This Chapter explains how AMOS Professional provides detailed on-screen help, co every aspect of the system and your programming.

The User Guide is provided to explain all the features of AMOS Professional in detail, and to act as your instructor, but a large book can never offer the instant help made possible by a computer program. AMOS Professional has been designed to be as friendly as possible, and it harnesses the power of the Amiga itself to provide you with interactive Help in your programming.

Calling for Help

Help is available at the touch of a button, whenever you are in edit mode. Simply press the Help key, it's as obvious as that! Alternatively, click on the [H] icon at the top of the Edit Screen.

An additional list of Help options is also revealed by holding down the right mouse button, dragging the mouse pointer to the Help menu, and selecting one of the pre-set headings. To start with, select the [Main Menu] option from the Help, menu, or simply press the Help key, or click on the [H] icon. In all cases, the Main Menu will appear in a special Help Window.

The Help Window

Whenever Help is summoned, the AMOS Professional Help Window is flicked onto the screen. If it obscures your listing, it can be repositioned by dragging the title bar up and down. All options are selected via the left mouse buttons. At the left-hand side of the title bar, there is a [Close] button, to return you to the Edit screen.

On the right-hand side of the bar there are three simple options:

[Prev Page]
Click on this to reveal the previous page that was called during the helping process.

[Main Menu]
This option summons the Help system's Main Menu on screen.

When this option is selected, you will be requested to check that your printer is ready to receive the words of wisdom offered by the Help system. Simply click on [Ok] to obtain a printed copy of the current Help text.

On the right-hand side of the Help window there is a vertical slider bar and a pair of up/down arrows, enabling you to scroll through the Help text.

The Main Menu

Using the AMOS Professional help system is completely straightforward, extremely simple, and incredibly powerful!

The Main Menu presents a series of sub menus, as follows:

	    Main Menu
   Using Help           Audio
   Editor               AMOS Interface
   Direct Mode          Input/Output
   Syntax conventions   AmigaDos
   Basics of AMOS       Debugging
   Screen control       Machine code
   Object control       Tables
            Latest News

Please note that this Menu may not appear exactly as in this User Guide listing, because we may have added more information since going to print.

If you need assistance with any of these topics, simply select one.

Summoning direct Help during programming is explained later. Please select the [Basics of AMOS] option now, to reveal a more detailed list of Help topics.


As soon as an item is triggered by the left mouse button from the Help system Main Menu, a selection of related topics is revealed. Any of these new headings can now be selected as before. In the case of the [Basics of AMOS] option that you have just selected, they range from [The Bare Bones] to [Memory Banks]. Please select the [Text] option that is on your screen now.

As you have probably guessed, all of the AMOS Professional features relating to [Text] are now displayed on screen. Please select [Print] for a demonstration of instant Help. Not only will this command be explained in the form of text on your screen, you will also be invited to click on the highlighted instruction [Print] and be treated to an instant demonstration program!

There is so much electronic Help on offer, that this User Guide may seem redundant! Please keep reading anyway.

Summoning Help directly

In the early stages of AMOS Professional programming, before you become completely familiar with all the features, it is all too easy to loose track of the precise format of every command. It can be very frustrating to consult this User Guide in the middle of programming, and even using the various Help menus may break your concentration. To make programming as painless as possible, Help can be summoned directly from your program listings!

To receive instant help on any command directly from the Editor, either type in the instruction that you are not sure about, or go to an instruction that is already in your program, and position the program cursor over the first letter of that word. Now press the Help key or click on the [H] icon for instant assistance.

Additional help

There is a complete range of additional help features available to the AMOS Professional programmer. Here is a brief introduction to each of them.

Error Messages

If AMOS Professional encounters any problems with your listings, a wide range of helpful messages is available to pinpoint the error. These error messages appear in the Information Line Hear the top of the Edit Screen, and they fall into three main categories. Editing messages can appear while you are in the process of editing your programs, such as "Line too long". Program messages like "FOR without matching NEXT" may be displayed when you [Test] your work, a lid the program cursor will try to pinpoint where the problem is lurking in your listings. Run-time messages come complete with their own number code, and they spotlight errors encountered while your program is up and running.

A full list of these error messages can be found in Chapter 12.3, along with an explanation of what they mean, and how to deal with the problem. Errors can usually be "trapped", and Chapter 12.2 is devoted to this sport.

The AMOS Professional Monitor

This feature is used to get inside your programs, examine any AMOS professional routine, discover exactly what is happening, why it is happening and make a full report on screen. The Monitor not only offers help, it provides an instant diagnosis! All is explained in Chapter 12.1.