Subscribe to this thread
Home - General / All posts - M9 online documentation
Peter Ronning
10 post(s)
#21-Jan-21 18:54

The online documentation for M9 is excellent and awful at the same time. Excellent because, whatever one may want to do, there's probably a detailed explanation in the documentation. Awful because it can be darned hard to find.

Navigating the system is the awful part for me. Suppose, for example, I want to find something about grids. I'll use the search tab and navigate to the grids topic. I find ninety-seven numbered links. OK, I start to work my way through them. I click on the first few and they don't look likely. Then I find one that looks like it might have something so I read through it. It doesn't give me quite what I need so I have to keep looking. I go back to the numbered list of links and "darn!", I've forgotten which was the last one I clicked on. The numbered links don't change colour once I've clicked them, so I can't see where I last clicked. So I make a guess, often wrong.

One little thing would make this a whole lot easier. Have the links I've already clicked change colour. This normally occurs on other web sites, so I assume the problem isn't in my browser settings (Opera).


1,980 post(s)
#21-Jan-21 19:06

Best way is to use a search engine. For example using DuckDuckGo search

grid site:

Aussie Nature Shots


6,436 post(s)
#22-Jan-21 05:16

You're overlooking two key points of advice for leveraging the documentation, which leads to unnecessary frustration.

Awful because it can be darned hard to find.

1) From near the beginning of the Read Me First topic:


Searching the Documentation

The best way to search the user manual is a search engine, like Google. If we are looking for previews, for example, launch Google and then in the search box enter:

    previews site: 

That will search for "previews" just within the user manual.


2) Don't attempt to learn by looking for words you think might be there, because without learning the basics first you don't know enough for efficient searches. "Grids" for example, is a word that appears in very many contexts: grid controls, table grids, grids of regular points, snap to grid, NTv2 grids, etc. It's more efficient to learn the basics first.

Read topics in order beginning with Read Me First all the way up through to the end of the Basics chapter. Take a break from reading from time to time to watch videos (see Read Me First) and to read/try out Examples topics, starting with the Introductory Examples chapter.

That sounds like a lot but it goes quickly if you just do it. That basic learning will provide a foundation that will make it much easier to find more advanced or specialized items later on.

Have the links I've already clicked change colour. This normally occurs on other web sites, so I assume the problem isn't in my browser settings (Opera).

If you mean text in topics, it's not the site. It's something in your browser settings. I've just tried it in Opera and links you've already visited change color. Same in Chrome and in the new Bing. If you mean the table of contents pane, no, those don't change (different control, see the same effect in many websites that use tables of contents, etc. For example, the top choices in the website don't change color if you click "News," "Free Viewer" etc.).

Peter Ronning
10 post(s)
#22-Jan-21 20:28

If you mean the table of contents pane ...

Yes, I meant the table of contents pane. To me it's just another pane on a web page, and I assumed that, as elsewhere, a link that has been activated should change colour. Too bad it doesn't work that way.


6,436 post(s)
#23-Jan-21 05:22

Too bad it doesn't work that way.

I can see your point, and I can see how that would help knowing what topics you've read or not, at least at first. But if it did that, Manifold would have a lot of people wondering why it doesn't follow web conventions. :-)

Not changing color for visited links in horizontal and vertical arrangements of menu links is pretty much the universal convention.

For example, the home page uses a horizontal row of links at the top of the page (Manifold does too). Visit one of them, and then when you come back you'll see the link for the page you visited has not changed color.

Likewise, visit Esri documentation online (for example, Georeferencing tools—ArcGIS Pro | Documentation ) and you'll see that when you visit topic links in the left hand columnar menu of links that thereafter those topic are not color-changed as having been visited.

Two more documentation examples: one from Microsoft: Joins (SQL Server) - SQL Server | Microsoft Docsand, from the FOSS side of the community, for PostgreSQL: PostgreSQL: Documentation: 13: PostgreSQL 13.1 Documentation - both follow the same convention.

In contrast, as always (and as with Manifold) the links you visit within a page are changed in color to indicate you've visited them.

I don't know the history of why that's become the convention for web pages. Perhaps way back when at the dawn of time it was felt that people go back and forth within navigational menus all the time, so those links should not change color, while in the course of reading free text within a page it is convenient to see those onward links already visited.

Manifold User Community Use Agreement Copyright (C) 2007-2019 Manifold Software Limited. All rights reserved.