human
consumption and obviating the need for writing separate documentation,
which may easily get out of sync with the specification.

[para] The system was made extensible for while the standard formats
listed in [term [vset TITLE_HELP]] should cover the common cases, and
the json format of [term [vset TITLE_HELP_JSON]] is a general export,
it is always possible to run into unprediced non-standard situations
not covered as is.

[section API]

For the framework to automatically pick up a new help format
[const foo] the package implementing it has to specify a single
command [cmd ::cmdr::help::format::<[var foo]>], and this package has
to be loaded before the command hierarchy you want to use it for is

[para] In more detail:

[list_begin definitions]

[comment {- - -- --- ----- -------- -------------}]
[call [cmd ::cmdr::help::format::<foo>] [arg root] [arg width] [arg help]]

This command, having access to the root actor of a command hierarchy,
the number of columns to format the help towards, and a help data
structure itself, has to return a string, the formatted help generated
from the arguments.

[list_begin arguments]
[arg_def cmdr::officer root]
The root officer of the command hierarchy.

With the exception of [const by-category] the standard formats do not
use this argument. By providing it the format has access to the
toplevel common blocks, allowing for the transfer of custom
information from the specifiction to the format.

[para] [const by-category] for example looks for and uses the block
[const *category-order*] for when the user wishes to override the
natural (alphabetical) order of display for the toplevel sections.

[arg_def integer width]
The number of columns to format the help towards.

[arg_def dictionary help]
A dictonary holding the help information to format. For more details
see section [sectref {Help Dictionary}].


[comment {- - -- --- ----- -------- -------------}]

[section {Help Dictionary}]
[include parts/]

[section Example]

As an example the implementation of the standard help format
[const list] is shown here.

[example {
# Entrypoint
proc ::cmdr::help::format::list {root width help} {
    set result {}
    dict for {cmd desc} $help {
	lappend result [List $width $cmd $desc]
    return [join $result \n]

# Main work procedure for commands
proc ::cmdr::help::format::List {width name command} {
    dict with command {} ; # -> desc, options, arguments, parameters

    # Short line.
    lappend lines \
	[string trimright \
	     "    [join $name] [HasOptions $options][Arguments $arguments $parameters]"]
    return [join $lines \n]

# Support procedures
proc ::cmdr::help::format::HasOptions {options} {
    if {[dict size $options]} {
	return "\[OPTIONS\] "
    } else {
	return {}

proc ::cmdr::help::format::Arguments {arguments parameters} {
    set result {}
    foreach a $arguments {
	set v [dict get $parameters $a]
	dict with v {} ; # -> code, desc, label
	switch -exact -- $code {
	    +  { set text "<$label>" }
	    ?  { set text "\[<${label}>\]" }
	    +* { set text "<${label}>..." }
	    ?* { set text "\[<${label}>...\]" }
	lappend result $text
    return [join $result]

[include parts/]