[thelist] How to do nonlinear instructions?

Stephen Rider evolt_org at striderweb.com
Fri Nov 21 15:09:50 CST 2008

On Nov 21, 2008, at 12:52 PM, Matt Warden wrote:

> On Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 1:00 PM, Stephen Rider <evolt_org at striderweb.com 
> > wrote:
>> I'm trying to figure out a good way of doing instructions for
>> installation.  I have some already, but it's difficult to write them
>> well because of all the variables.
>> I sort of have an idea of a branching path, where it asks questions
>> and then gives you directions based on the answers, but short of
>> manually setting up about a hundred pages, I don't know how I would  
>> do
>> that.
> Stephen, this is a very interesting question... and difficult. I think
> your intuition is right. A wizard-like interface could work well. Your
> problem reminds me of the "choose your own adventure" books I read as
> a kid when I was supposed to be learning for the seventeenth time how
> to carry the 1.

LOL -- I came _very_ close to describing it as a "Choose Your Own  
Adventure interface", but I figured too many on the list wouldn't know  
the reference. :)

> I would
> assume there are commonalities. Maybe you have content -- like food
> ingredients in a kitchen -- that you throw into the resulting dish
> based on the user's answers to the wizard questions. Then at the end
> of the wizard you bake up the resulting amalgamation and dynamically
> produce the instruction sheet.
> Oh, you want to use MySQL? Well then I'll add in these 7 steps. You
> want multiple authors? Then I'll add in these 2 steps. Etc.

Maybe I could break out discrete chunks into files.  Each option  
chosen adds certain PHP files to an array, and then shoot down the  
array calling each step and echoing its content to a single page.   
(This is the DB wimp's version of Joel's suggestion...)

There are a lot of ways this could be done with a lot of custom DB  
work -- I'm trying to avoid that.  I'm starting to think the wiki  
approach might be best, combined with the "recipe" analogy you describe.


Stephen Rider

More information about the thelist mailing list