MULTICS TECHNICAL BULLETIN                                 MTB-610

To:  MTB Distribution

From:  Jim Siwila

Date:  01/31/83

Subject:  A Multics Tutorial


This MTB describes a tutorial that covers basic Multics
procedures, features, and concepts.  It is designed to introduce
new users to the system, starting with log on and covering such
topics as the help system and Multics wordprocessing facilities.

Send comments to Siwila.Pubs on System M and Siwila.MPM at MIT or
call HVN 261-9322.  Or enter transactions in the online_doc (od)
forum meeting in my home directory on System M.

Multics Project internal working documentation.
Not to be reproduced or distributed outside the Multics Project.

MULTICS TECHNICAL BULLETIN                                 MTB-610


The Multics Tutorial operates by menus, and includes facilities
for experimenting with the materials taught and for requesting
definitions of Multics terms.  Users activate the Tutorial with
the tutorial command.  The first menu lists the seven major topics
in the Tutorial:  log on, the help system, command language, mail,
editors, the storage system, and wordprocessing.

Getting Started

When the user issues the tutorial command, a menu with the seven
major topics is displayed immediately, along with an explanation
of how to use the menus and the glossary feature of the Tutorial.

Selecting any of the seven options in the initial menu results in
another menu being displayed.  When these menus are displayed, an
initial explanation is presented in the bottom window to introduce
the user to the topic.

The Second Tier of Menus

The options in each of these menus represent subtopics of the
major topic the user selected from the first menu.  The last
option in each of these menus provides for returning to the first
menu.  With the exception of this last option, each option
provides an explantion of the subtopic named by the option.  These
explanations are displayed in the lower window, while the menu
remains displayed in the upper window.  The explanations usually
require the use of MORE processing in the bottom window because
they are two or three screens long.

At any time when the cursor is positioned in the menu window, the
user can exit the Tutorial by pressing a function key.


Many of the explanations include examples that let the user
practice what's being taught.  To perform these practice
exercises, the user goes to command level by pressing a function
key.  The menu remains displayed in the top window, and the bottom
window is cleared for the user to work in.  A temporary message
displayed in a menu trailer reminds the user that the Tutorial can
be reentered with the program_interrupt command.  Any time the

Multics Project internal working documentation.
Not to be reproduced or distributed outside the Multics Project.

MULTICS TECHNICAL BULLETIN                                 MTB-610

user reenters the Tutorial, the most recent explanation is

As much as possible, the examples used for practice are
continuous, so the user can see a process develop through several


Because the Tutorial does not force users to follow a set path
through the topics, we cannot be sure that they will have been
introduced to terms and ideas the first time they encounter them.
For this reason, the Tutorial has a glossary facility that enables
the user to ask for the definition of a term in the glossary.
Glossary terms are identified by quoting the first time they
appear in a particular explanation.

To use the glossary facility, the user presses a function key to
create a third window at the bottom of the screen.  In that window
is an iox_$get_line prompt.  The user types in the desired term,
and then help_ searches the glossary and displays the definition
(between 1 and 5 lines long) in the bottom window.

After the definition is displayed, the window is destroyed but not
cleared.  The definition isn't written over until the user selects
another option from the menu.

Current State of the Tutorial

At present, all of the features described above have been
implemented, except for the glossary facility, which is only
partially complete.  For that, the help facility needs to be set
in place and the glossary definitions written.  In so far as it is
implemented, it is only available from the Getting Help menu.
Also, because that facility was conceived after much of the
Tutorial had been written, most of the glossary terms are not yet
identified by quoting in the explanations.

The Getting Help menu is also the only one at this time which
returns the user to the most recent explanation after a practice
session at command level.

The Tutorial is available for inspection in the directory

Multics Project internal working documentation.
Not to be reproduced or distributed outside the Multics Project.