Introduction

Application Tips at Startup makes it easy to add "tips at startup" functionaility to your client applications. Tips files are XML based and allow for advanced formatting using the RTF format. A Windows Forms tip editor is also included to make editing tip files easy.

Notes

This is a very simple to use library for adding the popular tips at startup to your Windows Client application. The library itself is a very small DLL that depends only on the .Net Framework v2.0. Application Tip files are stored as XML as distributed with your application. The XML tip files can be edited with the included Application Tip Editor (which also serves as an example for how to use the library).

Tips consist of a tip heading and tip content and a configurable display order. The tip content is stored as Rich Text and is fully formatted to improve the quality and readability of your tips. You can even ebed images into your tips!

Common Usage

The following examples are all in VB, but the library is fully Common Language Specification (CLS) compliant making the library accessible to all .Net langauges.
Example 1 - Basic usage - default settings
The following VB code instantiates the TipManager class (the entry point for the library) and displays the next tip in window.

Using manager As New TipManager(tipFileNameandPath)
    manager.ShowApplicationTip()
End Using
This will open the following example dialog:

TipAtStartupWindow.png
Example 2 - Basic usage - show a tip at random
The following VB code is identical to the previous code except that it specifies the TipManager to display a tip at random rather than following the predetermined display order (which is determined in the Tip Editor application).

Using manager As New TipManager(tipFileNameandPath, TipDisplayMethod.Random)
    manager.ShowApplicationTip()
End Using
Example 3 - Common scenario - save the user's preference to show tips at startup
The following VB code is similar to the above but preserves the user's preference to show tips at startup which is presented to the user as a checkbox (see above screen shot).

Using manager As New TipManager(tipFileNameandPath)
    manager.ShowApplicationTip()
    My.Settings.ShowTipsAtStartup = manager.ShowTipsAtStartup
End Using

Application Tip Editor

A basic tip editor is also included to facilitate the creation of application tip XML files. This is a very simple to use application. The source for the application also demonstrates how to use the ApplicationTips library.
Tip Editor View
The screenshot below shows the main view of the tip editor. This view allows for direct editing of tips. You can copy and paste from more advanced editors such as WordPad.

TipEditorMainWindow.png
Display Order View
This screen shot demonstrates the Display Order view which allows you to set the order for the display of each tip. By default the display order will be the order tips are added to the file, but you can change this using this view. When editing the display order for a tip, the other tips will automatically adjust to maintain the integrity of the overall display order.

TipEditorDisplayOrderTab.png

Last edited Feb 13, 2010 at 3:53 PM by yorkmichael, version 12