AH-O₂ Update – Last meeting of 2013

We had a good AH-O2 meeting this morning. Thanks to everyone who was able to make it. If you weren’t able to make it but want to get involved in any of the areas discussed in this post, head over to the Google Group to get involved in the discussion.

Docs tasks

Based on the various topics brought up last week, I would like for a team of docs contributors and interested parties in the AH-O2 team to brainstorm how you want to go about handling the help documentation that can be presented to the rest of the team so the dev team knows what we need to build. @siobhan @drewapicture @kpdesign – if any of you would be willing to lead the charge on this or suggest someone else who could lead a sub-team for discussing this, that would be awesome. A number of AH-O2 team members have expressed an interest in getting involved in this side of things, as well.

Progress updates

  • @mdbitz is working on the help overviews. Because of the holidays, last week was somewhat of a bust but will have something to show on Thursday.
  • @ninnypants & @brainfork are working on the tooltips. Currently their tasks are modifying the api as it exists now to hook the tooltips to labels/titles rather than an icon and adding more tooltips to hook content to. The current plan is to pick a page, and start adding tooltips to it (with filler text at least) and then move onto the next page. Since plugins.php has already gotten the initial treatment, we’re starting there. Much of the initial placement of the tooltips will be based on the spreadsheet that @zoerooney and @ubernaut are working on.
  • @trishasalas is going to work on styling the tooltips so they look nicer.
  • @trishasalas is going to be acting as a liaison with the a11y team to make sure we’re on track there. Right now, since there’s not a lot of code laid down yet, there isn’t much we can do, but there are a few things we need to be thinking about.
  • The big thing that was discussed was keyboard navigation, a scope of which can be found here: http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20130905/G90 This was brought up in the discussion of the tooltips since tooltips are triggered by hover actions.
  • @ninnypants talked about how the tooltip api works which is a good read if anyone is looking to jump into the js side of this plugin and needs a head start or just as a refresher of how things are working. Discussion starts around here: https://irclogs.wordpress.org/chanlog.php?channel=wordpress-sfd&day=2013-12-30&sort=asc#m73182
  • @ubernaut and @zoeyrooney will continue to work on filling in the blanks in the spreadsheet to identify what help exists and what things we need and what may need to be reworded. Right now the focus is on identifying places for tooltips for @brainfork & @ninnypants to work on adding in, especially since the overview content is largely up in the air and depends on what the Docs team works out. (@ubernaut and @zoerooney should be involved in that discussion/those discussions as well.)

Development Timeline

A few dates were tossed around for possible 3.9/4.0 release. We’ll want to try to align our schedule to the 3.9 release so we’re ready when it’s time to merge the feature plugins into /trunk for 4.0 (which will happen after 3.9 is released). The two tentative dates for 3.9 are April 15/28 with tentative dates for 4.0 being August 12/19. A lead hasn’t been selected for 3.9/4.0 and ultimately the release schedule will be determined by the lead(s), but, for our part, we should anticipate being ready to deploy by the middle of April with as many major issues ironed out as possible. Here’s a modified (and tentative) development timeline — much of this will depend on what the Docs sub-team comes back with and how much will need to be changed to accommodate their suggestions.

  • January 6 — initial help overview integration & AH-O2 to be added to wordpress.org/plugins
  • January 13 — initial tooltips to be added for all admin pages
  • January 20 — list of wants/needs from docs sub-team (this is on the outside, ideally we need this as soon as possible)
  • February 3 — first AH-O2 beta release
  • April 15 — tentative release date for WordPress 3.9, AH-O2 is fully tested and ready for inclusion in core.

#4-0, #admin-help, #ah-o2

AH-O₂ update

Hey folks —

Next Monday I’m most likely going to be on the road during our meeting time and/or may not have reliable internet access. I still encourage you all to go on without me.

I set up a Google Group for out-of-IRC discussion. I think it’s time — our group is big enough and there’s enough stuff going on with different sub-teams that I think this will make things easier to coordinate. I will be inviting everyone to the group but if I forget to invite you or you would like to be added and participate in the discussions, you can request to be invited (in the comments here or in the group):


#admin-help, #ah-o2

AH-O₂ Plugin update

Hey lurkers and AH-O2 peeps —

I made a couple minor changes to the plugin. One was merging a pull request from @ninnypants that fixed the tooltip issue (tooltip on the Help element on the Plugins page wasn’t displaying). Now that that’s fixed, we have something we can actually look at. Hovering over the Help will display the tooltip. It’s unstyled and ugly (CSS peeps, here’s your chance to contribute code), but it’s there and we can start to see what things might look like.

We talked yesterday about eliminating the icon entirely. (The reason there’s a big HELP there, by the way, is because there’s an <i> tag wrapped around the “Help” which is still contained within that <h2> which is what makes it so big.) @ninnypants said that would be pretty simple but the js would need to be tweaked a bit. (@brainfork if you want to look into that catch up with @ninnypants.)

Now for the people who’ve been watching this from the periphery —

If you grab a copy of what is in the repo right now, and go to the Plugins page, you’ll see what I’m talking about above. For the tooltips, wherever we want to put a tooltip, we need to define that space in the javascript file. So this is why we want to go through all the admin pages, figure out what help we have and what elements on those pages might require (or benefit from) tooltips as well as what the existing help content gives us that could be adapted to tooltips. Previously, this was all sort of abstract, since there wasn’t anything you could actually see to demonstrate what we’re going after.

I think the help overview is probably easier to grasp since it is pretty similar to the overview in the existing help tabs and is also similar to the dashboard welcome screen, but when we’ve got that implemented in the plugin, I’ll post another update to illustrate what we’re going for there.

For those of you who haven’t (or don’t wanna) download the plugin, here’s a screenshot of what we got:

#admin-help, #ah-o2

AH-O₂ Update 16 Dec, 2013

We had a great meeting today! Shout outs to our newbies @zoerooney, @brainfork and @mdbitz for showing up and volunteering to take some of the load.

doc-bot apparently had a heart attack during our meeting and unfortunately could not attend (which isn’t so great for the having a record of stuff).1

Stuff we’re working on this week

  • @zoerooney and @ubernaut are inventorying existing help contents, identifying what we can use and where

At this time, the plan is to use the existing help content as much as possible, but there may be more appropriate ways to adapt the content to what we’re doing. For example, the edit-comments.php help has a tab for moderating comments, which really just breaks down what each column is for — those could be instead turned into tooltips. There may be other places that are lacking help entirely. We need to identify where the holes are and track what we already have.

@zoerooney and @ubernaut are working on a spreadsheet with all the existing admin pages to start documenting where each one is at: https://docs.google.com/a/jazzsequence.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0ArMlUQ8mfETvdFFsb3lUWFN6T1UwSi05djN6a3JleGc&single=true&gid=1&output=html

If you want edit access to the spreadsheet to help contribute, let Zoe or I know.

  • @brainfork is looking into the tooltips and adding them back in. will coordinate with @ninnypants

The tooltips were (temporarily) removed from the codebase because they weren’t checking for the user meta (at least that’s what I understood). We will be looking at re-adding these back in as well as starting to add them to some new places in the admin.

  • @mdbitz is working on the admin help overviews

Help overviews will appear at the top of each page when the setting is active in the profile settings.

We are happy to have more volunteers — if you are interested in helping in any of the above areas, please get in touch with those involved (or me, if you don’t know how) to coordinate your efforts.

w00t. you guys rock!

Other things that were discussed

Do we want to eliminate an icon to hover over for tooltips altogether? Hover over the element instead?

This would drastically reduce clutter. If users discovered that there were tooltips (e.g. with a short hover delay), they would quickly learn to start hovering over everything if they had questions about a particular setting or element. In this case, we may want to (visually) communicate that tooltips are active and allow people to disable them. Toggle where the current help tab is now?

@melchoyce, in the various things she does, made a number of mockups (that were used for MP6 and CEUX) which replaced the screen options and help tabs with something else. Here are a few examples:


None of these are currently part of any particular project at the moment. Since I had seen them in CEUX I thought maybe that was where it would go, but I caught Mel on IRC and she said it wasn’t. (Which is actually a good thing, since CEUX is on hiatus.) At some point, it may become a (peripheral) part of AH-O2 to deal with the screen options tab since the two will need to be designed together and implemented at the same time. I would like to use Mel’s mockups as a guide for how we handle our Help tab replacement.

I have code from an earlier admin help experiment that hides the help tab that can be used for both help and screen options when we need them.

My github repo has the code that @ninnypants added but tooltips have been (temporarily) removed.

We will be having a meeting on Monday Dec 23 17:30 UTC for whoever’s around to meet. After the holidays we can see where we’re at and take another look at the schedule and deadlines.

1 @mdbitz was able to provide a transcript of the meeting for anyone who missed it:

#admin-help, #ah-o2

AH-O₂ Update (the project formerly known as Admin Help) — 9 December, 2013

The Plan

  • We’re going to shoot for WordPress 4.0.
  • I am going to implement a release schedule and base our schedule on 3.9, however, we’re going to shoot for a 6 week cycle (ideally leaving time for testing). I’ll post the schedule but it will be subject to change.
  • I am going to make an announcement/call for devs post on make/core

Stuff that needs to be done

This is the more immediate stuff that we need to take care of:

  • @ninnypants’ tooltips and other js stuff needs to be finalized, tested, merged into the main github repo
  • admin help overview needs to be implemented. this uses the usermeta setting to determine whether to display the help overview and js from @ninnypants’ repo to feed the content into the spaces. but the spaces need to be there for the content. @trishasalas and @nlarnold1 and @jazzs3quence would like to start looking at this
  • once the overview container is created and works, we will need content to feed into it
  • likewise with the tooltips, once the js is done, we will need content to send to those to make sure they work
  • once these things are in some kind of working order, I will upload the plugin to WordPress.org

@ninnypants’ repo is here https://github.com/ninnypants/WordPress-Admin-Help/tree/core_js main repo is https://github.com/jazzsequence/WordPress-Admin-Help

After we push the plugin to wp.org, the plan is to do weekly updates to the plugin from the github repo(s) after the meeting (assuming things have been done to the codebase).

Admin Help is now AH-O2

“Breathing new life into admin help!”

…so yeah, we have a codename.

(Tentative) Schedule

  • December 12 — target release date for 3.8
  • January 6 — target date for tasks above to be completed, and AH-O2 to be added to WordPress.org/plugins
  • February 3 — (tentative) target date for first AH-O2 beta
  • Sometime in the future — WordPress 3.9 is released
  • Sometime after that — WordPress 4.0 is released (hopefully with AH-O2)

(this schedule will be updated/changed as we know more about the release schedule for 3.9 in advance of 4.0)

Props to @nlarnold1 for joining us today and being willing to dive in.

#admin-help, #ah-o2

Admin Help Update

I was there in #wordpress-sfd this morning, but no one else was. Last week I was unable to make the meeting but @trishasalas was able to step in in my stead to keep the band playing. There were a few things I wanted to talk about this week, so I’ll post them for discussion here. I should be at or around my desk for most of the day and/or week, so feel free to hit me on IRC or you can email or GTalk me at chris at jazzsequence dot com.

WordPress 3.8 is closer than you think

I’ve been monitoring the #wordpress-dev chatter and 3.8 is only a couple weeks away. Barring any horrible blockers, it will drop on the 18th 12th meaning that 3.9 feature plugins need to be presentable immediately following the 3.8 release because they will start to be integrated into core at that point.

**If we want this to be included in WordPress 3.9, we need to have something to present.**

Not only presentable, it needs to be tested. There are some things — like accessibility or internationalization or backwards-compatibility concerns that wouldn’t necessarily be blockers for integrating into core, but we need to have our stuff together. Which means, if the 18th 12th is when 3.8 drops, that should be our deadline for having the plugin done, ready to go and be tested by actual humans. If we can’t make that deadline this time around, we can continue to work on this for 4.0 (or whatever the release following 3.9 will be), but since developer resources have been our main weak point up to now, we’re going to need to do some serious recruiting.

So where are we?

I would like to start merging the stuff that @ninnypants has been working on into my repo so there’s a single repository that we’re using and go from there. Since I haven’t looked at his changes, or tested any of that stuff, I’d like for someone to let me know what the latest is on that front and whether we can start building on that. Also, I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to spare on that this week, so anyone’s help in this process and/or pull requests would be greatly appreciated.

Code name

Having a code name is something that was proposed over here that we haven’t ever had and thus far the meetings and p2 posts have been tagged with “admin help”. This is somewhat boring. @ubermaut suggested Lifebuoy. Help2 is another idea I just came up with (see, it’s squared — because some of our ideas came from how Squarespace handles help/documentation — and it can also be read as Help 2 — as in the second version of help…). Any other ideas are welcome. It seems a little late to be figuring this out now, but then, if we’re gearing for a 4.0 release, maybe having a code name will make us more distinctive and noticeable.

Last call for 3.9

If this week goes by with no real progress on the plugin, we should again expect this to be punted and focus on getting something ready for the next release of WordPress. It can be done if we are all able to make sprint to get it to happen, but if feature plugins are being merged into core as soon as 3.8 hits the virtual shelves, we’ll already have missed the boat.

If there are any other folks out there interested in helping make this feature a part of core, meetup organizers, folks who just want to start contributing to WordPress core, please hit me up and let me know in what way(s) you are able to help & I can get you up to speed. This could be done in a matter of hours at a hack day or some such thing if someone was inclined to start one up.

Thanks to everyone who has helped to get us this far. We’ll get there.


Admin Help: 18 November, 2013

@ninnypants has been working on the js portion of the Admin Help plugin the basic framework for the javascript is here: https://github.com/ninnypants/WordPress-Admin-Help/blob/core_js/js/adminhelp-plugins.js
This will be the format for calling in the content to display with the tooltips. The docs themselves will go into static php files so we can use normal php i18n functions. As soon as this is ready to be merged, I’ll add it to my repo so people can play with it and test it and start messing with the CSS stuff.

the other thing that needs to be tackled is the Help Overview. This will somewhat resemble the existing help tab content but will display by default and show an overview of what’s on the page. This is controlled by the options I added last week to the user profile, so this can be thrown in now. @ninnypants made the suggestion that we could try using the admin_notice hook and style that to look like the dashboard welcome screen in mp6.

Once @ninnypants’ code is ready, we can start hooking in the tooltip stuff. Next meeting is Next Monday 17:30UTC


Admin Help: 11 November, 2013

Development has for realsies started on the new admin help feature plugin.


It resides here, if you haven’t been paying attention to these updates: https://github.com/jazzsequence/WordPress-Admin-Help

Currently we’ve got 2 settings that appear in the user profile page to enable/disable tooltips and/or the help overview but neither of those have been implemented yet (though the settings do, in fact, save).

What we have to work with

@ninnypants and @trishasalas both looked at core and currently core puts help in the header for the page you’re on, which is highly inefficient. What this means is that we’ll be doing a lot of forging our own paths with our plugin.

The Plan

So, what we’ll need to do is develop a system that can be easily extended by other plugin and theme developers to allow them to add their own help to their theme/plugin.

Documentation will ideally live in separate files for each page. There will be a function (or series of functions) to pull in the relevant documentation for the current page. We’re going to do as much as we can to include existing help documentation into this, but we’re going a completely different route in terms of handling and presenting it than WordPress core.

Hooks will be created that developers can hook into so they can add their own documentation for their stuff.

What’s next?

@ninnypants is going to work on building out the architecture/framework for the plugin and use grunt to try to pull in existing help content.

@trishasalas is going to work on pulling the help content into the places it needs to go

@trishasalas and @ubernaut will work on ui stuff once the content is pulled in



@trishasalas is going to try to follow up with the a11y team and figure out what things we need to be thinking about in terms of accessibility (tests, what works, what doesn’t, resources, etc)


We, of course, need to make sure that all the strings we’re pulling in are properly i18nized. @jazzs3quence will be keeping an eye on that.

javascript disabled/back-compatibility

We need to look into what WordPress core does in js-disabled/non-js browser environments, how they handle it, and what we should do in those cases based on what core’s doing. Our approach is pretty js-centric and would be pretty useless if js was disabled and we didn’t have a fallback (but then, maybe core is the same…).

Pull requests, tickets, comments, etc. are welcome on the Github repo above. I’m usually on IRC though I may not always be at my computer. If I am, I will respond to pings (just say my nick in IRC and I’ll see it). The next meeting will be next monday 10:30 MST


Admin Help: 4 November, 2013

The Verify test is now showing an even number of votes for tooltips vs. modals. @trishasalas has repoened the test and we’ll see if more votes roll in. For now, we’ll try to pursue both paths and do functionality tests when the plugin is ready.

(Test is here: http://verifyapp.com/p/44440)

Some add-ons to jquery-ui haven’t yet been included in @helen’s jquery-ui style guide, one of which being tooltips, so there isn’t a specific guide to go off from that without submitting a pull request. Not much has been done in that department, yet.

@ninnypants will be around to help with dev stuff.

@trishasalas is going to look at the existing help documentation and figure out what we can use and what would need to be refined/changed as we work towards the general first time overview at the top of the page and the individual help topics (in tooltips or modals). It will probably be a combination of pulling things from existing help and pushing them into one of those two places.

Initial Development

Main objectives right now are to:

  • try to use existing functions/hooks to pull in current help documentation

(this will allow us to use those things for the overview)

  • add new user profile options which will control turning on/off the new help features

Once we have these things, we can start to fine tune stuff. Right now, tooltips can just be dummy text and the existing help content can (ideally) become the page overview help box.

Daylight Savings Time happened so our UTC time has changed. Next week’s meeting will be next Monday 17:30 UTC.


Admin Help: 28 October, 2013

@trishasalas ran a test on Verify. The results were close, but with 71 views and 11 responses, testers favored tooltips (slightly) over modals. We’re going this route seeing as how we’ve already got the big help overview at the top. (you can refresh your memory here)

@jazzs3quence has created a GitHub repo to start development and issue tracking: https://github.com/jazzsequence/WordPress-Admin-Help

@trishasalas is going to try to get involved in Helen Hou Sandi’s jQuery UI re-styling project inasmuch as help is needed. This will benefit Admin Help since jquery-ui has built-in tooltips that we can use for our help.

A couple a11y points were brought up in the last update which are worth a read if you haven’t seen them.

We will continue our regular meetings on Mondays at 10:30 MDT