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RE: Stata wishlist: More wishes

From   "Nick Cox" <[email protected]>
To   <[email protected]>
Subject   RE: Stata wishlist: More wishes
Date   Fri, 10 Oct 2003 18:54:43 +0100

Renzo Comolli had an interesting wish list. 

The obvious problem with wishlists is that 
their union is huge and their intersection 
possibly empty!

I want to comment on just one of Renzo's wishes. 

> 13. the possibility of adding your own notes to the help files

Two basic points: 

!!! This is perfectly possible already. 

!!! There are BIG pitfalls, probably obvious, but worth 
strong emphasis. 

Suppose I call up help on -foobar- 

. findfile foobar.hlp 

will tell me where foobar.hlp is, and 

. doedit `r(fn)' 

will take me straight in. You can do this 
in _one_ with -fedit- from SSC: 

. fedit foobar.hlp 

and if you prefer to use your own favourite text 
editor, you can do that instead. Whatever, you 
can make changes if you wish and save the file, 
so long as you have write permission in that 
directory or foler. 


1. if you mess up that file, you will need to 
reinstall, or live with a damaged file. 

2. if Stata updates, that file is more difficult 
to access. 

3. unless you know some SMCL, you could mess up 
how the file looks in the View window. 

I am pretty clear that there will be an Official 
Line on official Stata .hlp files: 

	Even if you know exactly what you are 
	doing, don't edit the official help files. 
	If you do, accept any consequences as all
	your fault. You have been warned. Fingers 
	off the machinery! 

Perhaps what Renzo really has in mind is making 
_copies_ of existing help files. This could be a
good idea. I would recommend some convention, such as 
copying foobar.hlp to my_foobar.hlp, making sure 
that you use names not used by official Stata. 
Make sure that help file is on your -adopath-. 

Your own versions of help files could have all 
sorts of applications, from adding _extras_ 
to a leaner help files, cutting out options 
you never use, etc. 

If you do this, it's worth investing a little 
time in learning the rudiments of SMCL (SMCL
Makes Cooler Logs) -- irrespective of whether
you are, or intend to be, a Stata programmer. 

[U] 21.11.6 is a good start. See the canonical 
indents in examplehelpfile.hlp, and note that 
there _really_ is an examplehelpfile.hlp on 
your system -- -findfile- will tell you where, 
so that you can use it as a template for 
creating help files afresh. 

[email protected] 

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