How Help Text Can Be Used

Once help text is defined in the Repository, it is automatically made available to your LANSA applications. For example, if help text is created for the Department field, this help text can be accessed from any screen or panel which has the Department field displayed. The field can be used for input or output. The user simply positions the cursor on the field and presses the help key. The active repository will generate and display the help text in the appropriate execution language (if a multilingual partition is being used).

The LANSA application can be IBM i-based (executing as a 5250 application) or the LANSA application can execute on the PC as a standalone or client/server application. The application might also be executed over the Internet as a Web application.

If you have created Windows applications with other development tools, these applications can access the LANSA help text. A PC application can display the LANSA help text in a message box simply by calling a single LANSA API (Application Program Interface). The same help text is now available to the application. This is another example of sharing information in the LANSA Repository.

Help text is an important part of the Repository definitions. Whenever you create a field, process, function, or form, you should immediately define help text for the item.

Even if you are not planning to build a LANSA-based application, it is important to remember that the help text can still be used by developers as documentation for the fields in the Repository. For example, technical help text will help document the field definitions. (Refer to $$TECH in How to Use Special Values.)