4.1. The help files
Before you can really start learning to code, you'll have to get used to
reading the help files. This Guide can't completely replace the help files, it
can only supplement them. It's useful to know how these files are arranged when
you need to look something up. Just don't try to read lots of help files in a
row, or you'll end up messed up like me.
There are 5 main sections to the help files: topics, commands,
flags, functions, and comsys.
Now, wouldn't it be nice if the main screen of 'help' gave you that kind of
useful information? Alas, 'help' alone is the same as 'help help', which
mentions a few of the sections, and then how to read the syntax of command help
files. Now that's important, but not the first thing a newbie should see in the
help files. Oh well. Go read it now.
- Topics are arbitrary ideas that you'll eventually need to
understand, though some are a lot more complex than others. When I was new to
coding, I made the mistake
of reading these first, and ended up with a lot of misconceptions. When another
help file refers to an idea you don't fully understand, then look it up
in the topics section.
- Commands include the basic commands you'll need to know to use the
MUX at the top, and then some more advanced commands below. These are all very
nice to be familiar with. Except @verb. Stay the heck away from @verb. Trust
me, it's far too useless to deserve a 3-page help file.
Unfortunately, some of the most powerful commands, such as @switch and @dolist,
have the worst help files, which is why this Guide is here. If you don't
understand a certain command, just don't pay attention to it - it'll probably
become clear later.
This section also includes 'commands2', which are
actually attributes. The good news is you only have to read a few of these and
you get the hang of the rest.
- Flags are the basic properties of objects, as described earlier in
this Guide. A lot of these are useful. Some aren't. But these are most likely
the easiest help files to read - they're short and sweet, and there aren't any
- Functions are what you use to do more advanced code. Once you can
use functions, you can do just about anything. Put them off until later.
- Comsys describes MUX's horrendous built-in comsys. On SluggyMUX, you
shouldn't pay any attention to this section, because the built-in comsys has
been disabled since day one. Sluggy's comsys is described in +com/help.
That basically tells you that every time
the help files describe a command, the parameters (sometimes called "args" -
I'm willing to bet that's an onomatopoeia :) that you have to type are in
<angle brackets>, and the optional ones are in [square brackets] as well.
... after something in square brackets means that you can
repeat it ad nauseam.
Each section of the Guide from now on will include a 'Related Helps:' section at
the top. This section might as well have them too, so I'll put them here.
Related Helps: help, topics, commands, commands2, flags, functions
[ Previous: Attributes
| Next: Various kinds of coded commands ]