RhinoScriptSyntax docs. Next steps

Hi @DanBayn, @clement @Helvetosaur, @Holo @NavArch

I read that you are missing things in the Rhino 6 rhinoscriptsyntax online help that you had in Rhino 5. Some other tasks took priority to ship Rhino 6 so now is a good time to refocus on this. We’d like to get your feedback on how to make the RhinoScriptSyntax help better than it was in Rhino 5. Here are a few things that was already mentioned:

  • local help for when disconnected from or have a slow connection to the internet.

  • pressing F1 should point to the correct function on the website

  • ordering all methods in one list instead of having them grouped by module

  • better searching

  • adding more RhinoScript methods to RhinoScriptSyntax and determining best way to support contributors who may want to help

In the meantime here are a couple of ideas that may help:

  • on the main API page (http://developer.rhino3d.com/api/RhinoScriptSyntax/) there’s a + symbol right after the word ‘modules’. If you click on it all the method details will expand into one page. This can take a minute and it’ll seem that nothing is happening but once expanded you can use the search features of your browser to search the entire content.

  • I’ve found this next tip to only work well in Firefox. With the page expanded like described above, save the page to your local disk. Make sure the bottom drop down is set to “Web Page, complete”. The help is now saved locally and you can open it in your browser.

Right now my biggest qualms are:

  1. F1 not sending me to the correct function
  2. Need a search method like the Index search in R5. I can’t count how many times I’ve discovered functions that I didn’t know existed and which would better solve my problem than what I was originally searching for using the index search.

Because RhinoScriptSyntax only has a subset of functions to RhinoScript, it would be nice to have documentation for beginners and (experts) to understand how to implement Rhinoscript functions inside Python code. The current subset of RhinoScriptSyntax functions is pretty comprehensive, but I’m only recently recognizing how much more power I have by tapping into the full API. The CustomGetPoint sample file in R6 is a pretty good example of showing how to crack open the full power of RhinoScript. So some more samples with links from the help webpage would be nice.

With that I’d also say that making sure the F1 help function sends you to the correct RhinoScript command would also be a very nice feature, because it isn’t always clear where to find the function on the API help page.

Thanks for working on improving the help.


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Hi @Alain, i think pressing F1 should do what it always did, open the offline help pointing to the correct function. It also does this in the RhinoScript (vb) editor. The webpage is unusable imho, it takes forever to load and the search cannot be compared to the one used in the chm. If enabled chm allows to store favourites in a seperate tab too, it would be useful to have this enabled in future versions of the chm help for python.

Why ? Imho it is well organized by module and we had this already in the chm file when the Index tab was active. There was no searching required, just enter the first letters of the method and it scrolled to it.

If the module (the python file) a method is located in is discoverable from the helptext it is helpful. Maybe it would be possible to provide direct links to that module file / method from the helptext or a way to get there faster without diving for it in the file exploder ?

Currently if we double click on a method name in the syntax tree (@NavArch) on the left side of the EditPythonScript editor it tries to open a webpage pointing to the method… if you’re online. If not it points to nowhere and opens the empty browser. (V6)

In V5 it opened the chm file at the right location, instantly. How about a right click on a tree item to open the module file with the associated program for py files or inside the PythonScript editor scrolled to the right location of the method ?


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ABSOLUTELY! And very soon, too, with at least carryover V5 functionality. This is V6 R1 essential. Not having it is a major regression from V5 making V6 not worth the upgrade price.

and in the offline local help.

What are the problems with making the entire help website downloadable to the local disk and having an option to set the help browser to find it?

Edit: OK, I didn’t pay enough attention to the topic title. I’m talking about the Full Rhino help. Maybe should be a separate topic?

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I agree with Clement.

And with this.

+1 to everything you said.

You may have missed the point of this specific discussion, but you are spot on about the general help. Especially when a new major release is here with new functionality. There is no other time that a help file is needed as much as it is right now.

It almost seems (and no offense intended here) that software developers are out of touch with how industry and businesses allow internet connectivity. We have close to 300 employees in 3 countries. If we gave everyone internet access, our productivity would drop. That’s just how it is. Just last year I had to let an employee of 17 years go because of abuse of his internet privileges. And this was from a senior employee sitting in the same room as I do! So we only allow internet access to a few, and that is monitored to make sure it’s usage is appropriate for the job (for example, if you need to find out the cutting speed of stainless steel, don’t be browsing for a good deal on a new car).


Thanks for your replies.

The Rhino general help is discussed on other threads so lets focus on RhinoScriptSyntax to make sure those specific needs are understood.

As for documentation on how to write Python functions I think our Python guides website are very useful.

The point about about ordering all methods in one list come from comments by Dan but I understand better what’s needed now.

I’ll see what can be done about the other issues you listed.


Ordering alphabetically is what I miss in V6. I’m referring to the help built into the editor, not the on-line help.

In Rhino 5 I use the .chm rhinoscriptsyntax help, the editor left sidebar help and the online RhinoCommon API docs - that’s right, all 3. I use them for different purposes.

  • The .chm with its index feature is the fastest if I know the method’s name and I just need to verify the order of the arguments or what it returns. Sometimes I use it also to have an overview all of a given module’s methods.

  • The editor sidebar in V5 works the same way, - I can type in the start of the method name and it finds it - just that the help indicated in the editor window is more “sparse” and less comfortable for me to read than the .chm

  • I go to the online API docs most when I’m using RhinoCommon because it gives me a better overview of whole classes plus lots of cross-links and is much more comfortable to read. I will use the sidebar when I’m mostly sure of what I need but have forgotten a small detail or something.

I’m with @DanBayn on this one, if in V6 we no longer have a .chm, and we can no longer search for commands in the editor sidebar by name (you have to open the module that contains it first), that is less convenient.

Exactly what I do. Our process is very mature at this point, so my days of scripting are farther and farther apart. So when I do need to get into something I usually am looking for a quick reminder because I don’t recall the specifics. Having the .chm list alphabetically is the best approach, IMHO.


Well, actually, we need the possibility to “go both ways”… Have the list either sorted by modules or alphabetically. Which is what the .chm has, with its “contents” and “index” tabs. Plus, there is also “search”…

A really nice feature of the Visual Studio help is the “Favorites” tab. When you are reading a page you’ve found by some other method you can just right-click on it and then click the “Add to Favorites” item to save it for easy future access if you think you might need to come back to it.

Over time you can create a short list of things you might need frequently to refresh the details in your memory.