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Headline Viewer Online Help
For version 0.9.

Table of Contents


What is Headline Viewer?

There are two different ways to answer this question. First, it is a clean and straightforward way for you to easily view headline news from a number of different providers in a simple, consistent format. Instead of jumping from site to site using your browser (and probably getting distracted along the way), you can simply step between providers at your leisure. Even better, you can check back periodically and let the automatic, timer-driven "flipping" take charge. The newest headlines from each provider are shown in bold type so that you can easily see the latest news. Even better, the news is broken down by category (Business, Computers, Sports, and so forth). This allows you to easily view news from hundreds or even thousands of sites without being overwhelmed.

On a more technical note, Headline Viewer is notable because it is an open, flexible, and extensible viewer which presents you with news headlines from a multitude of different sources. It is open because the underlying text and XML data formats are well defined and publicly documented. It is flexible because it has been programmed to accept a large number of different formats. Finally, it is extensible because you, the user, are free to plug in news providers as you find them.

All of these news headlines are available to you because many sites are now syndicating their content. This basically means that the site has chosen to generate and publish a special "backend" file. The file lists the names, URLs, and other details of the most recent headlines on the site. Headline Viewer is a client for syndicated content.

Headline Viewer also offers you many options in its Settings Dialog. You need not touch any of the settings to get started. Later, when you want to gain more control of the news that you read, and how you read it, you can explore the Settings Dialog.

We welcome your comments and suggestions for future versions of Headline Viewer and for this document. Please send us email at chv@vertexdev.com.

Headline Viewer's To Do List

In order to help you get the most from Headline Viewer, you will see a To Do List when you first start. The list will help you to become familiar with the operation of Headline Viewer. The To Do List window appears as follows:

Each time that you perform a particular action, a check mark will appear next to the action. As soon as you have completed each item, the To Do List will disappear! If you find the To Do List annoying (half of the audience loves it; the other half seems to hate it) then just close it using the close box in the top left.

Headline Viewer's Main Window

With all options turned on, and with the default skin, the Main Window appears as follows:

 

This window is completely customizable.

The list on the top left is the Category List. This list contains a set of predefined news categories. Clicking on any category fills the Active Provider List with the news providers in the category. The categories are always shown in alphabetical order. Right-clicking on any category shows the context menu.

Below the Category List, in the bottom left, is the Active Provider List. This list contains all of the current providers (places that provide lists of headlines that can be viewed using Headline Viewer) in the current category that have been marked as Active. Clicking on any provider loads (if necessary) the latest headlines from the provider and then displays the headlines in the list on the right. Double-clicking on any entry in the Active Provider List will open up a web browser on the provider's site. Right-clicking on any provider shows the context menu. Headlines are loaded asynchronously (in the background) when possible. Provider names are initially shown in gray. Later, as headlines are loaded from a particular provider, the name changes to the normal text color (usually black). If you click on a gray provider name, another attempt is made to load headlines from the provider.

You can change the category of any provider by dragging it from the Active Provider list on to another entry in the Category List.

The wider list on the right is the Article List.  Double-clicking on any entry in the list will open up a web browser so that you can read the entire article.

The image below the Active Provider List is generally different each provider. Certain providers come from "aggregator" sites such as www.moreover.com; all providers from a site like this will share a common image. The image is provided as a graphical indicator of the provider. Double-clicking on the image will open up a web browser on the provider's site. Not all providers have images. You can hide this image using the View context menu.

The Refresh button forces a reload of the headlines from the selected provider. You can also force a reload by pressing the F5 key.

The Settings button opens up the Settings Dialog. The Settings Dialog contains many options which provide you with full control over many details of Headline Viewer's appearance, behavior, and content.

The Help button displays the online help for the Main Window. You are reading said help right now. You can also press the F1 key to display the online help.

The About button opens up the About Dialog. The About Dialog contains version information, program registration information, and a special indicator to tell you that a new version of the product is available.

The Exit button writes out any unsaved information and then exits from Headline Viewer. All information stored in the Settings Dialog is stored permanently, as is the size and position of the Main Window.

The entry field labeled Find allows you to search within the headlines of all loaded providers. You can either click in this field to activate it, or you can type the "/" or "?" keys to do so. Type in a string, and press Enter. Headline Viewer will search all of the loaded headlines for your string, and then make the next matching article current. Note that this will search through multiple categories as needed. If there are no matching headlines then the program will beep.

The button labeled "!" opens up a web browser on the current provider's site.

The button labeled "<" selects the previous provider in the Active Provider List. You can press the button or you can just press the "<" or "," keys. If the Category List is visible, then this button cycles through the providers in the current category. If the Flip Across Categories item is checked in the General Tab of the Settings Dialog, then the button will cycle to the previous category when there are no more providers in the current category.

The button labeled ">" selects the next provider in the Active Provider List. You can press the button or you can just press the ">" or "." keys. If the Category List is visible, then this button cycles through the providers in the current category. If the Flip Across Categories item is checked in the General Tab of the Settings Dialog, then this button will cycle to the next category when there are no more providers in the current category.

You can minimize the Main Window using the ESC key. If you have turned off the display of the Title Bar in the Settings, you can also do this using the Minimize command in the context 

The Main Window can also accept "drops" of URLs to XML content in any of the forms that is acceptable to Headline Viewer. You can find this type of content at several locations:

  1. www.network54.com hosts a number of discussion forums. Next to each forum is a link to the content in XML form. Dragging this link on to Headline Viewer will create a new provider for the discussion forum.

  2. www.xmltree.com indexes many forms of XML content. You can locate an interesting information source and then drag the link labeled "URL of XML Content" on to Headline Viewer to create a new provider. Note that you can also load all of the providers indexed at xmlTree using the "Add xmlTree Providers" button in the External Provider Lists Tab of the Settings Dialog.

  3. www.yahoogroups.com hosts a large number of mailing lists. After you have subscribed to a mailing list, you can go to the list's page at eGroups (www.yahoogroups.com/group/listname or www.yahoogroups.com/messages/listname/nnn ) and drag the page's URL on to Headline Viewer to create a new provider.

  4. www.echofactor.com provides tens of thousands of RSS files for celebrities, athletes and teams, cities and states and more. You can open up the Echo Factor RSS feed page (http://www.echofactor.com/feed_categories.html?format=RSS) and or you can press the Access EchoFactor Providers button in the External Providers tab of the Settings Dialog. When you drop Echo Factor URLs on to Headline Viewer, they are modified so as to display a larger number of items and to properly set the "Use Title" flag and the Echo Factor image.


Headline Viewer's Right Click Menus

Headline Viewer contains 3 right click or "context" menus. They are known as context menus because their content is relevant to, and operates on, the current position of the mouse.

Right-clicking on any entry in the Category List displays the following menu:

Right-clicking on an entry in the Active Provider List displays the following menu:

Right clicking on an entry in the Article List displays the following menu:

All three of the context menus also contain the following submenu:

Note that right-clicking on a provider or on an article first selects the item under the mouse pointer, making it the current provider. If the provider was never visited in the current session, expect a short delay while the latest headlines are retrieved from the provider.

If the Main Window has its Title Bar hidden, then the context menu will also include a Minimize command. The Minimize command hides Headline Viewer for later use.

The Copy Site URL command copies the URL of the current provider's site to the clipboard.

Similarly, the Copy Article URL command copies the URL of the current article to the clipboard.

The Visit Provider Site command opens up a web browser on the current provider's site (just like double-clicking on the provider's entry in the Active Provider List).

Again, similarly, the Read Article command opens up a web browser on the current article (just like double-clicking on the article in the Article List).

The Properties... command opens up the Providers Tab of the Settings Dialog and points it to the entry for the current provider.

The Make Inactive command clears the Active flag for the current category or provider. The category will be removed from the Category List. The provider will be removed from the Active Provider List. The provider can be restored to the Active Provider List using the Providers Tab of the Settings Dialog.

The View menu contains the following seven options:

  • Highlight New Stories. If this option is checked then the stories that appeared in the Article List at the most recent refresh will be displayed in bold. If not checked then new stories are not specially highlighted.

  • Category List. If this option is checked then the Category List is displayed in the Main Window.

  • Active Provider List. If this option is checked then the Active Provider List is displayed in the Main Window.

  • Provider Image. If this option is checked then the Provider Image is shown in the Main Window.

  • Buttons. If this option is checked then the set of buttons is shown in the Main Window.

  • Always on Top. If this option is checked then the Main Window will always "float" above all other windows.

  • Title Bar. If this option is checked then the Main Window will include a Title Bar when not skinned. Unchecking this option results in a slightly smaller, more space-efficient Main Window.

The Settings... command displays the General Tab of the Settings Dialog.

The About... command displays the About Dialog.

The Help command displays the online help for the Main Window. 

The Exit command writes out any unsaved information and then exits from Headline Viewer.


Headline Viewer's System Tray Icon

Headline Viewer installs its icon in the system tray area on startup:

When Headline Viewer is minimized, double-clicking on the icon with the left mouse button will restore Headline Viewer to the display.

Clicking the icon with the right mouse button will display the following menu:

The View menu works as described in the previous section.

The Settings... command displays the General Tab of the Settings Dialog.

The About... command displays the About Dialog.

The Help command displays the online help for the Main Window. 

The Exit command writes out any unsaved information and then exits from Headline Viewer.


Headline Viewer's Settings Dialog

The six tabs of the Settings Dialog provide you with an amazing amount of control over the way that Headline Viewer behaves and the news it displays:

  • The General tab gives you control over the appearance and behavior of Headline Viewer.
  • The Updates tab lets you get the newest set of Built-In Providers.
  • The Providers tab lets you edit the information stored for each Provider.
  • The Categories tab lets you edit the set of Categories used to classify Providers.
  • The External Provider Lists tab lets you download lists of Providers from external sites.
  • The Statistics tab displays average and latest download times for each provider.
  • The Skin Gallery lets you choose skins which alter the appearance of Headline Viewer.
  • The Locations tab gives you control of where Headline Viewer stores its temporary files.

Settings Dialog - General Tab

The General Tab appears as follows:

Each set of grouped controls provides you with control over a particular aspect of Headline Viewer's behavior:

Each of the groups is discussed in detail in the following sections.

Settings Dialog - General Tab - Automatic Headline Provider Flipping

If Automatic Headline Provider Flipping is Enabled, then the Flip Interval is used to automatically "step" between the providers in the Active Provider List. Each time the interval expires, the next provider is selected. The selection returns to the top of the list after the last provider has been displayed.

If Flip Across Categories is checked, then the automatic "step" will proceed to the next category after all of the providers in the current category have been selected. This setting also affects the behavior of the "<" and the ">" buttons.

Settings Dialog - General Tab - View Settings

When Highlight New Stories is checked, the stories that were new as of the last time the provider was refreshed are displayed in bold. Otherwise they are displayed in a normal font.

When Show Category List is checked, then the Category List is shown in the Main Window.

When Show Active Provider List is checked, the Active Provider List is shown in the Main Window.

When Show Image as provided by the Headline Provider is checked, a small image taken from the current provider is shown in the Main Window.

When Show Buttons at Bottom is checked, a set of control buttons is shown at the bottom of the Main Window. In the absence of the buttons, the Right Click menu can be used to do just about anything.

When Show URL to Article in Tooltip is checked, the URL of the article is shown in a tooltip when the cursor rests over an article.

Settings Dialog - General Tab - Behavior Settings

When Easy Move is checked, the Headline Viewer Main Window can be dragged by clicking anywhere on the "background" of the window (anywhere that is not occupied by another control).

The next setting will be available in a future version of Headline Viewer. When checked, Skip Empty Headline Providers on flip will cause Headline Viewer to automatically bypass any empty providers on a timer-driven flip.

When Always on Top is checked, the Headline Viewer Main Window will "float" above all other windows on the display.

When Play a Sound When News Arrives is checked, Headline Viewer can play provider-specific sounds when news arrives for a provider.

Settings Dialog - General Tab - Confirmation Settings

When Deletion of a single Headline Provider is checked, Headline Viewer will confirm your intent before deleting a single selected provider.

When Deletion of multiple Headline Providers is checked, Headline Viewer will confirm your intent before deleting a list of selected providers.

Settings Dialog - General Tab - Fonts & Colors

When the Provider List... button is pressed, Headline Viewer will pop up a font chooser to let you choose a font for the Category List and the Active Provider List on the Main Window.

When the Article List... button is pressed, Headline Viewer will pop up a font chooser to let you choose a font for the Article List on the Main Window.

When Use Per-Provider Background Colors is checked, then the article list for each provider will be displayed in a color specific to the provider. When not checked, the system list color will be used.

Settings Dialog - General Tab - Background Updating

This setting controls how Headline Viewer will pre-read news "in the background" so that it is available to you just as soon as you click on an item in the Active Provider List.

When None is checked, then the news is read from the provider when you click on it. This is the most conservative setting. It minimizes network bandwidth, but it will sometimes cause noticeable delays since some providers will take a while (sometimes 5-30 seconds) to respond.

When Visible Providers / Current Category is checked, then news is read in advance from all providers that are in the visible portion of the Active Provider List, or in the current category (if the Category List is visible). This is the default setting. This setting makes good use of network bandwidth. With this setting selected, the news that you are interested in will almost always be available to you immediately when you click on an item in the Active Provider List.

When All Providers is checked, then news is read in advanced from all of the active providers in the Active Provider List. This is the most aggressive setting, and it will use the most network bandwidth.

Settings Dialog - General Tab - Startup

These settings allow you to add Headline Viewer in your Startup Menu, and to create Headline Viewer icons in your Quick Launch Toolbar and on your Desktop.

Press Add to Startup Menu to have Headline Viewer start automatically each time you log in or start Windows.

Press Add Quick Launch Icon to add a Headline Viewer icon to your Quick Launch Toolbar.

Press Add Desktop Icon to add a Headline Viewer icon to your Desktop.

Settings Dialog - Updates Tab

The Updates Tab appears as follows:

When Periodically check for Product Updates is checked, Headline Viewer will periodically perform a check to see if a newer (and better) version is available. If a newer version is found it will display a message and offer you the option of downloading the update.

Pressing the Check For Update button causes Headline Viewer to check for a program update. The results of the check are displayed in a message box. If the message indicates that an updated version is available, you can press the Visit Download Site button.

Pressing the Visit Download Site button opens up a browser window on the Headline Viewer download site.

Pressing the Update Built-In Providers button causes Headline Viewer to update itself with all of the providers added to the product since it was downloaded. A connection to www.headlineviewer.com is made and a set of small files is downloaded and then used to update the local information. The updated information can include additional providers, changes to existing providers, and deletion of existing providers. The text field below the button will show complete information concerning the additions, changes, and deletions. The amount of information transmitted is quite small since it is stored as a series of changes to the existing information.

You can also use this button to recover the built-in set of providers if you accidentally delete them. Note that this button replaces the Add Default Providers button found in versions of Headline Viewer prior to 0.9.5.

When Check for Provider Updates on Program Startup is checked, Headline Viewer will perform an automatic update each time it is started.

If the Update button or the automatic check on startup causes new providers to be added, those providers will be shown in blue within the Active Provider List for the duration of the session:

Settings Dialog - Providers Tab

The Providers Tab appears as follows:

This is a fairly complex dialog. To be fair, this dialog is what gives Headline Viewer its openness and flexibility, as mentioned in the Introduction. The dialog will be discussed in three sections:

Settings Dialog - Providers Tab - Provider List and Fundamental Controls

The Provider List shows the names of all Headline Providers known to Headline Viewer. If you select a provider then the fields on the right (see Provider Details) are filled in. If you select more than one provider (by dragging through a contiguous list, or by holding down the Control key to add to the selection, or by holding down the Shift key to select all items between the previous selection and your click), then only a few details are filled in.

The New button creates an empty provider. You then need to fill in the details at the right.

The Delete button deletes the selected provider or providers. The Confirmation Settings control the amount of confirmation that you will be asked to supply before the deletion takes place. 

The Move Up (upward pointing arrow) button moves the selected provider or providers toward the top of the list. This button is enabled when one or more contiguous providers are selected. The movement repeats if the button is held down; holding down the Shift key before pressing the button speeds up the motion by a factor of 5.

The Move Down (downward pointing arrow) button moves the selected provider or providers toward the bottom of the list. This button is enabled when one or more contiguous providers are selected. The movement repeats if the button is held down; holding down the Shift key before pressing the button speeds up the motion by a factor of 5.

Settings Dialog - Providers Tab - Activation and Sorting

The Activate All button sets the Active flag for all of the Headline Providers. This will make all of the providers show up in the Active Provider List in the Main Window. Note that you can activate individual providers or small groups of providers by making a selection in the Providers List and checking the Active checkbox.

The Deactivate All button clears the active flag for all of the Headline Providers. This will empty out the Active Provider List. Note that you can deactivate individual providers or small groups of providers by making a selection in the Providers List and unchecking the Active checkbox.

The Sort All button sorts the entire set of Headline Providers in to ascending order by Name.

The Sort Selected button sorts the selected set of Headline Providers in to ascending order by Name. This button is enabled when a contiguous set of providers is selected.

Settings Dialog - Providers Tab - Provider Details

The Provider Details section of the Providers Tab displays detailed information for the provider selected in the Providers List to the left of the Settings Dialog. Ordinarily, most fields are fetched automatically from one of the Provider Lists described above.

The Name is the name of the Headline Provider.  If you choose to rename a provider, be aware that a duplicate entry will be created the next time that you use one of the Add buttons described above.

The Data URL is the URL (including the leading protocol) to fetch the article data from the Headline Provider. Headline Viewer can load data in a variety of XML formats and in a generic text format. The following XML formats are accepted:

  • RSS 0.9

  • RSS 0.91

  • scriptingNews

  • MoreOver

  • UltraMode

  • BackSlash

  • StoryList

The Site URL is the URL to the base web site. This URL is optional and is used when an entry in the Active Provider List is double-clicked.

The Image URL is the URL to a small image (preferably 88 pixels wide and 33 pixels high) for the provider. This URL is optional.

The Description contains a free-form textual description of the provider. This field accepts multiple lines of text.

The Origin is not user-editable. The field contains a short string which identifies the source of the information concerning the provider.

The Category indicates the category of the provider. It can be changed by clicking on it and choosing another value. If the new category is not active, then Headline Viewer will prompt to make the category active. Note that a future version will allow for user-defined categories. Note that you can quickly change the category of any number of providers by selecting them all in the Provider List, then selecting a new Category.

The Language indicates the language of the provider. It can be changed by clicking on it and choosing another value. If the provider's language is not English, then Headline Viewer will use an external translator site to translate the provider's content in to English. The translations, while not of literary quality, are usually quite good. The translator used by Headline Viewer can accommodate Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese.

The Sound is played when new news arrives from a provider. The dropdown lists sounds that are already in use for other providers. Press the Browse button to specify a WAV file. After choosing a file the sound will be played for you; you can also do this by pressing the Play button. Note that you must also check Play a Sound When News Arrives on the General tab to enable sounds.

The Text Format check box and the associated text entry field are used for providers which export their data in a line-by-line text format. If the check box is checked, the entry field is enabled. The entry field must contain a sequence of characters in a very specific format:

  • The first two digits indicate the number of lines to be ignored at the start of the text file.

  • The next character must be a ","

  • The next two digits indicate the number of lines which describe a single article.

  • The remainder of the string is composed of a sequence of the following characters:

    • U if the line is the URL
    • R if the line is the URL, relative to the provider's URL
    • T if the line is the Title
    • A if the line is the Author (never shown)
    • X if the line is to be ignored 
    • E if the line is the Department (never shown)
    • O if the line is the Topic (never shown)
    • C if the line is the Comment Count 
    • S if the line is the Section (never shown)
    • H if the line is the Hours portion of a date. This line  is appended to any other D format line.
    • D if the line is a date. The following character specifies the format:
      • 1 - "1999-06-29 01:59"
      • 2 - "June 26, 15:55"
      • 3 - "19990618093706"
      • 4 - "19990628"
      • 5 - "1999/06/27"
      • 6 - "6/14/99 9:52:40"
      • 7 - "Mon Jun 14 09:22:52 EST 1999"
      • 8 - "Jul 5th, 09:33:47"
      • 9 - "Tue, 20 Jul 1999 01:06:50 GMT"
      • a - "Sat Aug 07 23:32:26 1999 CDT"
      • b - "Saturday, March 04, 2000 - 11:29 GMT+8"
      • c - "Mar 5th"
      • d - "Thursday, March 4, 2000"

Note that some of the above fields can be stored with Headline Viewer but are not yet displayed. If you are writing an entry for a new provider, it is worth encoding this information if present; it will be used in a future version of Headline Viewer. Also, feel free to examine an existing entry as a guide if you create an entry for a new provider.

The Image displays the image fetched using the Image URL described above.

If Active is checked, the provider is active, meaning that headlines are fetched from it, and that it shows up in the Active Provider List in the Main Window. If you do not want to see a particular provider, it is better to make it inactive than to delete it entirely. Deleted providers will reappear if the external list in which it resides is reloaded.

If Prefer Title is checked, then the RSS Title property is used instead of the Description property. This is used because a few providers supply better information in the Title property than in the Description. Headline Viewer generally prefers the Description property to the Title property.

The Color patch and the associated "..." button indicate the current background color and allow it to be changed, respectively. Pushing the button displays the standard Windows color chooser. You can select any number of providers and then change them all to a particular color using this button.

The Update Interval slider controls the amount of time between automatic reloads of the articles from the provider. It can be set to any value from 1 to 24 hours. The minimum value for this field is 1 hour because many site operators do not want automated access to their "backend" files any more frequently than this.

Settings Dialog - Categories Tab

The Categories Tab appears as follows:

The list on the left is a standard Windows tree view which can be expanded and contracted in the usual fashion. Clicking on a tree item selects it for further action. Note that you are not allowed to rename or delete the categories shipped with Headline Viewer.

Pressing the New Category Within Selection button creates a new category named "New" as a child of the current selection. For example, if the current category is "Consumer", this will create a new category named "Consumer/New". You can then rename the category using the Name field at the right.

Pressing the New Category at Top Level button creates a new category at the top level, which can then be renamed as described above.

Pressing the Delete button deletes the selected category. Any providers currently assigned to that category will be assigned to the parent category. Note that you cannot delete the categories shipped with Headline Viewer.

If Active is checked, then the Category will be displayed in the Active Category List.

Settings Dialog - External Provider Lists Tab

The External Provider Lists tab appears as follows:

The four buttons are used to load lists of Headline Providers from sites which serve to collect and categorize them. To the right of each button is the date when the information from the site was last loaded.

It is important to note that the amount of information available in these third-party catalogs varies from site to site. In some cases Headline Viewer must make contact with each Headline Provider site to fetch additional information about the provider. This can take a fairly long time (up to several minutes). A status bar is displayed while providers are loaded from any external list. The status bar grows from left to right as requests are made to the providers for additional information. The bar then shrinks, right to left, during a timeout period while responses from the sites are collected.

The Add Userland's Providers button loads a list of providers from an XML list on the my.userland.com site. The actual file is stored at http://my.userland.com/xml/serviceList.xml . When you press the button you will be prompted using the Bulk Add Confirmation Dialog. You can choose to mark all of the newly added providers as Active using the dialog. The providers are merged in to the Provider List so that pressing this button more than once will not create duplicate entries. Providers fetched from this list are placed in the UserLand category.

The provider list stored at this site is very minimal. In order to have sufficient detail to present each site to you, Headline Viewer must get more information from each site in the list. Headline Viewer issues up to 32 requests at a time and then issues new requests as old ones complete or time out. After the final request has been made, Headline Viewer waits for up to 45 seconds for all pending requests to complete. During this time the status bar will move from right to left to indicate the amount of time that remains. This may sound complex, but if you know what it is doing perhaps you will be more patient!

The Add xmlTree Providers button loads a list of providers from an XML list on the www.xmltree.com site. The actual file is stored at http://www.xmltree.com/export/ocs.cfm . You can choose to mark all of the newly added providers as Active using the dialog. The providers are merged in to the Provider List so that pressing this button more than once will not create duplicate entries. Providers fetched from this list are placed in the xmlTree category.

The Add GrokSoup Providers button loads a list of providers from an XML list on the www.groksoup.com site. The actual file is stored at http://www.groksoup.com/Site/ocs/ocsdirectory.xml . You can choose to mark all of the newly added providers as Active using this dialog.  The providers are merged in to the Provider List so that pressing this button more than once will not create duplicate entries. Providers fetched from this list are placed in the GrokSoup category.

Note: Some Headline Providers are listed in more than one of the above lists. Headline Viewer does its best to avoid duplicate entries. A special list of providers that are known by more than one name is stored at www.vertexdev.com/chv_aliases.xml . The merging process uses the entries in this file to avoid creating duplicates in this case. If you find a duplicate that has slipped through, please report it to Vertex Development.

When providers are loaded in bulk, random background colors are assigned. The background colors are picked from a set of 15 lightly saturated pastel colors. You can edit the assigned colors if you wish.

The Access EchoFactor Provider List button opens up a special page within www.echofactor.com. From this page you can choose from tens of thousands of RSS feeds and then add them to Headline Viewer by closing the Settings dialog and then dragging them from the web page on to Headline Viewer.

Settings Dialog - External Provider Lists Tab - Bulk Add Confirmation Dialog

The Bulk Add Confirmation Dialog is displayed when any of the Add buttons on the External Provider Lists tab are pressed.

If Mark new Providers as Active is checked, then the Active flag is set for each provider that is added from the external source. 

Pressing Ok causes the Bulk Add to process.

Pressing Cancel stops the Bulk Add from proceeding.

Settings Dialog - Statistics Tab

The Statistics Tab appears as follows:

This dialog is used when diagnosing problems with a particular provider. It will be discussed in three sections, corresponding to the three horizontal bands of information:

Settings Dialog - Statistics Tab - Provider Statistics

This section displays detailed information concerning the loading of each provider. The information is initially sorted in ascending order by Provider. Clicking on any other column sorts the information in order by that column. If the column is already sorted, the sort order (ascending or descending) is reversed. The columns are as follows:

  • Provider shows the name of the provider. 
  • Attempts shows the number of times that a request was made to the provider.
  • Successes shows the number of times that the provider satisfied the request. A large difference between the Successes and the Attempts indicates an unreliable provider or some kind of connection problem to the site.
  • Last Load Time shows the time in seconds for the last successful request.
  • Average Load Time shows the average time in seconds, for all of the successful requests.
  • Chars In shows the total number of characters of information read from the network.

Settings Dialog - Statistics Tab - Statistics Controls

This section includes two controls.

If Show Last Load Time as Provider Tooltip is checked, then the last load time for the provider is shown as the provider's tooltip in the Main Window's Active Provider List. This can be very helpful when checking the responsiveness of individual providers.

If Reset Statistics is pressed, the per-provider statistics (Attempts, Successes, Last Load Time, and Average Load Time) will be cleared.

Settings Dialog - Statistics Tab - Headline Viewer Statistics

This section includes four statistics that are kept by Headline Viewer:

  • Invocations shows the number of times that Headline Viewer was started
  • Provider Clicks shows the number of times that a provider was clicked on or otherwise selected in the Active Provider List.
  • Provider Visits shows the number of times that a provider was double-clicked or otherwise visited using Headline Viewer.
  • Article Visits shows the number of times that an article headline was double-clicked or otherwise visited using Headline Viewer.
  • Category Clicks shows the number of times that a category name was clicked in the Category List.
  • Chars In shows the cumulative lifetime number of characters of information read from the network.

Note that these statistics are not reset by the Reset Statistics button.

Settings Dialog - Skin Gallery Tab

The Skin Gallery Tab appears as follows:

 

The list on the left shows each of the skins in Headline Viewer's skins directory. By default this directory is located in the "skins" subdirectory of the location where Headline Viewer was installed.

Clicking on the name of a skin at the left shows the skin in the preview image on the right, and it also shows the information stored along with the skin. The author of the skin can choose to include an email address and a web site address. Clicking on the email address will start your mail program and let you send a message to the author. Clicking on the web site address will start your web browser and open the site.

Clicking on the text labeled "Visit Headline Viewer Skin Site..." will open your browser on Headline Viewer's skin archive, where you will (eventually) find a large collection of additional skins.

Clicking on the text labeled "I want to make a Headline Viewer Skin!" will open your browser on Headline Viewer's Skin Creation Guide. This document contains all of the information you need to create a skin of your very own.

Settings Dialog - Locations Tab

The Locations Tab appears as follows:

The Skin Directory is the location on your computer's hard drive where Headline Viewer gets the skins listed in the Skin Gallery. The location can be changed by entering a new value or by pressing the Browse... button.

The Temporary Directory is the location on your computer's hard drive where Headline Viewer stores temporary data files. The location can be changed by entering a new value or by pressing the Browse... button.

In most situations there is no reason to change these values.


Headline Viewer's About Dialog

The About Dialog appears as follows:

This dialog includes the Version Number and the Build Date for the product. Please include the Version Number in all of your correspondence. Address your correspondence to chv@vertexdev.com.

The web site address is a live link; click it to visit the Headline Viewer web site.

Three mailing lists are available to Headline Viewer users:

  • chvlist is used for version announcements.

  • chvchat is for user to user communication.

  • chvskin is used to talk about using and creating skins.


Technical Details

This section contains technical details that may be of interest to advanced users. If any of this reads like gibberish to you, skip it and enjoy the program!

Provider List Storage

The Provider List is stored in an XML file in your Windows profile. The file is called chv_providers.xml. If you come up with an interesting use for this file, please do let us know. At this point we cannot guarantee that the format will not change, but for the most part you can expect additions instead of changes to what is already there.

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