Programming Taskbook



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1100 training tasks on programming

©  M. E. Abramyan (Southern Federal University, Shenzhen MSU-BIT University), 1998–2024


Main | Features | Quick launch panel (PT4Panel)


Quick launch panel (PT4Panel)

General description and main features

In version 4.22, the PT4Panel module was added to the set of basic program modules (PT4Setup, PT4Demo, PT4Load, PT4Results) of the Programming Taskbook. The PT4Panel module allows to perform quick launch of other modules and various types of the help system.

The window of the PT4Panel module is always located on top of other windows on the desktop and has the following view:

Starting with version 4.23, the window has an additional small close button in its upper right corner.

To launch the required PT4 odule, you just need to click on the corresponding button or press the shortcut key associated with it (the list of available keys is displayed in the tooltip that appears when you locate the mouse cursor over the button). Below is a description of the modules associated with each button, as well as the corresponding shortcut keys:

  • PT4 Help (Programming Taskbook help system), [H] or [F1];
  • PT4 Results (module for displaying results), [R] or [F2];
  • PT4 Load (module for generating a program template), [L], [F3] or space;
  • PT4 Demo (module for demo view of task groups), [D] or [F4];
  • PT4 Setup (module for setting Programming Taskbook options), [S] or [F9].

Thus, to call each module, you can press either the key with the first letter of its name ([H], [R], [L], [D], [S]) or a function key ([F1], [F2], [F3], [F4], [F9]). The order of the function keys corresponds to the order of the buttons on the panel. The traditional [F1] key is associated with the help system call, and the [F2] key is associated with the results (as in the Programming Taskbook window). Since version 4.22, the [F4] key in the Programming Taskbook window displays the task as an html-document; the same feature is provided in the PT4Demo module, so the same [F4] key is associated with it. The PT4Load module is called most often when working with the Programming Taskbook, so the space key is also associated with it.

The last button on the panel is the popup menu button. The popup menu can also be called by right-clicking on any position of the panel or by pressing [F10].

The empty panel area to the right of the popup menu button allows you to make the panel active by clicking on it.

Setting up a help system options

The appearance of the first button (associated with the help system call) depends on which type of the help system is selected. Four options are available and can be configured using the Help System section group from the popup menu and the shortcut keys. The help system options are described below, including buttons, option names, names of the Help System section commands and shortcut keys that let you customize each option:

Buttons corresponding to local versions of Help system have black text on white background. Buttons corresponding to the websites use various tints of blue color (as in the Programming Taskbook website design). For the Russian options, the red stripe at the top of the button is used, for the English options, the stripe is blue.

Setting up the working directory

The panel also contains a drop-down list of working directories of the Programming Taskbook. When you launch the modules PT4Results, PT4Load, and PT4Demo from PT4Panel, the selected working directory is used as a current directory for these modules. Thus, by selecting the required working directory using the drop-down list, you can quickly configure all the PT4 modules to work with this directory.

Besides, you can determine if the PT4Panel is active by the appearance of the drop-down list: if the drop-down list is highlighted (usually, it has a blue background), then the PT4Panel is active and you can use all the shortcuts associated with it.

You can select items from the drop-down list not only using the mouse (by expanding the list and clicking on the desired item), but also using the keyboard. For expanding the list, the combination [Alt]+[Down] is provided; for the selection of the list items without expanding the list, you can use [Ctrl]-combinations of arrow keys.

The list of working directories is formed at the PT4Panel launch on the base of the list of working directories defined in PT4Setup module in the Working directories setup section (in version 4.22, this section is revised so that it is possible to define more than one working directory).

In addition, it is possible to include the directory from which the PT4Panel lnk-file is launched; you only need to have the results.dat file in that directory. Furthermore, the first and second level subdirectories are analyzed for this directory, and if some of them also contain results.dat files, they are also included in the list of available working directories. This additional feature allows you to use sets of directories in PT4Panel that were not previously configured in the PT4Setup module.

Like the buttons, the drop-down list has a tooltip that contains the text Work directory and the name of the selected directory. The tooltip is useful if the directory name exceeds the size of the drop-down list.

Since version 4.23, the PT4Panel menu contains an additional command Update Directory List, which reanalyzes the list of working directories defined in PT4Setup, as well as all subdirectories of the selected working directory. This command makes it easy to update the working directory list after it has been corrected (without it, you would need to close and reopen PT4Panel to do so).

Positioning on the screen

To position the PT4Panel on the screen, there is a set of commands in the Position section of the popup menu. This section includes six commands that allow you to position the panel in the corners of the desktop (or top-center or bottom-center), with a shortcut key associated with each command:

  • 1-Top Left, [Home];
  • 2-Top Center, [Up];
  • 3-Top Right, [PgUp];
  • 4-Bottom Left, [End];
  • 5-Bottom Center, [Down];
  • 6-Bottom Right, [PgDn].

The location of the shortcut keys on the numeric keypad corresponds to the panel position on the screen. You can also use the [Left] and [Right] arrow keys to move the panel horizontally left and right.

Closing the panel and saving the settings

You can close the PT4Panel module using the standard [Alt]+[F4] key combination, the [X] shortcut key, and the Exit command from the popup menu (and, starting with version 4.23, the close button in the upper right corner of the panel). When you close the program, the information about the current position of the panel, the current option of the help system, and the selected working directory is saved. To temporarily hide the panel, just click the PT4 Panel button on the taskbar; clicking it again restores the panel to the screen.


Designed by
M. E. Abramyan and V. N. Braguilevsky

Last revised: