[jboss-user] [JBoss Portal] - Implementing portlet-specific help

Nickerson do-not-reply at jboss.com
Fri Apr 25 18:36:05 EDT 2008

I'm running JBoss Portal 2.6.4 on Windows XP.

The current model for supplying portlet-specific help is essentially to enable the portlet for HELP mode and write a help JSP to render help information in the portlet window itself. 

That is, with HELP mode enabled, the help ('?') icon appears as a new decoration in the portlet title bar and, when it's clicked, the portlet is put into HELP mode and its doHelp() method is executed.  doHelp() dispatches the help JSP which renders the help content.

The problem with this is that the help information covers up what it's explaining.  The other thing that happens is that the help icon is replaced by a "cancel" icon, which, when clicked, returns the portlet to VIEW mode.  Now we see what was being explained, but the explanation is gone.

I would like to bypass the rendering of the help in the portlet window and open another window containing the help information.  I can get the help JSP to open a separate window with help text, but I can't seem to defeat the portlet's HELP mode, which, if nothing is rendered in its window as help text, just shows a truncated window with nothing in it.  Clicking "cancel" restores the portlet window to its pre-help state and doesn't make the open help window disappear, but it seems a round-about way to see the portlet and its associated help information at the same time.   Kind of a bad usability model, really.

Is there a way to prevent HELP mode from rendering the portlet window content?  I've tried over-riding doDispatch() and intercepting HELP mode, but by then it's too late.

Failing any way to get the portlet back to VIEW mode from doHelp or doDispatch, is there a way to put my own icon on the portlet title bar and create a custom mode that enables me to pop a help window without disturbing the Portlet window content?  The objective is to see the help information and what it's explaining at the same time.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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