Completed User Guide

Today I finished up the part of the user guide that we could complete. That’s describing all of the document types we have in our MongoDB database so that those who use the Visual Analysis Tool (VAT) will understand what they can do for querying. I have a little bit of explanation about how to run and save the queries in there, but it’s hard to go into much detail with that part right now, because we’re changing the way queries are done with our new “filter” system. This lets the VAT users create their own queries to get whatever data they want. We’ll probably end up removing the pre-built queries we made and replacing them with this filtering system.

I’m happy that this part of the user guide is ready to push onto AWS as we continue to demo our work to the Engineering.com staff. But I can tell right now, like most GUIs I create, it’s incredibly ugly for its first version. I began it by just including another react-bootstrap modal because I thought it would be a few paragraphs. I didn’t realize it would need so much documentation. I will definitely have to refactor it out into its own full web page.

When I do that, I’m going to create new React components for the user guide, so that I can save time instead of manually coding up HTML like I did for version 1. It’ll allow the user guide to be a bit dynamic too if we want. For example, for the examples I have listed for the properties of the document types, I could do a query as the user guide is loaded to examine the database and return a set of distinct values already there.

Plus, if I create React components instead of pure HTML, it separates the content from its HTML used to display it. I can choose to go from a table and a set of rows to a div and a set of <<insert fancy bootstap thing here>>s. It will keep it way more maintainable in the future. There would only be one spot to change the HTML used, and the content itself is still passed in with the React props, just as always.

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