Yelp and PackageKit

2010-03-17

Mallard was designed from the beginning to make it easy for plugins to add pages into application help documents. This works really well in a lot of cases, but sometimes you want to mention extra functionality even when the plugin isn’t installed. And sometimes, extra functionality is provided by plugins to backend frameworks. A GStreamer plugin isn’t going to install Banshee help files, and a Telepathy plugin isn’t going to install Empathy help files.

So we have pages in the Empathy help that talk about using IRC. To use IRC in Empathy, you have to have telepathy-idle installed, and it turns out that some distros don’t install it by default. If the help just blindly assumes it’s installed, it just leaves the user confused. So we addressed this by adding a note like this:

This is somewhat helpful. The user at least knows why all those IRC options aren’t showing up. If he’s savvy, he’ll open his package manager and be chatting in no time. If not, he at least has something to Google for. But why not make it easier?

Click the link and you get this:

This is not a mockup. This is yelp-3-0. And it rocks.