'Options' Text (w/ 'Prompts')

<<*Options*>> Text Prompts

  The default action of Pathagoras when it encounters <<*Options*>> text is to present the entire text block to the user. Therefore, entirety of the individual options will be presented on the (up to 9) buttons of the selection screen.

   This may be satisfactory when the options are entirely self-explanatory, but such is not always the case. With just a little more typing, you can provide succinct and possibly more meaningful 'prompts' (or questions) which will appear as the text on the buttons.  The user can respond to the prompts in order to make a selection.

   To add prompts to your Options text, list them immediately after the word *Options*. Separate each prompt with a slash (making sure that you have as many prompts as you have options), and close the list of prompts with an "*"


      <<*Options*(prompt1/prompt2)(etc.)* . . .>>

 information The text to the left of the last asterisk is referred to as the 'administrative' text, as distinguished from the actual choices found to the right of that last asterisk.)


<<*Options*Ship FedEx/Ship Standard Ground/Hold for Pickup/Out of Stock*As per your request, the widgets will be shipped by Federal Express and we will bill you for the extra cost of shipping./As per your request, we will send the widgets by standard ground transport. This may take 3 to 5 additional days./As per your request, we will hold the widgets for pickup by your courier./The widgets you have ordered are not currently in stock. We will ship them as soon as possible. If we have not shipped within 5 days of this date, you will have the option to cancel the order.>>

  When encountered during document assembly, the prompts between the asterisks are presented instead of the actual series of options. (See example of 'no prompts' on the previous page).

  The above example will yield the result shown in the figure below:

Click to enlarge.

Options block, with descriptions provided.


informationNOTES -- "and/or", "he/she" (etc.) and fractions:   By default, Pathagoras uses the forward slash '/' character to determine the boundaries of each option in an <<*Options*>> block.  However, if you use the forward slash as 'normal text' within an <<*Options*>> text  block (e.g., a fraction like '1/2' or a non-variable phrase such as 'he/she' or 'and/or'), you must use "/OR" as the separator within that block. Consider the following.

<<*Options*Chocolate/Vanilla/Mixed: 1/2 chocolate and 1/2 vanilla.>>

   In the above example,  Pathagoras cannot tell where the 'real' choices end. It will see the above block as 5 choices  ("Chocolate", "Vanilla" ,"Mixed: 1", "2 chocolate and 1" and "2 vanilla") and not the intended 3.  

   As noted above, the workaround requires only that you add the word "OR" to the slash (to create "/OR") to denote the choices. So the above block should read.

 <<*Options*Chocolate/ORVanilla/ORMixed: 1/2 chocolate and 1/2 vanilla.>>

   A few more notes:

"/OR" must be in CAPS.

If you use shorthand text prompts (described at the very top of this page) to depict each option, you must use "/OR" in the prompt as well as in the <<*Options*>> block body.

"/OR" is only required when a natural slash exists within the same <<*Options*>> block. It is not needed otherwise.

While the 'rule' is that you must have as many prompts as you have options, the exception to the rule is that you can have a single prompt as 'introduction text' to an Options block. Therefore, this is a 'legal' construct:
  <<*Options*Choose your favorite flavor:*Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry.>>

<<*Options*>> text in tables: <<*Options*>> text blocks work well within a single cell of a table, but you cannot cross table cells. That is, the opening "<<" marker cannot be in one cell and the closing ">>" marker in another. If you must 'cross' cells, consider 'paragraph assembly.' Each block of text comprising an option is saved as a single clause. You can select the appropriate clause from either the Clause Selection Screen (along with others that can make up the entire document) or from a DropDown List.

The options to the right of the 'administrative text' can be 'end text' choices (such as chocolate and vanilla) or they can be references to other text, including calls to documents, if enclosed within 'double angle brackets'. See 'Calls to Other Documents' for more information and examples.

Hover-Over text: In addition to 'prompt' text that will appear on each 'choice button' on the screen which presents the various options, you can provide up to 256 more characters of 'hover-over' text for each choice presented. This hover-over text will appear when the user moves the cursor over each choice. It will display only during the time the cursor is 'hovering over' the selection. To add hover-over text, simple type a '+' sign at the end of the prompt text and then type the hover-over text. Make sure the hover-over text is within the administrative section of Options block (i.e., before the third asterisk).

If you are using prompts to guide your end-users toward the proper selection, and are assigning !groupnames! so that the selection of the first appearance of the group will lead to the selections for subsequest appearances of that same group, type the prompts at the first appearance of the !groupname! ONLY. Do not repeat the prompts for other appearances of the !group!. Once the first member of the !group! is processed, Pathagoras has all the information it needs to handle the remainder. (While not technically 'illegal,' those extra repeats of the prompt language takes up space in the documents, makes it harder for you debug your documents and may be confusing to you and your end-user when generally perusing the document before processing.

    lightbulbsmallThe ^OR (Caret Or) Separator: To detemine the proper scope of a particular option within a multiple choice section of a document (choices being indicated by a slash (/) or slashOR ('/OR'), Pathagoras would convert slashes in nested Options and variables text within the parent block, replacing those slashes with other character sets. (Otherwise the slashes separating nested blocks would be seen as separators for the parent.)  For complex and heavily nested documents, however, the process of converting 'in' and then back 'out' added a significant amount of processing time. The use of a ^OR divider to denote choices at the 'parent' will avoid converting nested text. Read more at this link

See also:

    Create <<*Options*>> Assistant

Structure Checker


Single (Radio button) vs. Multiple Selections (Check-boxes)

Calls to Other Documents