Helm: Screen Layout

Let’s start Helm and have a look at how these concepts fit together: From the Windows “Start” menu, select “Helm Designer” from the “Rascular” programs section.

You’ll see the basic Helm screen shown below, with the Parts Bin, Work Area, and Property Inspector. You can adjust the relative sizes of these areas by dragging the border between the areas.

Parts Bin

The left-hand section is your Parts Bin, from which you can drag Visual Controls (like buttons) and Broadcast Devices onto the central Work Area. Some parts may appear ‘greyed-out’ in the Parts Bin depending on the licenses installed on your system.

Parts are arranged by type, so you can easily explore and locate the parts and devices you need for your panel. Groups of parts can be expanded and collapsed using the plus and minus buttons next to them.

You can define your own buttons and add them to the parts bin.

Work Area

The central Work Area shows the panel you are currently working on. As well as any Visual Controls, you can also see and interact with devices which you’ve placed on the work area. You can select items by clicking on them, and move and resize items using the ’handles’ shown at the corners of the selected items. Holding the Shift key down while clicking allows you to select (or deselect) multiple items. You can also select multiple items by dragging a rectangle over them.

If you right-click in the Work Area, a menu appears allowing you to perform operations on the currently selected items.

This includes cut, copy and paste commands, alignment of items, and changing the visual order of items (layering) within the panel.

You can use cut and paste with multiple items to quickly duplicate sections of your panel.

Property Inspector

When you select an item in the work area, its properties are shown in the Property Inspector at the right of the screen. The properties are arranged by category. Property categories can be expanded and collapsed using the +/- boxes by each category heading. By default, all property categories are expanded.

For Visual Controls, properties include things like colours, sizes and positions. For Devices, there will typically be connection properties like IP Addresses.

The Property Inspector will also show all the [Conrad 1] Event Scripts associated with an item.

At the top there’s a box showing the name – and type – of the item you are currently viewing. Clicking on the drop-down arrow will show a list of all items currently on your panel, and allows you to select a different item to edit. Your selection is reflected in the work area.

You can edit all properties for an item using the Property Inspector.

In some cases, you simply type in a new value, for example button captions, device names and IP addresses.

Other items will present you with a list of possible values, and for others (including colours, event scripts and pictures) double-clicking in the property value will show a dialog allowing you to change the value.