[QGIS-Developer] Using help button from a third-party Processing algorithm

DelazJ delazj at gmail.com
Fri Oct 12 03:10:25 PDT 2018

Hi devs,

I raised this issue months ago in the community list [0] from a
documentation maintainer perspective. It does not get solved. It arises
again, but from a user perspective (aka as a bug report [1]) and as this
impacts QGIS GUI, let's try to discuss and find a solution here: Have a
guideline for the behavior of help button in Processing dialogs.

Depending on the provider, the help button of an algorithm behaves

* For QGIS algs, it brings you to our docs;
* For GRASS algs, it brings you to the GRASS official docs. The issue I met
is that the docs link is not updated when the GRASS version changed (for
example, using the osgeo4w qgis-dev-g7.4.1.bat file, it should update the
settings with GRASS 7.4 paths)
* For GDAL, it brings you to the GDAL docs. I think that while perfectible,
our GDAL alg doc is good enough to link instead, and our docs also propose
a link to the corresponding GDAL call.
* SAGA tries to open a page in our docs and returns a 404 (as reported in
[1]). I guess this would be the case for any other third party alg (R, OTB,
TauDem, LASTools... to name those we have docs in our repo).

IMO, and I already exposed it in the previous message (read it for detailed
rationales), other than GDAL, pressing a help button should rely on the
third party algs docs (ie, the way GRASS works). A check in the history of
our doc repo proves that we do not maintain the other algs (reason why I'd
like to remove them from our repo) and they actually have their proper
website, better served than what we document. So better use it.

I don't know if this has to be done in QGIS code or in the plugin that
links the two tools nor if QGIS proposes the necessary configs to help plug
the other providers docs (so that we could invite the other projects to do
the necessary changes/links). But it would be nice to get an official
position and sort this out (both about keeping unmaintained docs and fixing
help buttons).

[1] https://github.com/qgis/QGIS-Documentation/issues/3068

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