This Guide is your single most comprehensive source of information on Piano. You can either use it for interactive reference or just read through it at your leisure. Both the 'on-line' version built into Piano and the stand-alone ('html') version contain the same information. In addition to cross-reference links, the built-in version has a search facility and allows single-click access to all of Piano's parameters, source codes, and explanatory figures.
You can look for any text by clicking the 'Search Guide...' button, or through the 'Help' menu. The number of instances found in each chapter will be displayed; you then select a chapter and scan through it using the <Return> key to find the next instance. Searches are not sensitive to upper or lower case.
Usually only one chapter at a time is open. If you prefer to display several at once, tick the box marked 'Allow multiple open chapters'. Windows can be moved around and resized.
In the built-in interactive guide, text shown in blue is 'active'. Parameters and their values can be accessed directly, for example click on this text: wing-area , then click the 'Cancel' button in the resulting dialog to return to this window. Each parameter has its own 'Help' button; some also include a picture. If you hold down the Control key whilst clicking on a parameter's name you can locate all references to it within the guide. This is a fast alternative to using the search feature.
There are extensive cross-references to other sections of the guide, for example click on this reference: Chapter#02section03 then close the new window to return here.
A number of Figures are also available. Click here: Figure#01wing , then click anywhere on the resulting picture to continue.
Use the <Space> bar or the <Tab> key (see Chapter#02section04 on keys) to quickly move from one section to the next within a Chapter. At the end, this cycles back to the first section.
Some sections include references to various source codes at the end. You don't need to read such notes to understand the basic message of a section. Code references are prefixed by the words Source Codes and shown in purple, for example: wing-geometry . When you click on such text, the relevant source code will be displayed from its original file (assuming this is included in your version of Piano!). You will clearly need some knowledge of the underlying language (Lisp) to understand this, although much of it is very English-like.
If you hold down the Command key (also known as the Apple key) while you click on a code reference, you will see which other functions call this code. It is possible to follow the entire sequence of such 'callers' in a cascade. This trick also works for the blue parameter references, since all parameters also form part of the code. Don't worry if you accidentally modify a source file: Your copy of Piano won't be affected!
If you are looking for specifics, use the main User's Guide window to go to any sections that interest you.
As a new user, you can get an initial feel for Piano's capabilities by going straight to Chapter#15section01 . This takes you through an interactive example explaining how to define an entirely new aircraft from scratch, in a matter of five or ten minutes. If you prefer a more methodical route, you could start at Chapter#08section01 . The first half of that chapter explains the basic concepts involving parameters and design logic. Then go back to the beginning (start with Geometry) and read through the guide in sequence.
Piano can create a lot of pictures. You'll find many useful hints about handling these in Chapter#13section03 . Use the '#' menu to select any windows that are covered (picture windows are numbered).
It's best, of course, to both browse the guide and play with Piano. So have fun!