[vlc-devel] [Are you interested?] Smart Help Centre

Roiy Shpaner roiy at cs.umanitoba.ca
Tue Apr 30 22:33:56 CEST 2013

Hi All,


VLC does not currently have an in-app help section. In fact, it is even hard
to find an online page that contains updated explanations all of the
features in this huge piece of software.

That said, I've created a VLC "Smart Help Centre" for an Intelligent Systems
graduate course.

The idea is to have a place inside VLC where new users can get
recommendations for features they should use, and then according to the
features they *actually* use, they get more advanced related functionalities

This hopefully eases the transition from novice to expert, and broadens the
usage scope of the average user (if they are like me, they had no idea of
all of the possibilities of VLC).

Advanced and expert users will be able to see even more features (hopefully
in the future sorted with categories as well). Also, it is possible to
switch to "normal" help mode, and view all features information regardless.

It is fully functional right now, but I wanted to see if there is interest
in adding this to official version before improving the infrastructure,
clearing up the code and submitting.


You can check out how it looks in: http://imgur.com/a/KO7TS#0



The feature list is hardcoded right now, and user / dynamic feature data is
saved in the vlc-qt-interface.ini file at the moment. I've prepared help
information for 10 features.

A challenge left to tackle is where and how to place individual "hooks" to
increment feature usage counter:

The help centre is based around the idea of tracking what features were
used, so a way is needed to pinpoint each feature's unique call point, and
increment the counter from anywhere in the code.

The values of what makes a user "Advanced" or "Expert" are set arbitrarily
right now (at user familiarity with 4 features and 10 features accordingly),
so that may need changing.

The features' information is hardcoded and saved as HTML text in

I think a search functionality would be very beneficial as well, but that
can be added later on.


Anyway, I wanted to see if this is an addition you will be interested in,
and I'll be happy to read any comments or questions.




Roiy Shpaner

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