TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 97 MacTech Online

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: MacTech Online

MacTech Online

by Nicholas C. "nick.c" DeMello <online@mactech.com>

Building a Better ReadMe

You just finished your latest program and realized that the average user will never discover three of the new features on their own (or at least not appreciate the advantage of those features without a little explanation). That same user will find out that your program is incompatible with seven shareware system extensions that you couldn't accommodate, and that user will send you e-mail about each one -- separately. It's time to create your release notes (creatively titled "ReadMe"). This column lists a few online resources to make building your ReadMe just a little easier.

Keep it Simple

Most release notes are distributed as documents of the type "ttro" and creator "ttxt" -- SimpleText read-only documents. Originally, TeachText, SimpleText is that small text editor that gets added to your hard disk with every Apple software installation. Various groups at Apple enhanced TeachText to make it a better vehicle for their particular technologies. In 1995, a half dozen of these "enhanced" versions of TeachText were combined to form SimpleText, which can now create styled text, display colored text, play QuickTime movies, drag and drop text editing, convert text to speech, record sounds, play sounds, and has limited support for QuickDraw 3D.

Notice I said "display colored text" -- not create it. The easiest way to add colored text to your ReadMe files is with Alessandro Levi Montalcini's SimpleText Color Menu utility. This utility can modify a copy of SimpleText by installing two new menus. Features in the new menus allow you to colorize text, search, search and replace, store a default text style, and gives you the option of opening read only documents as editable text.

Pictures can be added to your SimpleText documents with a resource editor. Open the document with ResEdit or Resorcerer and save your pictures as 'pict' resources (number them 1000 and up) into the resource fork. Then, open the document with SimpleText and enter a non-breaking space (option-spacebar, the ASCII character $CA) where you want each picture to appear. SimpleText will draw 'pict' ID 1000 horizontally centered on the screen. The top of the picture will begin where the first non-breaking space appears. SimpleText will display 'pict' ID 1001 at the second non-breaking space and so on. Because SimpleText is a text editor, it will only allocate enough space on the screen for the non-breaking space character (not the picture), you will have to add sufficient white space to make sure the picture doesn't overlap text. Apple's Technote 1005 (by Bryan Stearns, revised by Mark Cookson), "The Complete Guide to SimpleText," provides a detailed description of fine art of importing 'pict' resources into SimpleText documents.

Download PICTify by Scott A. Johnson to help you collect those 'pict' resources. PICTify is a system extension which allows you to grab screen shots (cropped as you take them or of the whole screen). In addition to being able to take screen shots with menus down, PICTify has a feature to allow you to grab only the contents of the foremost window--ideal for taking quick pictures of dialog boxes. Best of all, PICTify allows you to save your images as either pict files or 'pict' resources.

SimpleText is not able to save documents as 'ttro'--but that is how Apple recommends you distribute your release notes. There are a number of utilities for changing file types, but I'm particularly fond of a freeware utility called "TEXT <-> ttro." It toggles files dropped on it between "TEXT" and "ttro" types, and causes the finder to immediatley update the icon (something many type utilities fail to do).

SimpleText
ftp://swupdates.info.apple.com/Apple.Support.Area/Apple.Software.Updates/US/Macintosh/Utilities/SimpleText_1.3.sea.hqx
Alessandro Levi Montalcini, author of SimpleText Color Menu
http://persoweb.francenet.fr/~alm/
Technote 1005: The Complete Guide to SimpleText
http://gemma.apple.com/dev/technotes/tn/tn1005.html
Scott A. Johnson's PICTify
ftp://mirrors.aol.com/pub/info-mac/gst/grf/pictify-15.hqx
TEXT <-> ttro by Laurence Harris
ftp://mirrors.aol.com/pub/info-mac/text/text-to-ttro.hqx

Beyond SimpleText

SimpleText isn't your only choice for creating distribution documents. Mark Wall's feature rich DOCMaker is the standard for creating stand-alone, self-running document files. DOCMaker allows you to add hypertext, pop-up graphics, startup-splash screens with sound, and even lets you import RTF files. It's overkill for a ReadMe, but when you find it's time to start including a manual with your application, this is the right tool.

Marco Piovanelli is the author of the WASTE (WorldScript-aware Styled Text Engine) library. This powerful text editing engine has been incorporated into many text editors, and appropriately enough into Marco's own answer to SimpleText. Piovanelli's scriptable Style editor lets you paste graphics from your clipboard within styled and colored text, then save those documents as stand-alone self-running documents, as read-only SimpleText, RTF, or your choice of over a dozen word processing formats.

DocMaker 4.8 by Mark Wall of Green Mountain Software
http://www.hsv.tis.net/~greenmtn/
Marco Piovanelli's Style (also the WASTE -- WorldScript-aware Styled Text Engine -- Library)
http://www.kagi.com/authors/piovanel/

These and other links are available at the MacTech URL database www.mactech.com/magazine/urls/.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Lyn 1.5.11 - Lightweight image browser a...
Lyn is a lightweight and fast image browser and viewer designed for photographers, graphic artists and Web designers. Featuring an extremely versatile and aesthetically pleasing interface, it... Read more
NeoOffice 2014.11 - Mac-tailored, OpenOf...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
LaunchBar 6.4 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
Remotix 3.1.4 - Access all your computer...
Remotix is a fast and powerful application to easily access multiple Macs (and PCs) from your own Mac. Features Complete Apple Screen Sharing support - including Mac OS X login, clipboard... Read more
DesktopLyrics 2.6.6 - Displays current i...
DesktopLyrics is an application that displays the lyrics of the song currently playing in "iTunes" right on your desktop. The lyrics for the song have to be set in iTunes; DesktopLyrics does nothing... Read more
VOX 2.5.1 - Music player that supports m...
VOX is a beautiful music player that supports many filetypes. The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all... Read more
NetNewsWire 4.0.0 - RSS and Atom news re...
NetNewsWire is the best way to keep up with the sites and authors you read most regularly. Let NetNewsWire pull down the latest articles, and read them in a distraction-free and Mac-like way. Native... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.6 - Search and ins...
MacUpdate Desktop 6 brings seamless 1-click installs and version updates to your Mac. With a free MacUpdate account and MacUpdate Desktop 6, Mac users can now install almost any Mac app on macupdate.... Read more
ForkLift 2.6.5 - Powerful file manager:...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more
Drive Genius 4.1.0 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius 4 gives you faster performance from your Mac while also protecting it. The award-winning and improved DrivePulse feature alerts you to hard drive issues before they become major problems... Read more

Auroch Digital is Bringing Back Games Wo...
| Read more »
Carbo - Handwriting in the Digital Age...
Carbo - Handwriting in the Digital Age 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Productivity Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Draggy Dead (Games)
Draggy Dead 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Ditch your dead end job and take up a rewarding career in Grave Robbing today!Guide the recently deceased to a fun filled life of... | Read more »
Bad Dinos (Games)
Bad Dinos 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
The Apple Watch isn't Great as a Fi...
| Read more »
Show the World What You See With Stre.am...
Live broadcasting is getting popular on mobile devices, which is why you can now get Stre.am, by Infinite Takes. [Read more] | Read more »
PhotoTime's 2.1 Update Adds Apple W...
The latest PhotoTime update is adding even more functionality to the handy photo organizing app. Yep, including Apple Watch support. [Read more] | Read more »
Oh My Glob! Adventure Time Puzzle Quest...
Finn and Jake are taking over D3 Go!'s popular puzzle game series in the upcoming Adventure Time Puzzle Quest. [Read more] | Read more »
Earthcore: Shattered Elements - Tips, Tr...
At first glance, Earthcore: Shattered Elements seems like a rather simple card-battling game. Once you’re introduced to skills that will change quite a bit. Even more so once you start to acquire hero cards. But it’s not so complicated that we... | Read more »
Dungeon999F (Games)
Dungeon999F 1.33 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.33 (iTunes) Description: "The game you must play at least once in your life!" "The game with potential of million downloads globally!" ...is what the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

OtterBox Maximizes Portability, Productivity...
From the kitchen recipe book to the boarsroom presentation, the OtterBox Agility Tablet System turns tablets into one of the most versatile pieces of handheld technology available. Available now, the... Read more
Launch of New Car App Gallery and Open Develo...
Automatic, a company on a mission to bring the power of the Internet into every car, has announced the launch of the Automatic App Gallery, an app store for nearly every car or truck on the road... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: 13-inch 1.6GHz Mac...
Best Buy has the new 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849 on their online store this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: 27-inch 3.5GHz 5K...
Best Buy has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2099.99 this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only, in-store prices may vary.... Read more
Sale! 16GB iPad mini 3 for $349, save $50
B&H Photo has the 16GB iPad mini 3 WiFi on sale for $349 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
Price drop on 2014 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by $200. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799.99 save $200 - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
With a Mission to Make Mobile Free, Scratch W...
Scratch Wireless, claiming to be the world’s first truly free mobile service, has announced the availability of a new Scratch-enabled Android smartphone, the Coolpad Arise. The smartphone is equipped... Read more
First-Ever Titanium Alloy Curved iPhone 6 Scr...
One of the most common problems with mobile phones is damage to the screens. The slightest drop can cause a dreaded spider web of gashes and cracks in the glass panel surface that can cost $hundreds... Read more
Preorder new 12-inch MacBook, $10 off, save o...
Adorama has new 12″ Retina MacBooks available for preorder for $10 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. For a limited time, Adorama will include a free Apple USB-C to USB... Read more
Will iOS 9 Finally Bring Productivity Friendl...
Ah, the irony. From its original announcement in 2010, Apple has doggedly insisted that the iPad remain “simple,” thus arbitrarily limiting its considerable potential as a content creation and... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
Business Development Manager - *Apple* Pay...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced Business Development professional to join the Apple Pay team to develop partnerships and strategic alliances with Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Retail New Store O...
**Job Summary** An Apple Retail New Store Openings & Remodels Project Manager is responsible for successfully managing the openings, remodels, and small works of Read more
SW QA Engineer - *Apple* TV - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple TV team is looking for experienced Quality Assurance Engineers with a passion for delivering first in class home entertainment solutions. **Key Read more
Partner Marketing Manager - *Apple* Pay - A...
**Job Summary** The Apple Pay partner marketing team is looking for a marketing manager to develop and drive US marketing programs with our financial institution Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.