Roadmap for HelpXplain

HelpXplain is the exciting new animated infographics and screencast tool that integrates with Help+Manual.

Moderators: Alexander Halser, Tim Green

Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:44 pm

HelpXplain is a brand new product, it's been three weeks only that we have released version 1.0.0 and we are already working on the first feature update.

A lot of questions have come up in the last three weeks. If we plan to implement this or that feature. We thought about a lot of features that are yet not available when designing the general architecture of HelpXplain. Many features made it into the first release and I think that it is pretty complete for a version 1.0, but some things had to give.

Here's a rough guide of things we had thought about, that are yet not available and which we plan to implement sooner or later....

1) Animated Spotlights - this is a new kind of shape object that comes with version 1.0.2
See a demo here: https://www.helpandmanual.com/news/2019 ... elpxplain/
Implemented with v1.0.2

2) Delay before advancing a slide to the next one (after exit animations are done)
Implemented with v1.0.3

3) Audio support: general background audio and one or more voice-overs per slide.
Implemented with v1.1.0

These first three items are on top of the wish list. But the list goes on, here are more items in no particular order:

4) Multiple animations per object, both for slide entry and exit

5) On-click animations: we currently have entry and exit animations, but the design allows for animations that are played after user interaction as well. This can be done with JavaScript, but that's of course not very comfortable. When thinking about audio objects, I wish to be able to animate them not just automatically at slide entry, but perhaps depending on user interactions.

6) Timeline - a control to better manage the timing of animations, in particular with audio and with multiple animations.

7) A visual editor for animations, especially move animations. It is tedious to specify the "move-by" pixels. And animations could not just be straight but alternatively follow a path.

8 ) Video objects - we mostly think about YouTube video here. Maybe local video as well. Videos would be animated like audio objects.

9) Slide templates - a HelpXplain project can contain templates for new slides, very much like PowerPoint. They are yet not editable and pre-built-in. We'd like to have a template editor.

10) Favorites - a place to store objects or groups of objects for reuse.
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Olivier Beltrami » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:57 am

Hi Alexander,

I am really looking forward to Animated Spotlights. The demo was mouth-watering.
Would On-click animations include the expansion of a smaller image to full size (like the toggles of H&M ?

Very best regards,

Olivier
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:25 pm

On-click animations include the expansion of a smaller image to full size

Would be possible, why not. But you don't have to wait for this. It's already implemented:

Insert a picture, resize it to a thumbnail and assign a click interaction to it, that executes a script:
Code: Select all
xplain.animateTo(this, 1, {scale: 5}, 0)


This will enlarge the image that has been clicked. If you want to animate another object with this click, replace "this" with the object name (e.g. "image5" and put it into single quotes (do not use double quotes):
Code: Select all
xplain.animateTo('image5', 1, {scale: 5}, 0)


animte-picture.png


The following script not just expands the image, it toggles it by making it 5 times the size and back to normal on a second click:
Code: Select all
xplain.animateTo(this, 1, {scale: (this.expanded)?1:5}, 0);this.expanded=!this.expanded;


Check out this download example:
https://www.helpandmanual.com/download/ ... gle.xplain
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Rob Davis » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:28 am

Hi
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, please consider putting the .ipp import/convert into an early revision. While everyone else can't wait to play with new goodies, those of us with big existing projects want to change over quickly so we can go forward without creating yet more legacy stuff to deal with later.
Any chance?
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Lake Gil » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:30 am

Audio support: general background audio and one or more voice-overs per slide. Planned for Autumn 2019, we are going to implement audio objects, that are visible at design-time to make them editable. The audio objects will come with audio animations (play/pause/rewind), to have more freedom with the timing of audio.


So, when you say that you're going to implement audio objects, will we be able to add pre-recorded sound effects to, say, transitions and animations and so on?
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Tim Green » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:43 am

Hi Rob,

Rob Davis wrote:please consider putting the .ipp import/convert into an early revision.

That's not going to happen because HelpXplain and Impict are just two completely different worlds. You can continue to use Impict and your IPP creations, that isn't going to go away. But if you want to do something in HX your going to have to create something new. :?
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:35 am

Rob, what do your Impict images typically contain? It would probably be easier to implement a HelpXplain export into Impict than the other way around. Simple images and text objects could be converted nicely. Basic shapes as well. But everything else is really complicated.
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:42 am

add pre-recorded sound effects to, say, transitions and animations and so on?

I don't know. We've got to test, if animations with accompanying sound can work in the majority of browsers. Could be difficult to keep them in sync, for animations use a flexible timing, depending on the capabilities of the graphics engine. If an animation doesn't run as quickly as intended, the animation first skips frames. If that is not sufficient to finish in time, it adds duration time.
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Olivier Beltrami » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:02 pm

Thank you very much, Alexander.
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Rob Davis » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:11 pm

Regarding the possibility of a conversion Tool from .ipp to Xplain:

To Tim - I don't want to start any internal wars there, but Alexander said that a one-way conversion capability was already in the HelpXplain wish list :oops:

To Alexander - I would like to use the more sophisticated editing capability of Xplain to create and annotate our graphics.
For a start, we have lots of 'How To' items that frequently have numbered steps on the graphic, with explanations following in the text. These will be great candidates for Xplain animation.

We also have many, many simple screen captures overlaid with callouts - the very old ones were done in PowerPoint (ugh), then later in Impict.
Some were stored as .pngs, and have to be completely redone for updates.
Later ones were stored as .ipps, and we make heavy use of the ability to open the graphic from the H&M source, edit and put back.
(I regard using this as only slightly less significant than the discovery of the wheel).

Now, we are re-skinning our major applications, and a lot of screenshots and graphics have to be replaced. At the same time, we want to make the new annotations match our new skin - so the old color, shape, background and font may all need to be updated. Obviously, we want to have a common look-and-feel, and some form of 'Style' capability will be very valuable. A long time ago I asked for the ability to have some sort of 'Format Copy' for the elements in an ipp file, but that hasn't happened, AFAIK. So I was hoping that some of the Xplain features would help.
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:21 pm

one-way conversion capability was already in the HelpXplain wish list

This is correct. Emphasis on was. It turned out to be quite tricky. The two libraries are not compatible at all, we need an transfer format or write the naked XML code in Impict. Text objects and simple images should be fine. But we'll have to import (or export from Impict) many shapes as pictures.
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Tim Green » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:01 pm

Hi Rob,

Rob Davis wrote:To Tim - I don't want to start any internal wars there, but Alexander said that a one-way conversion capability was already in the HelpXplain wish list.

No problem, that was just something that passed me by during development. And knowing both tools intimately I know what a monstrous task conversion would be. So we'll have to see... 8)
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:21 pm

Alexander Halser wrote:1) Animated Spotlights - this is a new kind of shape object that comes with version 1.0.2
See a demo here: https://www.helpandmanual.com/news/2019 ... elpxplain/

Hi Alexander,

Do we have a date for this? If it's not too far away, I'm tempted to wait before making any more Xplains. :)

cheers,

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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Tim Green » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:07 am

Out now:

https://www.helpandmanual.com/download/ ... p-v102.exe

In addition to spotlight animations:

  • You can now define a pause after every animation
  • The screencast dialog after recording allows you to automatically insert a pause after every click action and a spotlight in every slide
  • New counter animation: displays an animated countdown or count-up over shape or text objects
Regards,
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Re: Roadmap for HelpXplain

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:27 pm

Tim Green wrote:Out now:

https://www.helpandmanual.com/download/ ... p-v102.exe

In addition to spotlight animations:

  • You can now define a pause after every animation
  • The screencast dialog after recording allows you to automatically insert a pause after every click action and a spotlight in every slide
  • New counter animation: displays an animated countdown or count-up over shape or text objects

Tim, Alexander, that's brilliant! :D

You pooh-pooh my suggestions, and then stay up all night to implement them! Better than I could have imagined! AND write the Help for them!

Many, many thanks. HX is now just perfect to Xplain complex software.

Everyone -- a round of applause please, for EC-Software! :D

cheers,

Martin.
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